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30 Nov 2017

Looking back at 100 years of Re 1 currency note

Tracing the 100-year-old journey of Rupee 1 note

India's smallest currency note, Rupee 1, turns 100 today.

According to Shyju Antony, a Kerala-based numismatist, the first Rupee 1 note was released on November 30, 1917, when the Britons were still ruling India, reports Economic Times.

With the debate over last year's demonetization of high-value currency notes still rife, here we look at the historic journey of the iconic Re 1 note.

In context

Tracing the 100-year-old journey of Rupee 1 note
First Re 1 note had illustration of King George V


First Re 1 note had illustration of King George V

Between 1917 and 2017, the design of Re 1 note has changed 28 times, and 125 versions of it circulated with varied serial numbers and signatures. The currency note has had 21 signatories so far.

The first Re 1 note had "I promise to pay" written on it, and an illustration of King George V, the then British monarch. It was discontinued by 1926.


Mahatma Gandhi first featured on Re 1 in 1969

India's first post-independence Re 1 was issued in 1948 with "One Rupee" written on it in eight languages. Malayalam was included after Kerala's formation in 1956.

The Ashoka symbol was introduced on the note in 1949. It was made India's national emblem in 1950.

Mahatma Gandhi's didn't always feature on the note. His illustration was first incorporated in 1969 to celebrate his birth centenary.

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Old Re 1 notes are now a valuable collector's item

India's Re 1 notes also served as legal currency in several Persian and Gulf countries till 1970. These notes are presently of great value in collector's markets - each note can fetch you somewhere between Rs. 20,000 to 30,000.

Re 1 only currency-note to be issued by Central government


Re 1 only currency-note to be issued by Central government

Re 1 is the only Indian currency note to be issued by the Central government. Unlike others, it therefore bears the signature of India's Finance Secretary and has "Government of India" printed on it.

All the bank notes of other denominations are issued by the RBI. They are hence signed by the apex bank's governor and have "Reserve Bank of India" printed on them.

RBI started printing new Re 1 in 2016

The design of Re 1 note remained unchanged till 1994. However, it was discontinued in 1995 because of high production cost. But it has always been a legal tender and in circulation. The RBI resumed its printing in 2016, after 21 years.


Government to soon launch new Re 1 note

The government said earlier this year that the new Re 1 currency note is ready and can be released anytime soon.

Predominantly pink and green, it shall be rectangular with dimensions 9.7 x 6.3 cm, and thickness 110 microns.

Signed by the then finance secretary Rajiv Mehrishi and economic affairs secretary Shaktikanta Das, it will cost the taxpayer 94 paise.

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