The first documented coinage seems to have started with ‘Punch Marked’ coins issued between the 7th-6th Century BC and 1st Century AD. The coinage can be classified into the following periods:
- Late pre-colonial
- British India
- Republic India
India won its independence on August 15, 1947. During the period of transition India retained the monetary system and the currency and coinage of the earlier period. India brought out its distinctive coins on 15th August, 1950.
Coins in India are presently being issued in denominations of 25 paise, 50 paise, one rupee, two rupees and five rupees. Coins upto 50 paise are called ‘small coins’ and coins of Rupee one and above are called ‘Rupee Coins’. Coins can be issued up to the denomination of Rs.1000 as per the Coinage Act, 1906.
Financial Instruments and ‘Hundies’ in India have a venerable history. Paper Money, in the modern sense, traces its origins to the late eighteenth century with the issues of private banks as well as those of semi-government banks. The Paper Currency Act of 1861 conferred upon Government of India the monopoly of Note Issue bringing to end banknote issues of Private and Presidency Banks. Government of India continued to issue currency notes till the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) was established on 1st April, 1935. Reserve Bank issued banknotes in January 1938 when the first Five Rupee banknote was issued bearing the portrait of George VI. This was followed by Rs. 10 in February, Rs. 100 in March and Rs. 1,000 and Rs. 10,000 in June 1938. The George VI series continued till 1947 and thereafter as a frozen series till 1950 when post independence banknotes were issued, with the Ashoka Pillar watermark.
Banknotes in the Mahatma Gandhi Series were introduced in 1996 and were issued in a phased manner in the denominations of Rs.5, Rs.10, Rs.20, Rs.50, Rs.100, Rs.500 and Rs.1000.
Banknotes in MG series 2005, in the denomination of Rs.10, Rs.20, Rs.50, Rs.100 Rs.500, and Rs.1000 with additional / new security features are presently being issued.