Early Indian Paper Money was not issued until 1770. The initial bank notes were issued by private and presidency banks. All the initial currency notes were uniface (meaning printed one side only). The paper currency act of 1861 gave the Government exclusive right to issues notes in India. Presidency banks entered into agreement with Secretary of state for becoming agents of issue, payment and exchange of promissory notes of the government. The currency circles were established to solve the problem of redemption of these notes over the Indian Subcontinent. Presidency banks ceased to exist in 1867. Mint masters, the accountant generals and the controller of currency were established to manage the future of British India Currency.
Victoria Portrait series were the first notes issued under the new management. These were still uniface notes. The notes were printed on handmade paper. Because of fear of forgery, new security features were added and finally lead to underprint notes that possessed many security features. 4 language panels also make an entry into the notes. King George V notes were printed on 2 sides and were the first of kind in Indian Currency note history. These notes were still under the control of Govt of India. Reserve bank of India was established in 1935. King George VI were the first notes issued by RBI. The first governor of RBI was Sir Osborne Smith, but he never signed any notes. Sir James Taylor was the first to sign the bank notes. Sir C D Deshmukh was the first Indian born governor. He also was the first post independent RBI governor.
This website has been divided according to chronological order from Presidency notes to King George VI. Please take a moment and review our disclaimer page. If a picture is available, a thumbnail picture will be displayed and clicking on it will open a bigger picture. Please feel free to point out error. We welcome contribution any from visitors particularly pictures and articles. We also thank Mr Kishore Jhunjhunwala for pictures of bank notes.