Gold and silver prices may be shooting up north, but that hasn’t deterred consumers from enjoying their Diwali celebrations. Dhanteras especially has seen sparkling sales, but instead of just precious metal, customers are looking for something unique. While utensils are regular, this time around, silver currency, old coins and cars are selling the most. However, silver coins still rule the day’s shopping. Because of the price, shopkeepers expect a sale of 500 silver coins today, keeping in mind the demand over the last few days.
Silver currency has seen high demand from consumers, says Ashish Singh of JS & Sons in Karol Bagh. There are two types of silver currency - solid silver medallion notes and silver foil notes. These come in denominations of 50, 100, 500 and 1,000. While a solid silver Rs 100 note could cost 4300 (with 100g of silver), a 1000 silver foil (patra) note (which has 10g silver) is costs between 500-600. Says Singh, “The silver patra notes are extremely popular and we run out of stock every day. People are bored of round coins and want something different.”
Coins are also popular, but with a difference. It’s old silver currency coins that people are looking for. Says Neeraj Khanna of Krishna & Sons in CP, “Silver ancient coins are quite popular with buyers as these are considered auspicious for Lakshmi Pujan.” The coins are usually priced between 500-1500 depending on the period they belong to. Obviously, older the coin, the more expensive it becomes. For instance, says Singh, “We recently sold a silver coin dating to 1818 for 1000. The date of the coin and availability dictates the price.”
THE CARNAMA While women are busy buying coins, jewellery and utensils, the men, it seems, can’t excuse themselves from the festive offers for automobiles. The demand for cars has peaked during this time. Car dealer Gurpreet Singh (name changed), says, “People either shift their car booking to an earlier date or delay it, only to be able to buy it on Dhanteras. We get around 100-200 bookings for car deliveries for Dhanteras. This year, we’ve had 270 bookings for today,” adding that Alto, Wagon R and Dzire are among the most wanted.
The demand for second-hand cars has also risen this season. “For Dhanteras, we have got about 30% more bookings for secondhand cars. We’ve seen that college students convince their parents to get them a secondhand car – it’s affordable and is as good as new,” says RS Rana, MD, RD Motors. His partner, Ravi Rana, details, “Wagon R, Alto and Santro are what our customers demand. A lot of MBA students too chuck their bikes to buy a second-hand car.”
Seconds Pitampura-based Rajesh Mehta, who deals in cars, “College students from middle-class families find it convenient to buy a second-hand Santro or a Wagon R - as these are also low on maintenance. There is a 25% rise in our sales this time.”
Observed two days before Diwali, Dhanteras (‘dhan’ means wealth, ‘teras’ refers to the 13th day of the month according to the Hindu calendar) marks the beginning of Diwali celebrations. It’s considered auspicious for wealth and prosperity, and is a day to worship Goddess Lakshmi. Worshippers buy articles/ornaments of gold/silver and new utensils on this day as it’s believed to bring good luck, wealth and prosperity.
The Story Behind Dhanteras
King Hima’s son was doomed to die on the fourth day of his marriage. To fight his fate on that day, his wife laid all her ornaments and a horde of silver and gold coins at the entrance of their room. She lit the room with lamps and kept her husband awake all night, singing songs and telling stories. When Yama, disguised as a serpent, arrived to claim the prince’s life, he couldn’t enter as he was blinded by the brightness of the ornaments and the lamps. Trying hard, he climbed on top of the ornaments, but was enchanted by the melody of the songs that the wife sang. It changed his mind and the next morning, Yama left their home without taking the prince with him.