Market Watch
Politics and Nation

Good old one rupee note turns 100 today

Take note of thisPTI
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Take note of this
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.
Discontinuation of the noteWikipedia
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Discontinuation of the note
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.
An assetWikipedia
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An asset
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 legalspeak. 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.
The first noteWikipedia
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The first note
The one rupee note, which was issued as a promissory note on November 30, 1917, was printed in England. It depicted asilver coin image of King George V on the left corner. The words 'I promise to pay the bearer the sum of One Rupee on demand at any office of issue' were embossed upon it.

Until 1970, this note was also used as currency in Persian and Gulf countries such as Dubai, Bahrain, Muscat and Oman. The Portuguese and French were so impressed by ours that they also issued their own one rupee note.
Replacing silver coinBCCL
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Replacing silver coin
When introduced, the Re 1 replaced the silver coin, which was the prevalent way of storing value of the princely Re 1.

"Prices of silver surged during the World War I, so they first printed the note with a photo of the prevalent silver coin on it. Since then, every Re 1 note has a picture of the one rupee coin of that year," Girish Veera, a veteran collector from Dadar, central Mumbai, said.

The first note had the signature of three British finance secretaries -- MMS Gubbay, AC McWatters and H Denning -- and every note is signed by the finance secretary, including 18 since Independence, he added.
Design overhaulsBCCL
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Design overhauls
According to Veera, the Re 1 note has been discontinued twice and underwent design overhauls at least thrice, excluding the modifications, but it remains one of the most sought-after pieces for every collector.

The major overhauls happened in 1940 when the British changed the features, including halving its size, and in 1949 when the government replaced British symbols with official ones of the newly-formed Republic and the last in 2016, with the reintroduction of the note in the current form, he said.
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