Modern Indian coins

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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.

Effective from 30 June 2011, all coins in denominations of 25 paise and below were officially demonetised. 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) were officially demonetised 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 0.141 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 (demonetised 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.

The coins used after 1947 until the introduction of Republic of India - Pre decimalisation series were as follows:

George VI series (Independent India) (1947 - 1950)
Denomination Image Metal Shape Diameter Minted in Year
Obverse Reverse
One Rupee Nickel Circular 28 mm 1947
Half Rupee 24 mm 1946 - 1947
Quarter Rupee 19 mm 1946 - 1947
2 Annas Nickel - Brass Square 25.1 mm 1945
Copper - Nickel 22 mm 1946 - 1947
1 Anna Nickel - Brass 12 Scalloped 21 mm 1945
Copper - Nickel 21 mm 1946 - 1947
1/2 Anna Square 19.7 mm 1946 - 1947
1 Pice Bronze Circular with a hole 21.32 mm 1943 - 1947

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 of India Pre-decimalisation series (1950 - 1957)
Denomination Image Metal Shape Diameter Minted in Year
Obverse Reverse
One Rupee Nickel Circular 27.9 mm 1950 - 1954
Half Rupee 24 mm 1950 - 1956
Quarter Rupee 19 mm 1950 - 1956
Two Annas Cupro-Nickel Square 25.4 mm 1950 - 1955
One Anna 12 Scalloped 21 mm 1950 - 1955
Half Anna Square 19.5 mm 1950 - 1955
One Pice Bronze Circular 21 mm 1950 - 1955

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 were demonetised. The rupee remained unchanged in value and nomenclature. It, however, was now divided into 100 'paisa' instead of 16 annas or 64 pice. Effective from 30 June 2011, all coins in denominations of 25 paise and below were officially demonetised.

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. Demonetised from 2011.
N/A 20 paise 1968-1994. Demonetised from 2011.
2 annas 10 paise 1957-1998. Demonetised from 2011.
Anna 5 paise 1957-1994. Demonetised from 2011.
N/A 3 paise 1964-1972; proofs minted until 1981. Demonetised from 2011.
Half anna 2 paise 1957-1979; proofs minted until 1981. Demonetised from 2011.
Pice Paisa 1957-1972; proofs minted until 1981. Demonetised from 2011, but retained as a unit of currency.

[4]

Naya paisa series 1957–1963[edit]

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. The coins of 50p, 25p, 10p, 5p, 2p, and 1p had a legend in Devanagari script explaining the value of coin in terms of fraction of a Rupee.

Naya Paisa Series (1957 - 1963)
Denomination Image Metal Shape Diameter Minted in Year
Obverse Reverse
One Rupee Nickel Circular 28 mm 1962 - 1974
Fifty Naye Paise 24 mm 1957 - 1963
Twenty Five Naye Paise 19 mm 1957 - 1963
Ten Naye Paise Cupro-Nickel Eight Scalloped 23 mm (across scallops) 1957 - 1963
Five Naye Paise Square 22 mm (across corners) 1957 - 1963
Two Naye Paise Eight Scalloped 18 mm (across scallops) 1957 - 1963
One Naya Paisa Bronze Circular 16 mm 1957 - 1962
Nickel Brass 1962 - 1963

Paisa series I with Devanagari Legend 1964 onwards[edit]

In June 1964, the term 'Naya' was dropped and the coins were reminted. The legend in Devanagari script explaining the value of coin in terms of fraction of a Rupee continued till it was finally being dropped from the new design minted 1964 onwards.

Paisa Series I with Devanagari Legend (1964 - 1980s)
Denomination Image Metal Shape Diameter Minted in Year
Obverse Reverse
50 Paise Nickel Circular 24 mm 1964 - 1971
25 Paise Nickel 19 mm 1964 - 1972
10 Paise Copper Nickel 8 Scalloped 23 mm 1964 - 1967
Nickel Brass 1968 - 1971
5 Paise Copper Nickel Square 22 mm 1964 - 1966
Aluminium 1967 - 1971
2 Paise Copper Nickel 8 Scalloped 18 mm 1964
1 Paisa Nickel Brass Circular 16 mm 1964

Series II without the Devanagari Legend (1964 - 1983)[edit]

The coin minted from 1965 did not have the legend in Devanagari, explaining the value of the coin as a fraction of the rupee. Small denomination coins which were made of bronze, nickel-brass, cupro-nickel, and aluminium-bronze were gradually minted in aluminium.The first coin minted in such type was the 3 Paisa coin in 1964, which was a new denomination, and continued to be minted till 1971. One and Two Paise Coins were changed to Aluminium and were minted without the Devanagari legend from 1965. 20 Paise coin was introduced in 1968, which continued to be minted till 1971.

Series II without Devanagari Legend (1964 - 1983)
Denomination Image Metal Shape Diameter Minted in Year
Obverse Reverse
1 Rupee Copper Nickel Circular 28 mm 1975 - 1982
50 Paise 24 mm 1972 - 1973
1974 - 1983
25 Paise 19 mm 1972 - 1990
20 Paise Nickel Brass 22 mm 1968 - 1971
10 Paise Aluminium 12 Scalloped 25.91 mm 1971 - 1982
5 Paise Square 22 mm 1972 - 1984
3 Paise Hexagonal 21 mm 1964 - 1971
2 Paise 8 Scalloped 20 mm 1965 - 1981
1 Paisa Square 17 mm 1965 - 1981

Series III 1982 Onwards[edit]

From 1982, New series was launched. the 20 Paise coin which was last minted in 1971, was reintroduced again, but in Aluminium. The size and the design of 10 Paise, 50 paise and 1 Rupee was changed, though they continued to be minted in the same metal. Coins of 3p, 2p and 1p were discontinued but continued to be the legal tender.

Denomination Image Metal Shape Diameter Minted in Year
Obverse Reverse
1 Rupee Copper - Nickel Circular 26 mm 1983 - 1991
50 Paise 24 mm 1984 - 1990
20 Paise Aluminium Hexagonal 26 mm 1982 - 1997
10 Paise 8 Scalloped 23 mm 1983 - 1993
5 Paise Square 22 mm 1984 - 1994

Series IV 1988 Onwards[edit]

In Series IV, 5 Paise and 20 Paise coins were discontinued though they continued to be minted in Series III till 1994 and 1997 respectively. 10 Paise , 25 Paise and 50 paise coins were minted in Stainless Steel. 1992 onwards, 1 Re coin was also minted in Steel and Rs. 2 and Rs. 5 coins in Copper Nickel were introduced. The very considerable costs of managing note issues of Re 1, Rs 2, and Rs 5 led to the gradual coinage of these denominations. These coins continued to be minted till 2004, when the Unity in diversity series was launched.

Series IV 1988 Onwards
Denomination Image Metal Shape Diameter Minted in Year
Obverse Reverse
5 Rupees Copper Nickel Circular 23 mm 1992 - 2004
2 Rupees 11 Sided 26 mm
1 Rupee Stainless Steel Circular 25 mm
50 Paise 22 mm 1988 - 2007
25 Paise 19 mm 1988 - 2002
10 Paise
G20.jpg
16 mm 1988 - 1998

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

2004 Unity in diversity Series[edit]

In 2004, RBI issued a series in denominations of Re 1, followed by Rs 2 and Rs 10 in 2005. These issues however came into circulation in 2006, and created a controversy over their design. Rs 10 coins were the first bimetallic coins issued in India, and because of the controversy and being minted in only one mint, most of the coinage never found its way into circulation. The ones which did were hoarded by Coin collectors and Coin hoarders.

2004 Unity in Diversity Series
Denomination Image Metal Shape Diameter Minted in Year
Obverse Reverse
Rs 10 Bimetallic

Copper Nickel Center in

Aluminium Bronze ring

Circular 27 mm 2005 - 2007
Rs 2 Stainless Steel 26.75 mm
Rs 1 25 mm 2004 - 2006

2007 Hasta Mudra Series[edit]

in 2007 RBi issued a new series of Coins, The Hasta Mudra Series, in coins of denominations 50p, Re 1 and Rs 2. These coins were Stainless steel coins, and displayed various Hasta Mudras, - hand gestures in Indian Classical dance. Rs 5 Stainless Steel coin with waves in its design was also issued in 2007, as well as a new Rs 10 coin with changed design in 2008. Rs 5 coin design was again reverted to the previous design, though now it was issued in Nickel-brass instead of Copper-nickel. However these Rs. 5 and Rs 10 coins were not the part of the Hasta Mudra series.

2007 Hasta Mudra Series
Denomination Image Metal Shape Diameter Minted in Year
Obverse Reverse
Rs 2 Stainless Steel Circular 27 mm 2007 - 2011
Rs 1 25 mm
50 p 22 mm 2008 - 2010

The Rs 5 and Rs 10 coins were issued for common circulation in 2007, 2008, 2009 with changed designs and continued to be minted until the introduction of the Rupee Symbol series in 2011.

2007 - 2010 Common Circulation Coins for Rs 5 and Rs 10
Denomination Image Metal Shape Diameter Minted in Year
Obverse Reverse
Rs 5 Stainless Steel Circular 23 mm 2007 - 2008
Rs 10 Bimetallic

Copper Nickel Center in

Aluminium Bronze ring

27 mm 2008 - 2010
Rs 5 Nickel - Brass 23 mm 2009 - 2010

2011 New Series with the Rupee Symbol (₹)[edit]

In 2011, RBI issued a series in denominations of 50p, ₹1, ₹2, ₹5, and ₹10. The 50p, ₹1, ₹2, and ₹5 designs are identical except the absence of the rupee symbol in 50p coin. The ₹10 coin continued to be issued in bimetallic issues as previously.

2011 Rupee Symbol Series
Denomination Image Metal Shape Diameter Minted in Year
Obverse Reverse
₹10

Ten rupees

Bimetallic

Copper Nickel Center in

Aluminium Bronze ring

Circular 27 mm 2011 -
₹ 5

Five Rupees

Nickel Brass 27 mm 2011 -
₹ 2

Two Rupees

Stainless Steel 25 mm 2011 -
₹ 1

One Rupee

21.93 mm 2011 -
50 p

Fifty Paise

19 mm 2011 -

Mints[edit]

Domestic mint marks[edit]

  • 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.
  • 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[edit]

  • 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.

Commemorative coins[edit]

The first Indian commemorative coin was issued in 1964 to mourn the death of Jawaharlal 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.

Controversies[edit]

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]

Bimetallic Coin[edit]

India's much awaited first ever bimetallic 10 rupee 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) of four 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 price 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. However, 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 10 rupee 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 10 rays instead of the earlier 15 and the introduction of the new Re symbol. Now it is being minted in all four mints, which are Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, and Noida. Apart from these definitive coins, 10 rupee 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 Parliament's first sitting.

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]