This smallest paper denomination note from India has traveled through a glorious historical journey all over the world since it was issued for the public. As the argument over the government’s decision to scrap high-value currency notes is still raging, our one rupee note has completed a century! The first one rupee note was printed in India on November 30, 1917, with the photo of King George V. This was the time when India was under the British rule.
The origin of the 1 Rupee note 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.
Let’s revisit the past by remembering its magnificent journey over these 100 years:
- The first One Rupee note was launched on November 30, 1917 with the text “I promise to pay” written on it.
- Since 1917 to 2017 there have been 125 different one rupee notes that have been issued for circulation with different serial numbers & signatures.
- The design of a one rupee note has changed 28 times since the past 100 years and the updated note will have the numbering in black, in the bottom right portion of the note, in ascending order of numerals from left to right.
- Even as it has gone through these changes, the Re 1 note has retained many of its unique distinctions, including being called a ‘coin’ in legal speak.
- The note 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 and is not signed by the RBI governor, but by the finance secretary.
- The color of the Re 1 note shall be predominantly pink-green on both sides, with some other colors infused into the design as well.
- The dimensions of the new rectangular note will be 9.7 x 6.3 cm, and 110 microns in thickness.
- The note bears the bilingual signature of Shri Shaktikanta Das, Secretary, Ministry of Finance, and has a picture of the new Re 1 coin with the ‘?’ symbol of 2017 issued with ‘Satyamev jayate’ in Hindi and capital letter ‘L’ in the numbering panel.
The Top 3 One Rupee notes which has been the highest selling in the world till date & currently very much in demand are:
- Republic of India specimen note 1 Rupee of 1985 signed by S.Venitaramanan which was sold for INR 2,75,000 at Classical Numismatics Gallery on 21st January 2017.
- Republic India Specimen note of 1 Rupee of 2015 signed by the Finance Secretary Sold for INR 1,50,000 at Classical Numismatics Gallery on 1st April 2017.
- 1 Rupee Note of 1944, the 1st issue of British India, which was signed by C E Jones, a pack of 100 was sold for INR 1,30,000 on 24th at Todywalla Auctions in October 2009.
One Rupee Note in 90s era:
- The One Rupee notes had the picture of King George V, the then British monarch, imprinted on it but the note was discontinued by 1926 for cost benefit considerations. They were reintroduced in 1940 during the Second World War with a portrait of King George VI and was again discontinued in 1994. After 21 years, it came back again in the year 2015.
- The Re 1 replaced the silver coin, which was the prevalent way of storing value of the princely Re 1.
- Since 1948, 60 different One Rupee notes have appeared with different serial numbers, signatures by various RBI governors and years of printing, as per a report in the Asian Age.
- Till 1970, Indian One Rupee note was also used as a currency in Persian and Gulf countries such as Dubai, Bahrain, Muscat, Oman etc. If you have any of these notes, you could get almost Rs 20,000 to 30,000 per note in the current collectors market.
- In 1945, the One Rupee notes were circulated in Burma with a red overprint for the Armed forces.
- During post-Independence in India on August 15, 1947, the first One Rupee currency was issued in 1948. The note was different in size and color with One Rupee written in eight Indian languages. However, Malayalam language was excluded, which was incorporated after the formation of Kerala state in 1956.
- In 1969, the only One Rupee note featuring Gandhi, in a commemorative issue celebrating his birth centenary was issued.