In 1951 and again in 1954, two pretty copper coins were struck by Bhutan. Although the coins’ dies are not nearly as nifty as those done by the Englishman A P Spencer for our 1928 and 1929 silver Thalas, nonetheless, to me the coins look pretty neat and well struck.
Same same but different
While the designs remained the same, the die was re-cut for the 1954 coin. The rendition in detailing has certainly improved in the later version although to the untrained eyes, they look identical. But there are distinct differences.
The differences between the two coins are in the eyes of the Sernga (Gold Fish), Apex/Protoconch of the Doongkar (Conch Shell) and the Bumpa’s (Vase) cap handle. The following comparison chart will show the differences:
Clear and visible differences
It took me a while to get hold of both the versions of the coins. For some inexplicable reason, the 1954 version is in abundance - it took some doing to find the 1951 version. Some shopkeepers in Thimphu whose shops I often frequented in the hunt for the coins, looked sullen every time I approached them and requested to take a relook at their collection of old coins.
Equipped with a magnifying glass, to the shopkeepers I must have looked like some spook from another planet 😂
I am now waiting for the shipment of a Matam that was struck by one of the Wangdue Dzongpens - it is laboriously trudging its way all the way from Ontario, Canada.