Author Topic: Numismatists want Old Hyderabad Mint building converted into Museum.  (Read 188 times)

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Offline velind

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In Centenary Year Of Hyd Currency Act, Activists Want Old Mint Building Converted Into Museum

The coinage and currency heritage of Hyderabad now lies hidden within the four walls of the Government of India Mint at Cherlapalli in the city.The common man does not have access to the rare exhibits kept at the Mint. While most of the equipment originally used in the Royal Mint of the Nizam was consigned to a scrapyard, a few moulds, dies, casts and rare coins and currency of the Nizam are preserved in the so-called museum at the Mint.
Heritage activists demand that the old mint building in Saifabad should be converted into a numismatics and royal mint museum of Hyderabad with access to the common man. While the mints elsewhere simply stuck coins, the Hyderabad mint of the Nizam's time produced even traffic signals, medals, badges and other memorabilia. Most of them have been consigned to scrap while a few now form part of a private collection of expert numismatics. Incidentally , this is the centenary year of the introduction of paper currency in Hyderabad. The Hyderabad Currency Act (19171918 CE) got the approval of the Nizam VII, Mir Osman Ali Khan on June 4, 1918. And this was the first time that paper currency was introduced in the princely state of Hyderabad. Till then, only coins with the highest denomination of Re 1 were in circulation. All of them were stuck in silver and they were worth their weight in metal.

“Since this is the centenary year of the Hyderabad Currency Act, the old mint building should be converted into a royal mint museum.Hyderabad does not have a numismatic and mint museum. In fact, it can be converted into a city museum,“ suggested city historian Dr Mo hammad Safiullah.

In fact, Hyderabad was one of the first major cities in the British India to set up mechanised mints. Though the history of hand-stuck mint coins during the Asaf Jah rule dates back to 1803, the modern mint came to Hyderabad only a century later on July 13, 1903. The first mint was set up by Nizam III, Sikandar Jah in Old City . Nizam VI Mir Mahbub Ali Khan opened the modern mint in 1903. It first worked through manual operation and later worked on electricity in 1910, the year Hyderabad also got electricity .The mint was shifted to its current location in Cherlapa lli on August 20, 1997.

Initially, coins were minted and as the princely state faced severe shortage of metal during the World War I, Hyderabad shifted to paper currency . The Nizam got the notes printed in England. Later, the notes were printed at the royal mint as well as Central Press (Government Printing Press, Malakpet) during the World War II. The Nizam ensured that the money printed in England did not fall into wrong hands before the bundles of currency arrived in Hyderabad. The notes would carry all the details except the mandatory signature of the finance member, without which the notes are invalid.The signature was printed in Hyderabad before formal release into the market.

The Nizam first issued 10 and 100 notes in 1918. As the high value notes did not get people's support, the Nizam later introduced 1 and 5 banknotes in 1919. The 1,000 banknote was issued in 1926. The Re 1 note was turned down by people as it was black. Many considered black as inauspicious and refused to accept it.The Nizam was forced to withdraw the black note within a year of its introduction. It was thus the first ever demonetisation of a banknote in Indian history .