A century ago, India got its rare Rs. 2.5 note

Century, 2.5, Rupees, Note, NewsMobile
A century ago, India got its rare Rs. 2.5 note

On January 2, 1918, the British government of India released an exotic bank note of Rupees Two and Annas Eight, or two and a half rupees, as one rupee in British India was divided into 16 annas — a term adopted from the pre-British Muslim monetary system.

This unique, fractional Rupee currency issue completes a centennial today.

The currency was printed in England on white, handmade paper and bore the emblem of Emperor George V and the signature of erstwhile British finance secretary M M S Gubbay. The currency marked by seven prefix code variations denoting its circle — A (Cawnpore/Kanpur), B (Bombay), C (Calcutta), K (Karachi), L (Lahore), M (Madras) and R (Rangoon) — which was a vestige of earlier years when currency notes used to be legally encashable only within their circle areas. The value of the currency (‘adhai rupya’) was stated at the back in eight Indian languages. Significantly, the value of Rs 2.5 was the exact equivalent $1 at the time.

During World War I years (1914-1918), the prices of silver soared as demand for the metal in the war time grew. So much so that the intrinsic value of the silver rupees, which is the value of the silver in the coin, was perceived as greater than the actual value of the coin. People indulged in speculation and began hoarding coins for their own gains, leading to a shortage of silver for minting sufficient coins for meeting public demand.

 

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