Modern Indian coins

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Design Change in 5 Rs Indian coin with time
One Rupee Indian coins

India became independent on 15 August 1947 but the old British India coins were still in use as a frozen currency till 1950 when India became Republic. The 1st Rupee coins of Republic of India was minted in 1950. Other denomination coins produced were 1/2 Re, 1/4 Re, 2 Anna, 1 Anna, 1/2 Anna & 1 Pice coins which are also referred as Anna series or pre-decimal coinage. One rupee was divided into 16 annas or 64 pice, with each anna therefore equal to 4 pice. In 1957, India shifted to the decimal system, but for a short period both decimal and non-decimal coins were in circulation. To distinguish between the two pice, the coins minted between 1957 and 1964 have the legend "Naya Paisa" ("new" paisa). The denominations in circulation were 1, 2, 3, 5, 10, 20, 25, 50 (naya)paise and one rupee which remained as the same pre-decimal value. Therefore pre-decimal coins of one, half and quarter rupees could remain in circulation after decimalisation. See below #Coin series.

The word "naya" was dropped in 1964. In this year a new denomination the 3 paise was introduced and in 1968 a 20 paise coin was minted. Both these coins however did not gain much popularity. The 1, 2 and 3 paise coins were phased out gradually in the 1970s.

In 1982 a new coin, 2 rupees, was introduced as an experiment to replace 2 rupee notes. The 2 rupee coin was not minted again till 1990, after which it was minted every year.

Stainless steel coinage of 10, 25 and 50 paise, was introduced in 1988 and in 1992, a new rupee coin was minted. This coin was smaller and lighter than the older rupee and was also made of stainless steel. In 1992, a 5 Rupees Cupronickel coin was introduced. In 2005, 10 Rupees coin was minted for the first time. The higher denomination coins were introduced due to increasing demand for change and increasing cost of printing 2, 5 and 10 rupees banknotes.

India issues several types of coins. Some special coins were minted in memory of special events or people and these are referred to as commemorative coins. Commemorative coins can be for collectors and also for circulation. They can be found in various denominations. Some of commemorative coins include coins depicting Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, B. R. Ambedkar, Rajiv Gandhi, Dnyaneshwar, 1982–Asian Games, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Subhas Chandra Bose, Sri Aurobindo, Chittaranjan Das, Chhatrapati Shivaji and logo of 2010-Commonwealth Games.

Coin series[edit]

Chronologically, the main considerations influencing the coinage policy of Republic of India over time have been: The incorporation of symbols of sovereignty and indigenous motifs on independence; Coinage Reforms with the introduction of the metric system; The need felt from time to time to obviate the possibility of the metallic value of coins rising beyond the face value; The cost-benefit of coinisation of currency notes.

Ashok-Stambha (Ashoka's Pillar)

The Ashok-Stambha (Ashoka's Pillar) is a motif on all Republic of India coins. The symbol is a representation of peace and non-violence.

The coins of India post-independence could broadly be categorised as

Union of India 1947–1950[edit]

At Independence on 15 August 1947, India was partitioned into the new British Dominions of India and Pakistan. The new Dominion (or Union) of India retained the previous imperial currency with images of British monarchs. The basic unit of currency was the Indian rupee, which was itself divided into annas (16 annas to a rupee) and pice (the old spelling of paise - 64 pice to a rupee).[1] The lowest-denomination Indian coins, the half-pice (128 to a rupee) and the pie (192 to a rupee) officially became obsolete in 1947; while both denominations had continued to circulate up to that time, new examples were not minted after 1942 as they were practically worthless (India remained a member of the sterling area after independence and the rupee remained pegged to the pound sterling. Until 1966, the rupee was worth 1s.6d, or 18 old pence; a half-pice was therefore worth 0.135 old pence and a pie 0.09 old pence.)[2]

From 15 August 1947 until 26 January 1950, the Indian coinage structure was as follows: (bold - denominations minted)[3]

Rupee and its fractions Annas Pice Pies (obsolete after 1947)
Rupee 16 annas 64 pice 192 pies
Half rupee 8 annas 32 pice 96 pies
Quarter rupee 4 annas 16 pice 48 pies
1/8 rupee 2 annas 8 pice 24 pies
1/16 rupee 1 anna 4 pice 12 pies
1/32 rupee Half anna 2 pice 6 pies
1/64 rupee 1/4 anna 1 pice 3 pies

This represented the currency arrangements during the transition period up to the establishment of the Indian Republic.

Republic of India 1950-1957 (pre-decimalisation)[edit]

On 26 January 1950, India became a sovereign republic. This series was introduced on 15 August 1950 and represented the first coinage of Republic India. The British King's portrait was replaced by the Lion Capital of the Ashoka Pillar. A corn sheaf replaced the Tiger on the one rupee coin. In some ways this symbolised a shift in focus to progress and prosperity. Indian motifs were incorporated on other coins. The previous monetary system and the old units of currency were retained unchanged.

Republic Series
Denomination Metal Obverse Reverse
One Rupee Nickel
Half Rupee Nickel
Quarter Rupee Nickel
Two Annas Cupro-Nickel
One Anna Cupro-Nickel
Half Anna Cupro-Nickel
One Pice Bronze

Republic of India decimal series (1957-present)[edit]

The move towards decimalisation was afoot for over a century. However, it was in September, 1955 that the Indian Coinage Act was amended for the country to adopt a metric system for coinage. The Act came into force with effect from 1 April 1957, after which anna and pice denominations became obsolete. The rupee remained unchanged in value and nomenclature. It, however, was now divided into 100 'paisa' instead of 16 annas or 64 pice. The antiquated spelling of "pice" was modified to "paisa" in the singular and "paise" in the plural. For public recognition, the new decimal paisa was termed 'Naya Paisa' (New Paisa) till 1 June 1964 when the term 'Naya' was dropped:

Pre-decimal currency (1950-1957; minting ceased in 1955) Decimal currency replacement (1957–present) Decimal currency (dates minted)
N/A 10 rupees 2006–present
N/A 5 rupees 1992–present
N/A 2 rupees 1982–present
Rupee Rupee (divided into 100 new paise 1957-1964; divided into 100 paise 1964–present. 1962, 1964-1967 (commemorative issue honouring Nehru), 1969-1970 (commemorative issue for the centenary of Mahatma Gandhi's birth), 1970–present
Half rupee 50 paise 1960–present
Quarter rupee 25 paise 1957-2002. Obsolete since 2011.
2 annas 20 paise 1968-1994. Obsolete since 2011.
Anna 10 paise 1957-1998. Obsolete since 2011.
Half anna 5 paise 1957-1994. Obsolete since 2011.
N/A 3 paise 1964-1972; proofs minted until 1981. Obsolete since 1981.
N/A 2 paise 1957-1979; proofs minted until 1981. Obsolete since 1981.
Pice Paisa 1957-1972; proofs minted until 1981. Obsolete since 1981, but retained as a unit of currency.

[4]

Naya paisa series 1957–1966[edit]

Naya Paisa Series
Denomination Metal Weight Shape Size Image
One Rupee Nickel 10 g Circular 28 mm
Fifty Naye Paise Nickel 5 g Circular 24 mm
Twenty Five Naye Paise Nickel 2.5 g Circular 19 mm
Ten Naye Paise Cupro-Nickel 5 g Eight Scalloped 23 mm (across scallops)
Five Naye Paise Cupro-Nickel 4 g Square 22 mm (across corners)
Two Naye Paise Cupro-Nickel 3 g Eight Scalloped 18 mm (across scallops)
One Naya Paisa Bronze 1.5 g Circular 16 mm

With commodity prices rising in the sixties, small denomination coins which were made of bronze, nickel-brass, cupro-nickel, and aluminium-bronze were gradually minted in aluminium. This change commenced with the introduction of the new hexagonal 3 paise coin. A twenty paise coin was introduced in 1968 but did not gain much popularity.

Aluminium series 1964 onwards[edit]

Aluminium Series
Denomination Metal Weight Shape Size Image
One Paisa Aluminium-Magnesium 0.75 g Square 17 mm (Diagonal)
Two Paise Aluminium-Magnesium 1 g Scalloped 20 mm (across scallops)
Three Paise Aluminium-Magnesium 1.25 g Hexagonal 21 mm (Diagonal)
Five Paise Aluminium-Magnesium 1.5 g Square 22 mm (Diagonal)
Ten Paise Aluminium-Magnesium 2.3 g Scalloped 26 mm (across scallops)
Twenty Paise Aluminium-Magnesium 2.2 g Hexagonal 24.5 mm (across flats)

Over a period of time, cost benefit considerations led to the gradual discontinuance of 1, 2 and 3 paise coins in the seventies; stainless steel coinage of 10, 25 and 50 paise, was introduced in 1988 and of one rupee in 1992. The very considerable costs of managing note issues of Re 1, Rs 2, and Rs 5 led to the gradual coinisation of these denominations in the 1990s. In 1997 the Indian government issued a 50 rupee coin with 50% silver content and 50 paise coin of steel. Only the 50 paise coins were introduced into circulation. The 50 paise issue of 1997 did not achieve popularity, as the coins were of little value and little use.

Contemporary coins[edit]

Contemporary Coins
Denomination Metal Weight Shape Size Image
Five Rupees Cupro-Nickel 6.0 g Circular 23 mm
Two Rupees Cupro-Nickel 5.62 g Eleven Sided 26 mm
One Rupee Ferratic Stainless Steel 4.85 g Circular 25 mm
Fifty Paise Ferratic Stainless Steel 3.79 g Circular 22 mm

The following denominations became obsolete in 2011, and are no longer legal tender:

Contemporary Coins
Denomination Metal Weight Shape Size Image
Twenty Five Paise Ferratic Stainless Steel 2.83 g Circular 19 mm
Ten Paise Ferratic Stainless Steel 2.0 g Circular 16 mm

Cupro-Nickel coins are not minted anymore. Ferratic Stainless Steel coins of Two and Five Rupee denominations are currently in production.[1]

Mints[edit]

Indian coins have been minted both in and outside of India. Coins are usually minted at one of the four Indian mints - Calcutta (Kolkata), Bombay (Mumbai), Hyderabad, and Noida. The earliest mints of India are Calcutta and Bombay. Hyderabad was the third mint established (1944) in India. The last of mint established (1988) in India is Noida, which is on the outskirts of New Delhi.

Domestic mint marks:

  • Bombay (Mumbai)- diamond mint mark under the date of the coin.
  • Calcutta (Kolkata)- either no mint mark beneath the date of coin or a C is seen at 6'o clock position in British India coins.
  • Hyderabad - split diamond or a dot in diamond or five pointed star under the date of coin.
  • Lahore - a letter "L" mint mark under the date of the coin.
  • Noida - a small or thick dot under the date of the Coin.

Because of the increasing demand for coins, the Indian government was forced to mint coins in foreign countries at various points in the country's history.

Foreign Mint Marks:

  • Pretoria - diamond mark under the date 1943.
  • Seoul - a five pointed star under the date of the coin but exactly below the first or Last Digits of dates 1985 and 1997.
  • Birmingham (Royal Mint, UK) - small dot under the date of the coin but exactly below the first digit of date 1985.
  • Heaton Press - Ornamental/decorated letter "H" under the last digit of the date 1985.
  • Ottawa - a "C" mint mark under the date of the coin.
  • Mexico City - "M" mint mark under the date of the coin.

Mints in Daegu, Korea, Slovakia (Kremnca), and Russia (Moscow) have also been used.

Controversy over 2006 two-rupee coin[edit]

denier of Louis.

The two-rupee coin issued from 2006 by the Reserve Bank, in stark contrast to the earlier coin, is rounded and simpler in design, without the map of India. The coin has already been criticized for being difficult to recognize by the visually impaired.[5] Most controversially, it features an equal-armed cross with the beams divided into two rays and with dots between adjacent beams. According to RBI, this design represents "four heads sharing a common body" under a new "unity in diversity" theme.[6] However, Hindu nationalists have charged that the symbol is a Christian cross resembling the symbol on the deniers issued by Louis the Pious.[7]

India's First Bimetallic Rupees 10 Coin Issued[edit]

India' s much awaited first ever bimetallic Rupees 10 coin was released in 2005 under the theme - Unity in Diversity. But due to its controversial design resembling a Cross it was criticised and was not minted in large numbers. Another reason for its availability being scarce is that it was minted only in one (Noida) out of the 4 mints in India. Coin dealers and the public who got this coin hoarded it and it never came into circulation. It is available for sale on some auction websites, but the rate of this coin is very high in comparison to its denomination due to the uncertain number of issued coins. Some coin sellers claim that this coin is a limited edition. But official information is not yet available on the number of mintage. A press release from Reserve Bank of India mentioned that there will be two themes of Rupees 10 coins; Unity in Diversity, and Connectivity and Information technology. From 2008 coins based on the second theme - Connectivity and Information technology were also released. The coin depicts 15 rays above the numeric 10. It was again minted only by the Noida mint and was not easily available in circulation. From 2011 the same theme was continued with a slight design change showing ten rays instead of the earlier 15 and the introduction of the new Re symbol. Now it is being minted in all the 4 mints (Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad & Noida) Apart from these definitive coins 10 Rs Bi-metallic Commemorative coins have also been released as follows : 2008 – Tri Centenary of Gur-ta-Gaddi 2009 – Homi Bhabha Birth Centenary 2010 – RBI Platinum Jubilee 2012 – 60 Years of Parliamants first sitting.

Commemorative Coins[edit]

The first Indian commemorative coin was issued in 1964 to mourn the death of Jawaharlala Nehru,the first Prime Minister of India.Since then numerous coins of these type on almost all denomination from 5 paise to 10 rupees have been issued. These coins based on famous personalities (usually issued on their birth or death centenary, or in rare cases on their death), government programmes and social messages.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ India - Currency, Weights and Measures, The Statesman's Year Book 1947, pg 133, Macmillan & Co.
  2. ^ Schedule of Par Values, Currencies of Metropolitan Areas, The Statesman's Year Book 1947, pg xxiii, Macmillan & Co.
  3. ^ India - Currency, Weights and Measures, The Statesman's Year Book 1947, pg 133, Macmillan & Co.
  4. ^ Krause, Chester. Mishler, Clifford. "India-Republic," 2005 Standard Catalog of World Coins 1901-present, 32nd edition. Krause Publications. Iola, WI
  5. ^ New two-rupee coin is confusing for the blind
  6. ^ RBI to come out with new Rs 2 coin
  7. ^ An assault on the soul of the nation – V Sundaram

External links[edit]