Currency has existed in the form of coinage in India since the 6th century BC. The Ancient, the Middle age and the Mughal period all used currency in the form of coinage. The most notable was Sher Shah Suri’s Rupiya, which became the precursor of the modern rupee.
- Paper money was first issued in the late eighteenth century. Bank of Hindostan, General Bank in Bengal and the Bengal Bank are the first banks to have issued paper currency.
- Government of India’s first set of notes was the Victoria portrait series. For security reasons, the notes of this series were cut in half; one half was sent by post, and upon confirmation of receipt, the other half was sent. They were replaced by the Underprint series in 1867.
- The Reserve Bank of India was formally inaugurated in 1935 and was empowered to issue Government of India notes. The first note issued by the RBI was a five rupee note bearing King George VI’s portrait.
- The one rupee note was the first banknote printed by independent India.
10,000 rupees is the highest denomination RBI has printed in its history. 1,000 rupees and 10,000 rupees notes were in circulation between 1938 and 1946 but were eventually demonetized.
- 1,000 rupees, 5,000 rupees and 10,000 rupees notes were reintroduced in 1954 and demonetized in 1978.
- Denominations of 1 paise, 2 paise, 3 paise, 5 paise, 10 paise, 20 paise and 25 paise were in circulation till June 30, 2011 but were then withdrawn.
- 50 paise coins are still in circulation. They are called small coins while the other denominations are known as rupee coins.
- Mahatma Gandhi (MG) series notes introduced in 1996 are being replaced by the MG series 2005 notes with some additional security features. Pre-2005 banknotes can be exchanged at any bank branch till June 30, 2015.