KOCHI: Everyone must be familiar with the greenish blue one rupee note with the image of the Bombay High on the back. However, the government stopped printing the note in 1994. Come November 30, the country will be celebrating the platinum jubilee of the birth of Re 1. The date holds a special importance for Shyju Kudiyiripil (Shyju K Antony), a senior PRO at Little Flower Hospital, Angamaly.
Shyju is the proud owner of a Re 1 note belonging to the first batch of notes that was printed by the Central Government in the year 1917. A numismatic, Shyju owns one from each series of all the Re 1 notes released by the Government of India, including the ones which were signed by several RBI governors and also those that possessed different serial numbers.
A member of the Kerala Numismatic Society, he also has a collection of coins and notes with printing errors including the ones which were pulled back during the demonetisation drive. There are many interesting stories behind each note in his possession. Shyju recalls one that led him to a defective note.
“Years ago, when I was standing in a queue at Ernakulam railway station, I saw a railway employee at the counter refusing to accept a note which had a faded print at one end, though it had a watermark and security thread. I found it interesting and exchanged it for another note. Afterwards, I realised that such notes are in circulation and began collecting them,” he said.
He had conducted an exhibition too. At the exhibition titled ‘Call back Gandhi’, he displayed currency notes which didn’t have Gandhi’s image. He also has Rs 500 notes which didn’t have the visual of Dandi march on them. Today, Shyju has around 300 notes with errors and also more than 60 without the image of Gandhi. Besides these, he also has a collection of Travancore coins and stamps that had been brought out to commemorate medical milestones.
Shyju has another set which he has named ‘Money for Values’. “The number on such notes is the date of birth of those who have donated their organs. Some also have the dates on which they donated the organ. The RBI releases currency notes after a lot of scrutiny. But even then, some times defective notes slip into circulation,” he said.
The very first one rupee note was printed in a special format like the present-day lottery tickets. There were about 25 notes arranged like a ‘book’. These books were handed over to the banks. They were released with the picture of King George V. In 1948, independent India released its first ever one rupee note.
The denomination was written in eight languages with ‘Malayalam’ getting added in 1956. Though the government stopped printing Re 1 notes from 1994, the denomination will be printed once again.