In 1664, Jean-Baptiste Colbert, the French Minister of Finance succeeded in establishing the first viable French Company (the French East India Company) during the reign of Louis XIV. The company established its factory at Surat in Western India and acquired a foothold in Southern India by acquiring Pondicherry in 1674.
Banque De l'Indochine issued paper money for the French in India. The earliest 'Roupie' denominated notes were issued in 1898. The Roupie consisted of 8 Fanons and one Fanon was equivalent to two annas. These were in the denomination of 50 and 10. Notes of One Roupie were issued immediately after the First World War.
The above banknote is a 5 rupees banknote issued by the Banque d'Indochine at Pondichery. With Orange-brown on multicolour underprint, the banknote depicts the allegory of Liberty on the obverse along with the promissory note, denomination and the bank’s name on the obverse. The reverse depicts a woman wearing elaborate headdress at the left and an ancient tower at right.
The specimen of this note auctioned in Oct 2020 at Mumbai fetched the sum of Rs. 120,000. These notes continued to be in circulation till they were replaced by Indian currency in 1954.
Image Courtesy: todywallaauctions.com