South India's first currency museum opens in Bengaluru; the collection includes rare banknotes dating back to the 1800s

Expect portrait notes of British monarchs such as Queen Victoria, King George V and VI, Cash Coupons, Prisoners of War Coupons to Indian notes issued in the 19th century
Currency notes and coins on display at the museum
Currency notes and coins on display at the museum

Bengaluru gets South India's first currency museum. Rezwan Razack’s Museum of Indian Paper Money displays one of the finest collections of Indian Paper Money and related material drawn from the Indian subcontinent.

While the concept of money has existed since almost the beginnings of civilization, the invention of paper currency is more recent. Rezwan Razack’s Museum of Indian Paper Money will orient the visitor with the history of Indian Paper Money and trace its ancient beginnings. From the early barter systems and the use of coins as currency, the Museum will introduce the visitor to paper currency, its origins and its usage.

Rezwan Razack, the Co-Founder and Joint Managing Director of the Prestige Group, is passionate about collecting Indian Paper Money.  He is the Chairman of the International Bank Note Society – India Banknote Collectors’ Chapter. Talking about his initiative to open this museum, he says, "This is my attempt to leave behind a legacy that showcases the rich history of India’s journey in currency.  I consider it a comprehensive restoration and preservation of an important national heritage.  It is also something that numismatists worldwide will benefit from in a large measure. I am very happy that I have been able to realize this dream."

Currently, the world’s biggest collector of Indian Paper Money, Rezwan’s collection has been built over 50 years with exhaustive research. In 2012, the collector co-authored an encyclopedic book, ‘The Revised Standard Reference Guide to Indian Paper Money’, and in 2017, he authored a second book ‘One Rupee - One Hundred Years 1917-2017’ to mark the 100th Anniversary of the issue of the One Rupee note in India.

What to expect at the museum?
The collection at the museum includes a superlative selection of banknotes dating back to the early 1800s, early Private and Presidency Banks, including the uniface or one-sided notes attributed to the colonial Government of India. The portrait notes of British monarchs such as Queen Victoria, King George V and VI are present while India’s colonial history has been aptly documented in the notes from French India, Portuguese India. From Princely States of Hyderabad, Jammu and Kashmir and Saurashtra States, Cash Coupons, Prisoners of War Coupons to Indian notes issued in the 19th century, the museum will map the shifting kaleidoscope of history through the medium of currency in the Indian subcontinent. Indian Notes used in Burma and Pakistan and rare notes used in the Persian Gulf States and by Haj pilgrims are valuable additions. A sweeping array of current Indian notes are also on view.

An auxiliary collection has also been painstakingly put together to explain the inspirations and techniques of making paper currency. While original hand-painted essays, patterns, proofs, trials, specimen notes, autographed notes and a rare Star of India Medal demonstrate fascinating aspects of money, meticulously sourced cheques, stamp papers relating to Indian Paper Money, booklets and banknotes help decode the ubiquitous world of money.

The Museum has been planned meticulously over three years to conform to international standards of lighting and climate control that will help preserve this precious national legacy. It was inaugurated by Dr C Rangarajan - former Governor, Reserve Bank of India on Saturday.

Entry free. Tuesday to Sunday, 10:30 am to 5:30 pm. At 2nd floor of Prestige Falcon Towers, Brunton Road

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