When ferritic stainless steel coins of 25 paise denomination were first introduced in 1988 it was welcomed with so much cheer and excitement.  Coins so cute…so shiny…so compact.  It was a real good feel those days to carry a handfull of the new silvery coins in our pockets.  The jingling of the coins was music to every ear.  To put it short, the coins were perfect.  (For those looking for technical facts, this Ferritic Stainless Steel alloy is composed of Iron 83% + Chromium 17%, 19mm diameter & weighs 2.83 grams). 

Most sadly, these ‘little lovely ones’ have grown to their retirement age in a span of about 23 years.  To be precise, they would retire from service on 3oth June 2011.  The coins can then no longer be ‘used’ for any valid transactions.  Banks will no longer accept these coins and they would cease to be legal tender. 

Reserve Bank of India has given the public reasonable time upto June 29 to exchange these coins. Counters at all public & private sector banks would facilitate exchange of the coins.  Spiralling metal prices has forced the RBI to take this measure which will bring back millions of coins to the custody of India’s central bank. Coins so collected would find its way to the furnace where they would be melted.  However, it has not been decided how to use the metal so extracted.

From 30th June 2011, the lowest denomination acceptable would be 50 paise.  Accountants would have a tough time making appropriate amendments in their account books as every figure has to be rounded off to 50 paise or one rupee.

Most of us would remember having used or atleast seen the 1 paise, 2 paise, 3 paise, 5 paise & 10 paise coins.  They served us in various size & shapes.  Unfortunately, the cute 25 paise coins too would fall into this pensioner’s league in a very short time. 

Did you know that India was one of the earliest nations to have used metal currency, as early as 6th century B.C.  Tracing the history of ‘coins’ in India would be a very facinating experience.  Reserve Bank website http://www.rbi.org.in/scripts/mc_coinage.aspx would provide us a treasure of information regarding coins & currency notes. 

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Clarification sought:  If I take 101 units of the retiring 25 paise coins to any ‘RBI ‘Exchange Counter’, how much would I get in exchange?  Rs.25/- or Rs.25.50 ??  Round off to whose advantage???

However these coins are too pretty to part with and it would be more sensible to ratain them than exchange it for a couple of 10 rupee notes.

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