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by Christopher Mudiappahpillai

From the Turtles Treasure Chest1

My grandmother passed away a few years ago, in Vancouver. But before moving there, she lived here, in Toronto. During one of our last visits in her apartment, she took me aside and placed a small, red, cellophane bag in my hand.

“This is for you.” She said. “Some of them used to belong to my grandmother.” The bag was filled with coins.

I remember thanking her, taking them home, and placing them in a box that use to store all such things; I never really took the time to look through all the coins carefully.

A couple of days ago, while looking online for a good way to clean pennies, I read something on a site that mentioned Brasso as a good all-round product to use for such things.2 This discovery, and the effectiveness of the Brasso, prompted my to go on a polishing spree of sorts. It was then that I remembered the bag my grandmother had given me.

From the cursory glance that I had taken when I received them, I knew that there were a couple of Indian Rupees from around the turn of the century. I sought those out – one dating from 1906, another from 1890 – and polished them first. And then, as I was looking through the rest of the coins with my sister, we found it – a quarter rupee from 1840.3

I’m not sure how much it’s worth, or for that matter, if it is worth anything. But regardless, it’s a wonderful feeling to be able to hold a piece of history in your hand.

  • 1When I was around twelve or thirteen, a family friend gave me a box of Turtles as a Christmas present. But instead of coming in the regular cardboard box, these Turtles came in a tin “Treasure Chest”. I’ve used it ever since – once the chocolates were finished – to keep all my ‘treasures’.
  • 2These were too far gone for the usual salt and vinegar.
  • 3The most interesting thing about this coin (to me, at least) is the “East India Company” written on it. The newer coins all make reference to the “British Empire.”

I’ll upload some pictures of the coins to my Flickr account in a bit. I wanted to upload some pictures, but I haven’t managed to take any clear ones as of yet.