A century of the princely Re 1 ‘coin’!

Its genesis lies in the World War I where the inability to mint coins forced the then colonial authorities to shift to printing Re 1 notes in 1917.

The last hundred years — the first note was introduced on November 30, 1917, with the photo of King George V — have been all but tumultuous for this creation.

The Reserve Bank website says its issuance was discontinued first in 1926 on “cost benefit considerations”.

It got reintroduced in 1940, only to be discontinued in 1994 again. The little note got back again in 2015.

Even as it has gone through these travails, the Re 1 note has retained many of its unique distinctions, including being called a ‘coin’ in legal speak.

It is issued by the Government of India and not the Reserve Bank, and is the only ‘currency note’ or an asset, and not a ‘promissory note’, which is a liability.

Again, unlike other banknotes, this is not signed by the RBI governor, but by the finance secretary.


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