03 October 2018
In our regular guide to identifying coins we reveal the fun to be had searching through dealers' junk boxes and the stories behind the mysterious items, this time looking at a Nepalese coin from the 1970s
Our latest 'junk box gem' shows two portraits on the obverse, 'jugate' or 'accolated', which means one on top of the other, but the lower one projecting forward so you can see it. Under the busts it is dated 2032, which might seem a bit previous.
It shows King Birendra and Queen Aiswarya of Nepal; the big plume in his crown is a clue.
The date is in the vikram-samvat era, which we know, began on 18 October 58 BC; but we do not know why! It might have been the accession of Azes I and Azilizes to the leadership of the Scythian tribes, which must have occurred about that time.
So the coin is a rupee of AD 1975.
Their reign ended tragically when the Crown Prince Dipendra walked into a lunch party at the palace and shot dead the king and queen, his brother, three sisters and other members of the Royal Family, and then shot himself.
It seems he had been forbidden to marry a beautiful woman of inadequate lineage.