Sunday, August 23, 2009

Palitana Cash Coupon - WWII

With today's post I am starting a new thread on paper money/currency notes/cash coupon used in India during WWII. This is one of the interesting area of Indian paper money history besides being one of the popular theme among numismatics.

Before I show off some of my stuff which will be focusing on only one of such issues, let's have another round of history tour :D on cash coupons of princely states of India. Their place in the history of Indian Paper Money is in the realm of exigent money (Emergency issues).

During the World War II a great scarcity of precious metals led to a shortfall in the circulating sphere. The Mints were no exception and their capacity was increasingly used to mint coins for "Imperial Purposes". By 1942, an acute scarcity of small coins was felt throughout India. While British India managed with postal surrogates, petty princely states in Western India like Balban, Bikaner, Bundi, Gondal, Indergadh, Junagadh, Jasdan, Kutch Mengni, Muli, Morvi, Mangrol, Nawanagar, Nawalgarh Palitana, Rajkot, Sailana, Sayla, Vithalgadh, issued what are alluded as Cash Coupons to meet the shortage. Some of these states were of an insignificant size, less than 100 sq. miles in area.

Though, some states sought the prior permission of the Government of India to issue Cash Coupons, the persistent negation of the authorities led many others to issue the coupons unofficially and satiate their needs. Most of them are therefore of very low denominations.

The Cash Coupons can be grouped into certain aggregates depending on their nature, issuing authority, mode of payment, etc. Most Cash Coupons were printed crudely on press board.

Group 1 - issued with simply the impressions of the fiscal or revenue stamps on a cardboard and serially.
Group 2 - issued through the State's treasury and bear the signature of the treasurer or accountant.
Group 3 - issued through certain local banks which had royal patronage.
Group 4 - do not fall in any of these categories and were issued simply as tickets with or without an authorising signature.

The Cash Coupons, by their nature, enjoyed a limited circulation. There were restrictions on their encashment. Soiled, torn or stained coupons were not encashed. While encashing, many states imposed a condition that only such quantity of coupons could be encashed which would be equivalent in value at least to a full Rupee. Overall, coupons were in circulation until 1946.

Today's blog focus on cash coupons issued by Palitana state which falls under third group mentioned above.

Palitana was a native state of India in the Kathiawar agency of the Bombay presidency which was later merged into Saurashtra and is now part of Gujarat state of Modern India. It was ruled by a Thakore sahib (also spelled Thakor Saheb), enjoying a 9-guns salute, accessed to independent India on 15 February 1948.

There were two type of coupons issued by Palitana: large ones by Palitana Darbar Bank valid until 31-10-1943 and signed by the Bank manager and smaller ones like revenue stamps carrying portrait of Thakor Shri Bahadursinghji (ruled 1905-1919 as minor & 1919-1948 as ruler) [as shown above on front side] printed at "B. P. Press" [carrying the name on reverse with serial numbers as shown below]; valid until 1945.

Legend above portrait on front side reads 'General Stamp' only along with denomination on top while Palitana State at bottom. The language used on front and reverse side of these Cash Coupons is Gujarati.

The above 4 such Cash Coupons in my collection are recorded in "The Standard Reference Guide to Indian Paper Money Catalogue" by Kishore Jhunjhunwalla which is the best catalogue in this area. The above are in denomination of 4 Annas, 2 Paisa, 2Annas, and 1 Anna.

Unfortunately, I don't have larger ones in my collection. Once I get my hands on it, I will share it here.

This post can't end without mentioning the fact that Palitana is world famous for its marble temples. The Palitana temples are considered the most sacred pilgrimage place by the Jain community. There are more than 1300 temples located on the Shatrunjaya hills, exquisitely carved in marble. It is also one of the greatest tourist attractions in Gujarat for foreign tourists. Every year millions of people come to visit these temples.

If you haven't been there then this post encourages you to visit the place to admire the beauty and magnificent architecture of temples!

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