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Srigopal owns 300 Olympic Coins!

Kolkata, Aug 27: Srigopal Chokhani of West Bengal has a unique passion of collecting Olympics coins and is a proud owner of an array of over 300 Olympics coins. He has never gone to any Olympic meet, but his Olympics coin collection has not missed a single one. A businessman by profession, Chokhani developed this hobby at the age of 25. His collection of coins dates back to the 1952 Helsinki Olympics and has been continuous since then.

"There should be something special in my collection. At that time, Olympic games were going on and it came in my mind if any metal coin has been issued in the Olympics. I came to know that the first Olympics coin was issued in 1952 from Helinski, which was host country for the games. From my sources, I got the coin. After that I have been trying to collect more coins," said Srigopal.

Finland minted the first Olympics coin, a 500 Markka in 1951 as a memento. After that the host nation did not issue Olympics coins, but in 1964 Tokyo hosted the Olympics and issued 100 yen and 1000 yen Olympics coins.

The tradition can be witnessed in the Beijing Olympics wherein the People's Bank of China has issued the precious metal commemorative coins for the Beijing 2008 Olympics in a three series set.

But Chokhani is a little disappointed, as he has not been able to collect much of Beijing Olympics coins, but he is still hopeful of managing a good collection soon.

"Unfortunately, I am unable to get Beijing coins till date. I got few coins, but I am trying for more coins. I feel very soon I would get them," he said.

Olympics coins are generally event based and Chokhani collects only silver coins of all the possible events.

He has personal interest in events like swimming, archery, lawn tennis and weight lifting and his interest is very well reflected in his collection.

It's not easy to collect coins from host nations as it requires a lot of formalities and is expensive. But this fact doesn't deter this numismatist who starts his work as soon as an event ends.

Beijing Coins are yet to reach Chokhanis home in Kolkata but the proud owner of such priceless treasure has already started preparations for London Olympics in 2012.


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Story first published: Wednesday, August 27, 2008, 11:19 [IST]
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