Habib bank tokens

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Company history

In 1841, the Habib family established a trading company in Bombay. Khoja Mithobai traded mainly in metals. It was only 50 years later, when the company came under the leadership of Habib Ismael, that the company started to flourish. Habib concentrated on banking. His honesty became proverbial, bringing in ever more clients and business. Habib's sons succeeded him. One of them, Mohammed Ali, developed the banking business to such an extent, that, in 1941, the company became Habib Bank Limited. Contrary to other banks, Habib had the ambition to work on a national scale.

At independence, Habib relocated its headquarters from Bombay/Mumbai to Karachi. When the subcontinent split into India and Pakistan, Habib was Pakistan's first bank. In 1972 the bank moved its headquarters to Habib Bank Plaza, which at the time was the tallest building in South Asia. Habib was nationalised in 1974. The Zürich branch escaped nationalisation and became an important international bank by itself, still owned by the Habib family. The Pakistani bank was privatised again in 2003. It is now majority owned by the Aga Khan fund for economic development. It is the largest company of Pakistan, having branches all over the country. It also has offices in 25 other countries, including all important financial centers in the world.

Tokens

The tokens of the bank comprise two categories: silver and gold bars for retail investors and account tokens. The coin-like bars both exploit and reinforce the image of the bank as honest. Their appeal rests on the trust buyers had in the bank. At the same time, by very slightly surpassing expectations, they supported the image of a company you can trust. Click on the image of a token for possible enlargement.

The cashiers tokens were used to split documentation and execution of transactions, a normal safety precaution in the banking sector. Clients would do their business at a normal window. When the business gave rise to a financial transaction, the client would receive a numbered token for the cashier's window. Here, against the token, the payments were made and the documents finalised. The latter category dates from the Bombay period (1941-1947). The silver and gold bars have no address. One of them has been dated 1965. The weight unit used on the bars is the tola, a traditional weight in the Indian continent, fixed at 180 troy grains, therefore 11.663 grams.

Design elements

Logo.png

The traditional logo of the Habib bank is a lion with a scimitar, inspired by the Iranian state symbol under the Shahs, from the Safavids to the Pahlavis. The Pakistani bank no longer uses this symbolism, but the Swiss bank has a similar logo. Note that the crown-like design above the logo is actually calligraphy with Arabic letters.

Taj Mahal.jpg

The building is the Taj Mahal in Agra, India. For that reason and the use of the HB monogram, HBL 1-5 are more likely to be from the 1941-1947 period. The use of Gujarati script and the denomination in tola, which was replaced by grams in the 1950s, on HBL 6-9 are indications that they were likely issued in the period 1948-1965.

Medal Habib.jpg

There are also commemorative medals and paper weights of Habib Bank Ltd. and Habib Bank AG in Zürich. These are outside the scope of World of Tokens. The medal shown also exists in silver.

Catalogue

Habib bank account tokens
BHB1.jpg
Filename BHB1
Side 1 climbing lion with scimitar
Side 2 sunburst
Manufacture brass
Size (mm)
Weight (grams)
Notes 1941-1947
Source PP
BHB2.jpg
Filename BHB2
Side 1 scimitar, passing lion
Side 2 blank
Manufacture brass
Size (mm) 32.7
Weight (grams) 20.0
Notes
Source PP
BHB3.jpg
Filename BHB3
Side 1 scimitar, passing lion
Side 2 disc on sunburst
Manufacture brass
Size (mm) 32.8
Weight (grams) 13.1
Notes
Source PP
BHB4.jpg
Filename BHB4
Side 1 scimitar, passing lion
Side 2 small wreath, حبیب بنک لمیٹڈ - Habib Bank Limited
Manufacture brass
Size (mm) 32.8
Weight (grams) 13.2
Notes BHB4 Varieties
Source PP
BHB5.jpg
Filename BHB5
Side 1 scimitar, passing lion
Side 2 Large wreath, حبیب بنک لمیٹڈ - Habib Bank Limited
Manufacture brass
Size (mm) 34.8
Weight (grams) 17.0
Notes
Source PP
Habib bank gold and silver bars
HBL1.jpg
Filename HBL1
Side 1 passing lion with scimitar
Side 2 Taj Mahal, حبیب بنک لمیٹڈ - Habib Bank Limited
Manufacture Silver 999
Size (mm)
Weight (grams) 5 tola - 58.315 gram
Notes
Source PP
HBL2.jpg
Filename HBL2
Side 1 blank
Side 2 Taj Mahal, حبیب بنک لمیٹڈ - Habib Bank Limited
Manufacture Silver
Size (mm)
Weight (grams) 5 tola - 58.315 gram
Notes
Source PP
HBL3.jpg
Filename HBL3
Side 1 scimitar, passing lion
Side 2 monogram
Manufacture gold 9167
Size (mm)
Weight (grams) ½ tola - 5.8315 gram
Notes Guinea fineness (not guinea weight)
Source PP
HBL4.jpg
Filename HBL4
Side 1 passing lion with scimitar
Side 2 Taj Mahal, حبیب بنک لمیٹڈ - Habib Bank Limited
Manufacture Gold 995
Size (mm)
Weight (grams) 5 tola - 58.315 gram
Notes
Source PP
HBL5.jpg
Filename HBL5
Side 1 passing lion with scimitar
Side 2 blank
Manufacture Gold 9352
Size (mm)
Weight (grams) 25 tola - 291.575 gram
Notes
Source PP
HBL6.jpg
Filename HBL6
Side 1 Lion with sun behind, હબીબ બેંક લીમીટેડ - Habib bank Limited / પાંચ તોલા - 5 tola / શુદ્ધ ચાંદી - pure silver
Side 2 weight
Manufacture Silver 999
Size (mm) 38
Weight (grams) 5 tola - 58.315 gram
Notes observed weight: 58.64 gram
Source PP
HBL7.jpg
Filename HBL7
Side 1 Lion with sun behind, હબીબ બેંક લીમીટેડ - Habib bank Limited / ૧/૪ તોલો - ¼ tola / શુદ્ધ સોનુ - pure gold
Side 2 weight
Manufacture Gold 995
Size (mm)
Weight (grams) ¼ tola - 2.91575 gram
Notes
Source PP
HBL8.jpg
Filename HBL8
Side 1 Lion with sun behind, હબીબ બેંક લીમીટેડ - Habib bank Limited / એક તોલા - 1 tola / શુદ્ધ સોનુ - pure gold
Side 2 weight
Manufacture Gold 995
Size (mm)
Weight (grams) 1 tola - 11.663 gram
Notes
Source PP
HBL10.jpg
Filename HBL10
Side 1 Lion with sun behind, હબીબ બેંક લીમીટેડ - Habib Bank Limited / અર્ધો તોલો - ½ tola / શુદ્ધ સોનુ - pure gold
Side 2 weight
Manufacture Gold 995
Size (mm)
Weight (grams) ½ tola - 5.8315 gram
Notes
Source Balkrishna Khandelwal
HBL9.jpg
Filename HBL9
Side 1 Lion with sun behind, હબીબ બેંક લીમીટેડ - Habib bank Limited / એક તોલા - 1 tola / શુદ્ધ સોનુ - pure gold
Side 2 weight
Manufacture Gold 995
Size (mm)
Weight (grams) 1 tola - 11.663 gram
Notes 1965
Source PP