Thursday, January 22, 2009

India's Old Currency

The first set of British India notes were the 'Victoria Potrait' Series issued in the denominations of 10, 20, 50, 100, 1000. These were unifaced, carried two language panels and were printed on hand-moulded paper manufactured at the Laverstock Paper Mills. The security features incorporated the watermark (GOVERNAMENT OF INDIA, RUPEES, two signatures and wavy lines), the printed signature and the registration of the notes.British India Notes facilitated inter-spatial transfer of funds. As a security precaution, notes were cut in half. One set was sent by post. On confirmation of recepit, the other half was despatched by post.

This series remained largely unchanged till the introduction of 'King's Potrait' series which commenced in 1923.

The introduction of small denomination notesin India essentially in the realm of the exigent. Compulsions of the first World War led to the introduction of paper currency of small denominations. Rupee One was introduced in 30th November, 1917 followed by the exotic Rupees Two and Annas Eight. The issuance of these notes was discontinued on 1st January, 1926 on cost benifit considerations. These notes first carried the potrait of King George V and were the precursors of the 'King's Portrait' Series which were to follow.

Regular issues of this series carrying the portrait of George V were introduced in May, 1923 on a Ten Rupee Note. The King's Portrait Motif continued as an integral feature of all Paper Money issues of British India. Governament of India continued to issue currency notes till 1935 when the Reserve Bank of India took over the functions of the controller of Currency. These notes were introduced in denominations of %, 10, 50, 100, 500, 1000, 10000.

The Bank's issues to January 1938 when the first Five Rupee note was issued bearing the potrait of George VI.

This was followed by Rs 10 in February, Rs 100 in March and Rs 1,000 and Rs 10,000 in June 1938.

In August 1040, the One - Rupee note was reintroduced, once again as a war time measure, as a Governament note with the status of a rupee coin.
As an added security feature, the security thread was introduced for the first time in India.

The George VI series continued till 1947 and thereafter as a frozen series till 1950 when the post independence notes were issued.

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