Coin Scrap

Coins and their denominations are markers of history. Like the 2 paise, the 3 paise and the 10 paise coins earlier, the 25 paisehas also been discarded as a legal tender by the RBI. Abdul Mohamin takes a look at how some of the change in your pocket becomes scrap and passes into history.

Muhammad Shafi deals in copper metal scrap near Budshah’s Tomb in downtown Srinagar. His latest visitors happen to be a group of local elders who discuss about scrap value of 25 paisa coins. The coin has been reduced to scrap after its face value as legal tender ended on June 30 this year.
Even though Shafi does not believe that this coin locally called tcho-nen has been edged out from our lives perhaps because of inflation. He now proposes that other dealers like him will have to fix a new resale value for this 2.5 gm coin.

 He advises his visitors to retain any pending lot as the price of the coins according to him always increases with time.

Shafi feels that a coin never falls in value after it is minted, when its value ends as legal tender, it always givesgood returns as scrap, and once this phase ends itsantique value begins to grow.

For him a penny saved is always a penny gained. Citing the example of 10 paisacoin an earlier ouster in the category, he says that it presently fetches more in scrap aluminum market.

It seems that people too are following Shafi’s advice. A few paces away the Jammu and Kashmir Bank’s Sarafkadal chest that has been urging people to bring their 25paise coins and exchange them for higher denomination value coins or currency, but with no response.

Malik Shabir Ahmad who heads the Branch said that they could not receive any of these coins back from the market even after a street campaign in their area.
Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the federal banking Institution had issued a notification asking all banks to accept 25 paisa denomination coins and  exchangethem up to June 29 this year.

However, there has been no success, as people either do not want to part with these coins or there are not many left to exchange.

The JK Bank, through its Branches Department had asked all Buisness Units and Currency Chests, to follow the RBI directions. But like other banks it has not received any coins for exchange.

Mohmamd Amin who is the branch Head of Punjab National Bank at Nowhatta said that ittoo  did not  receive any coins. For the State Bank chest at ResidencyRoad too it is the same story.Saleem Baba, Deputy Manager Cash said that the branchhad their own stock at the chest and the coins will be dispatched to RBI.

However, JK Bank’s Residency Road has received a few thousand 25 paise coins for exchange, said SafatRufai,Head of the Branch.

Rufai said that even the  50paise or eight annas that is still a legal tender has a much lower  presence in the market and most of these coins are received though donation safes in many shrines in villages.

Mints too are cutting back production of 50 paise coin, say bankers.

Malik Abdul Rashid, a septuagenarian visitor to Shafi’s shop has a pocketful of coins including 25 paise ones. He does not believe his beloved coin has been declared dead as a legal tender.

“25 paisa meant a lot in our age and this much sum was enough to enjoy with your friends,” he recalls an incident when he along with some friends in sixties went to see Kamala Circus at Golbagh, near present day New Secretariat and even after feasting lavishly and enjoying the circus they could not spend one rupee.

Tcho-nenwas first introduced as a silver coin in 1830s during the British Rajbut it ended in ferric steel at the Indian mints with the last ones being minted in 2002.

During the British period one rupee would comprise of 16 Annas or 64 Pice  with one piece being the lowest denomination minted in copper. One fourth of rupee was Char Anna or tcho-nen, the term that stuck with it even though a new series was launched in Independent India.

In 1950’s after Indian Coinage Act came into existence adopting a decimal series, a rupee comprised 100 paise and its one fourthwould be called 25 naye paisa, later 25 paisa.

In Kashmir the Dogra rulers also introduce a rupee of Kashmir, called chilki rupee that varied in value at different times from one-half (Eight annas) to nearly ten annas of the rupee of British India. But later British currency took over in Kashmir too.


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