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Republic India Coinage


India won its independence on 15th August, 1947. During the period of transition India retained the monetary system and the currency and coinage of the earlier period. While Pakistan introduced a new series of coins in 1948 and notes in 1949, India brought out its distinctive coins on 15th August, 1950.

Chronologically, the main considerations influencing the coinage policy of Republic India over time have been:

  • The incorporation of symbols of sovereignty and indigenous motifs on independence;

  • Coinage Reforms with the introduction of the metric system;

  • The need felt from time to time to obviate the possibility of the metallic value of coins rising beyond the face value;

  • The cost-benefit of coinisation of currency notes

Independent India Issues could broadly be categorised as

The Frozen Series 1947-1950

This represented the currency arrangements during the transition period upto the establishment of the Indian Republic. The Monetary System remained unchanged at One Rupee consisting of 192 pies.

1 Rupee = 16 Annas

1 Anna = 4 Pice

1 Pice = 3 Pies

The Anna Series

This series was introduced on 15th August, 1950 and represented the first coinage of Republic India. The King's Portrait was replaced by the Lion Capital of the Ashoka Pillar. A corn sheaf replaced the Tiger on the one Rupee coin. In some ways this symbolised a shift in focus to progress and prosperity. Indian motifs were incorporated on other coins. The monetary system was largely retained unchanged with one Rupee consisting of 16 Annas.

Denomination Metal Obverse Reverse
Rupee One Nickel
Half Rupee Nickel
Quarter Rupee Nickel
Two Anna Cupro-Nickel
One Anna Cupro-Nickel
Half Anna Cupro-Nickel
One Pice Bronze

The Decimal Series

The move towards decimalisation was afoot for over a century. However, it was in September, 1955 that the Indian Coinage Act was amended for the country to adopt a metric system for coinage. The Act came into force with effect from 1st April, 1957. The rupee remained unchanged in value and nomenclature. It, however, was now divided into 100 'Paisa' instead of 16 Annas or 64 Pice. For public recognition, the new decimal Paisa was termed 'Naya Paisa' till 1st June, 1964 when the term 'Naya' was dropped.

Naya Paisa Series 1957-1964  

Denomination Metal
Rupee One Nickel
10 gms
28 mm
Fifty Naye Paise Nickel
5 gms
24 mm
Twenty Five Naye Paise Nickel
2.5 gms
19 mm
Ten Naye Paise Cupro-Nickel
5 gms
Eight Scalloped
23 mm (across scallops)
Five Naye Paise Cupro-Nickel
4 gms
22 mm (across corners)
Two Naye Paise Cupro-Nickel
3 gms
Eight Scalloped
18 mm (across scallops)
One Naya Paisa Bronze
1.5 gms
16 mm

With commodity prices rising in the sixties, small denomination coins which were made of bronze, nickel-brass, cupro-nickel, and Aluminium-Bronze were gradually minted in Aluminium. This change commenced with the introduction of the new hexagonal 3 paise coin. A twenty paise coin was introduced in 1968 but did not gain much popularity.


Aluminium Series 1964 onwards

Denomination Metal
One Paisa Aluminium-Magnesium
0.75 gms
17 mm (Daigonal)
Two Paise Aluminium-Magnesium
1 gm
20 mm (across scallops)
Three Paise Aluminium-Magnesium
1.25 gms
21 mm (Diagonal)
Five Paise Aluminium-Magnesium
1.5 gms
22 mm (Diagonal)
Ten Paise Aluminium-Magnesium
2.3 gms
26 mm (across scallops)
Twenty Paise Aluminium-Magnesium
2.2 gms
26 mm (diagonal)
24.5 mm (across flats)

Over a period of time, cost benefit considerations led to the gradual discontinuance of 1, 2 and 3 paise coins in the seventies; Stainless steel coinage of 10, 25 and 50 paise, was introduced in 1988 and of one rupee in 1992. The very considerable costs of managing note issues of Re 1, Rs 2, and Rs 5 led to the gradual coinisation of these denominations in the 1990s.

Contemporary Coins

Denomination Metal Weight Diameter Shape
Cupro-Nickel 9.00 gms 23 mm Circular
Cupro-Nickel 6.00 gms 26 mm Eleven Sided

Ferratic Stainless Steel 4.85 gms 25 mm Circular
Ferratic Stainless Steel 3.79 gms 22 mm Circular
Ferratic Stainless Steel 2.83 gms 19 mm Circular

Ferratic Stainless Steel 2.00 gms 16 mm Circular
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