Got a ₹2.5 note? It could fetch you ₹5 lakh

Mamuni Das | | Updated on: May 14, 2019
The ₹2.5 note that was in circulation from 1917 to 1922  Pic credit: RNS

The ₹2.5 note that was in circulation from 1917 to 1922 Pic credit: RNS

 A ₹1 note printed in 1949 after India became a republic

A ₹1 note printed in 1949 after India became a republic

Collectors of vintage currencies, rare legal tender are hitting pay dirt

The only currencies that have beaten inflation are those that have gone out of circulation. A ₹2.5 antique note is valued at lakhs today, according to passionate collectors.

The ₹2.5 note was issued in 1917 and withdrawn in 1922 because it caused some inconvenience to the public.

“The ₹2.5 note could fetch ₹3-4 lakh now,” said Mukesh Kumar Verma, an engineer-turned-gemologist who started collecting coins about 10 years ago. A good quality ₹2.5 note could fetch even around ₹5 lakh, according to Musham Damodhar Rao, a Secunderabad-based collector.


A ₹1 note printed in 1949 after India became a republic



The hobby has turned into a profession over the years. “We registered a society — the Royal Numismatic Society, (RNS), Delhi — in 2016,” Verma told BusinessLine .

“The value of notes demonetised during the Indira Gandhi regime are much higher. The big-size ₹10,000 and ₹5,000 notes, which were not much in circulation, now fetch up to ₹15-20 lakh depending on the condition of the notes. The big-size ₹1,000 note would fetch ₹50,000 now,” said Rao.

‘New’ demonetisation

The ₹1,000 and ₹500 notes demonetised by the Modi government in 2016, however, do not carry much weight.

“At the most, people may pay for some fancy currency number. Paying extra for fancy numbers is a trend seen in India, not prevalent in the global market,” Rao observed.

“The recently demonetised notes can fetch ₹100-150,” said Gulab Nabi of GNA Collection, an East Champaran-based currency collector.

The RNS had planned an exhibition in Delhi on November 10, 2016. But, as luck would have it, it was two days after the demonetisation announcement. The event, for which currency enthusiasts from across the country had booked space and made travel plans, had to be cancelled, resulting in a loss of ₹2.5-3 lakh for Verma.

Since then, however, the enthusiasts have met several times. There was an auction of rare currencies in mid-2018 in Delhi, which saw business of around ₹50 crore, Verma estimated. The currency collectors have also started accepting digital money.

What draws attention

Collectors typically look for notes with special numbers, signed by ‘rare’ governors and older coins, among others.

They also have their own interests, such as fancy numbers — all 0s or 1s or 9s —or numbers that reflect birthdays, Nabi said, flaunting his collection of ₹1 notes issued between 1957 and 1994. The value of notes signed by former RBI Governor Amitav Ghosh, who held the post for just 15 days in 1985, is high, he added.

As the RNS gets set for its sojourn in Delhi from May 17, it hopes the hobby is adopted more widely.

So, next time, take a closer look at the notes that travel through your wallets, for they may sport a unique number or bear some interesting historical nugget. And, if you are lucky, one such note could make you rich beyond your imagination.

Published on May 14, 2019
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