Fanam: coin from Kingdom of Cochin (India); 1/42 pagoda


Fanam, 17th-18th centuries: Kingdom of Cochin (India)

Fanam, 17th-18th centuries: Kingdom of Cochin (India)

Relatively popular among numismatists gold coin, which is known for the following:

  1. This is one of the smallest gold coins in the history of mankind.
  2. Design — the most primitive. Therefore, a significant number of counterfeits are known in the numismatic market.
  3. This type of coin has been issued for a long time: according to some data — from the 11th to the 19th century inclusive (slightly different details of the images on the coins).
  4. The issuers were various state formations: independent Indian state formations, as well as colonial possessions of the British, Dutch...
  5. Given the above, it is extremely difficult, almost impossible, to accurately determine the date and issuer.

Different numismatic websites define the specific coin presented here in different ways. The following issuers are indicated: Hoysala Empire, Karnataka, Vijayanagara Empire, Kingdom of Cochin (Successors to the Kingdom of Vijayanagar — Rajahs of Cochin)...

There is also the following description of the coin: Travancore "Vira Raya Type" fanam. With such a prefix is written the name of the imitations of earlier fanams.

All the mentioned state formations existed on the southwest coast of the Indian subcontinent.

I apologize in advance if I made a mistake in identifying the sample of this undoubtedly interesting and unique coin of India given here.

Primitive stylized boar to the right (by the way, the boar was depicted on the official flag of the Vijayanagara Empire, on the territory of which the Kingdom of Cochin existed).

Crescent above the stylized lion to the right (Sardula mythical lion).

The boar's paws and the image of a lion are made of dots.

  • Gold: 8 mm - 0.38 g
  • Reference price: 30$

COIN FANAM — WHERE & WHEN (coins catalog: by names & emitents)
  1. INDIA, 11th-20th centuries (Kingdom of Cochin, Hoysala Empire, Kingdom of Travancore, Vijayanagara Empire, Princely state of Bikanir, Kingdom of Coorg, Maratha Empire, Kingdom of Mysore, Thanjavur Maratha kingdom, Mughal Empire, Dutch India, British India, Ceylon /in token format/...): fanam = 4 chuckram = 1/42 pagoda

The name of the fanam coin comes from the Tamil term "பணம்", which means "commerce, trade, money".
According to another version, the word fanam appears to be an Anglo-Germanic sound shift from the word panam, which means money in Dravidian languages (by the way, the most common among the Dravidian languages — Telugu, Tamil, Kannada and Malayalam).
This term in southern India is still used to refer to money or wealth in general.