COIN NAMES: numismatic dictionary

Chuckram: coin from Kingdom of Travancore (India)


Chuckram, 1811-1901: Kingdom of Travancore (India)

Chuckram, 1811-1901: Kingdom of Travancore (India)

Travancore or Thiruvithamkoor (Malayalam "तिरुवितामकूर") — princely state in the southwestern part of the Indian subcontinent. Travancore occupied part of the territory of the modern Indian states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The principality was founded in 1729. During the days of British India, Travancore was a vassal of the British crown. In 1949, two years after India's independence, Travancore merged with Kochi to form the state of Travancore-Kochi, which in 1956 became part of the state of Kerala.

ND (no date, the period is indicated according to the data of most catalogs of coins).

Crescent with diamond, 2 curved lines and 10 pellets (symbolic representation of Vishnu Paadam: footprints of Lord Vishnu — one of the principal deities of Hinduism).

12 pellets above the crescent moon (Rashi: 12 signs of the zodiac). Young plant, sprout.

  • Silver: 6 mm - 0.37 g
  • Reference price: 26.5$

COIN CHUCKRAM — WHERE & WHEN (coins catalog: by names & emitents)
  1. KINGDOM OF TRAVANCORE, INDIA (mostly, 19th-20th centuries): chuckram = 1/4 fanam = 1/28 rupee

CHUCKRAM as coin name.
Chuckram is an unprecedentedly small silver coin of the Kingdom of Travancore (India). It was issued mainly during the 19th century.
The oldest chuckrams mentioned in numismatic sources date back to the 17th century (however, the coin was probably issued earlier). Initially, these were extremely small silver coins weighing up to 0.4 g and with a primitive ornamental design without texts. Fractional denominations are also known: ⅛, ¼ and ½ copper chuckrams. However, there is also information about a larger silver coin — 2 chuckrams.
The equivalent of 4 chuckrams was fanam, and 1 chuckram, in turn, was divided into 16 cash.
In the 19th century, the coin became widely distributed. Due to their specific dimensions, there were difficulties with using, especially with counting, chuckrams.
The solution to this problem turned out to be ingeniously simple: special large "chuckram boards" were made from wood with a certain number of holes that had the diameter of a coin. Handfuls of coins were poured onto this rudimentary device for counting and the entire structure was shaken several times. A single chuckram went into each hole. The rest of the coins that were not fixed on the board remained for the next count.
From the beginning of the 20th century until the 1940s, Travancore chuckrams of the modern type were minted from copper (later — from bronze): of a regular round shape with legends in English (TRAVANCORE, ONE CHUCKRAM) and the local language Malayalam (திருவித்குக்கு, சோக்கு குன்).
The coin's name chuckram (sometimes — chakram / chuckrum) probably comes from the Sanskrit term: चक्रम् (cakrám)... which translates as "wheel, ring".