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One rupee note turns 100: How the little blue bill became a collectors' favourite

One rupee note turns 100: How the little blue bill became a collectors' favourite

The first note was printed in 1917 on this day and had the image of King George V. It also had the signatures of three British finance secretaries - MMS Gubbay, AC McWatters and H Denning - and every note is signed by the finance secretary.

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Sometime during the World War I, colonial authorities were unable to mint coins and had to print the one rupee note instead. From then, the little blue bill has come a long way and undergone multiple and significant changes. Today, it marks a century of its creation. The first note was printed in 1917 on this day and had the image of King George V.

The note was discontinued in 1926 on "cost-benefit considerations". It then got re-introduced in 1940 and was discontinued yet again in 1994. Eventually it was brought back to life in 2015. Not only that, the one rupee note has undergone 28 changes. The first note also had the words 'I promise to pay the bearer the sum of One Rupee on demand at any office of issue' embossed on it along with the image of King George V.

The original version also had the signatures 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, Girish Veera, a veteran collector from Dadar said, according to agency reports.

According to Mr 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.

Although that denomination might not fetch you anything more than a candy or a shampoo sachet, the original 1917 note is of quite some value. A report in Times of India mentions Girish Veera saying, "The 1917 banknote is still available with collectors and dealers, and fetches Rs 12,000-13,000 on average. The denomination is not in common circulation and is seldom handed out by banks so it is best to hold on to it if you have one." So many changes in the note means that collectors would pay a sizeable sum for old notes.

It must be mentioned that the one rupee note is the only currency bearing the signature of the finance secretary and not the Governor of the RBI. The reason being that this note belongs to the Republic of India and not to RBI.

It might have turned old but it is still of immense importance when it comes to token money during auspicious occasions.

(With agency inputs)

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