Story of Indian Bank Notes, from Imperial Bank to State Bank


When it comes to history of Indian bank notes issued by a single autonomous bank, one can say it dates back to the year 1921. Exactly to speak, it would be 27th January 1921 when the Imperial bank of India was established. The Imperial Bank of India was created by combining 3 Presidency banks of colonial India, namely Bank of Bengal, Bank of Bombay and Bank of Madras. Bank of Bengal started printing and circulating banknotes of India from 2nd June 1806, whereas Bank of Bombay started issuing Indian bank notes from 15th April 1840. And finally, Bank of Madras was set up which issued banknotes of India from 1st July 1843.

A marvellous stone building with beautiful windows was constructed at Apollo Street (current Mumbai Samachar Marg) in the year 1924 as a branch of Imperial Bank of India. Businessman Sir Badridas Goenka from the Marwari Community was given the post of the the Chairman in 1933.

The Imperial Bank acted as a commercial bank, issuing and circulating Indian bank notes all over the country and in certain cases also acted as the central bank until a central banking system was introduced in the year 1935. Finally after independence, The Reserve Bank of India converted the Imperial Bank to State Bank of India on 30th April 1955. Legal recognition was given to SBI from 1st July 1955. At this time the IBI had 480 branches and had more than a quarter part of the Indian Banking Industry. The RBI handed over its stake in SBI to Government of India in 2007.

Over the years, the Imperial Bank of India has issued several bank notes of India under the British regime. These old retro Indian bank notes are sought after by everyone today and some of them with fancy serial numbers can fetch you a handsome amount.


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