In 1975-1976, I spent a year in Kathmandu, one of Asia's most intriguing cities. Bicycles, rickshaws, a few taxis and buses, and cows shared Kathmandu's calm streets. I soon discovered that Nepal was a coin collector's delight, not just because of the Himalayas and Kathmandu valley architecture.

Coins were primarily found at modest kiosks in Kathmandu's Durbar Square, overshadowed by the ancient Royal Palace and Hindu god pagodas. The coin merchants sat cross-legged behind the common coins in front of them. After establishing that you were a serious collector, they would open the hefty safe on one side and show you their rare Nepal and Tibet coins.

Boris' son Alexander Lissanevitch, who brought European tourists to Nepal, owned The Chimney, a mountaineer, foreigner, and local favorite restaurant in an old Rana Palace. Alexander, younger than me, was an experienced collector who showed me Nepalese and Tibetan coins and banknotes at his home or my Kamaladi apartment.

For six months in the early 1980s, I resided in Kathmandu and met the most important coin collectors and dealers, Bhupendra Narayan Shrestha (Kathmandu) and Ghanashyam Rajkarnikar (Patan Nepal's rarest Tibetan money was handled by two individuals. With BN Shrestha's help, I accomplished difficult series like the silver 5 sho coins and developed a huge Sino-Tibetan coin collection. 

Both knew Carlo Valdettaro (Italy), the spiritual “father” of Himalayan coin collectors. Valdettaro co-authored The Coinage of Nepal with Rhodes and Gabrisch in 1987, which most collectors use and respect. All three have large Tibetan coin collections that were donated to the British Museum (Valdettaro) or auctioned in 2005 (Gabrisch) and 2013 (Rhodes). 

Another major collector I contacted and made close with was UK collector Nicholas Gervase Rhodes, who had published several articles on Tibetan coins and was widely recognized as the top specialist on Tibetan, Nepalese, and other Himalayan coinage. I look to Karl Gabrisch and Nicholas Rhodes for Tibetan and Nepalese coin expertise in Europe. 

I've met or written with foreign collectors Wesley Halpert (Spink sold his collection in New York in 2000), Gylfi Snorrason, Klaus Bronny, Wilfried Klug, David Holler, Kris van den Cruyce, René van den Hooff, Wolfgang Schuster, and John Hoag. Hao Zhai and Adrian Zhang, Beijing collectors, told me about acquiring Tibetan coins in China at the 2013 Rhodes collection auction in Hong Kong. We remain in touch.

India, Nepal, and Tibet purchases from 1980–2000 dominate Spink's collection. All my coins are legitimate because I started collecting before most fake Tibetan coins were sold. Few collectors attended auctions and swaps. Future auctions may contain common Tibetan silver and copper coins. Common things were absent. Rare Chinese imperial and republican silver coins cost more than Tibetan coins, but may climb.

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