The Travancore rupee was a type of currency issued by the Travancore state, now a part of Kerala. The rupee was largely a new currency in comparison to the old currencies of Kerala such as Fanum, Achus, Chuchogram, Casu (or Cash). This was probably due to increased trade with British India and high-value transactions therein.
It was the highest value of currency issued for general circulation. The highest face value issued was ‘1/2 rupee’. While there was a plan to introduce ‘One Travancore Rupee’, it was never done.
The half-rupee and the quarter-rupee remained the highest values issued for circulation. It was issued till 1946 CE (1121 M.E. or Malayalam Era), remaining in circulation till 1949. After the entry of Travancore into India, it was replaced by the Indian rupee.
Travancore rupee issues often contained the names or insignia of the ruling emperor in English. The reverse has inscriptions of the original language of Malayalam as well as the royal emblem of Travancore.
The inscription is largely a direct translation of the front of the coin. The year printed on coins was based on the Malayalam calendar (and the associated Malayalam era – ME), which begins around 825 CE. Hence, the year of issue of the coin can be found by adding 825 to it.
Example – The year of issue of a coin showing 1000, will be 1825 C.E.(or A.D.). Therefore, the year of issue of the coin with the year 1116, as depicted in the images, will be 1940-41.
Value of Travancore Rupee
Unlike the Indian rupee issued by the British and other princely states of India, the Travancore rupee was divided into 7 Travancore Fanams. These Fanams were further divided into 4 cycles, each with 16 cash. We can see these subdivisions in the following table –
|1 Travancore Rupee||7 Fanams|
|1 Fanam||4 Chakram|
|1 Chakram||16 Cash|
In the early 1900s, silver coins were issued in denominations of rupees and chakras. Their various values included 2 cycles, 4 cycles, 1/4 rupee (7 cycles), and 1/2 rupee (14 cycles).
Cash or Kashu coins were mostly copper coins. They were killed in values of 1 cash, 4 cash, and 8 cash. The exchange rate was set at 1 British Indian Rupee = 28 Chakram, 8 Cash with British Indian Rupee; Equally, 1 Travancore rupee = 15 annas, 8.63 pies of a British Indian rupee.
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