He has a special love for one-rupee currency notes. After entering the record books four years ago for having the largest collection of ₹1 notes issued in independent India, Arvind Kumar Pai from Cherthala in Alappuzha made a quantum leap now collecting one lakh one-rupee currency notes.
Mr. Pai, a government primary school teacher, has notes from 1949 to 2020. He has at least three one-rupee notes in every batch of ₹1 issued during the period. "I started collecting and stowing one-rupee notes in 2002. I am happy to hit the one-lakh milestone when the country is celebrating its 75th Independence Day. The first currency note of independent India is a one-rupee note. I have in my possession notes signed by Finance Secretaries K.R.K. Menon (1949) to Atanu Chakraborty (2020)," says the 36-year-old notaphilist.
₹1 is the only currency note in the country that is signed by the Finance Secretary and not by the Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
Mr. Pai, who is also a philatelist, says that he spent around ₹70,000 for one lakh one-rupee notes. "I often exchanged my stamps for ₹1 notes. The highest amount I paid was ₹10,000 for a note issued in 1964. It was signed by the then Finance Secretary S. Bhoothalingam. I procured it from a collector in Chennai," he says.
The notaphilist who entered the Limca Book of Records for having the largest collection of ₹1 notes in 2018 has applied for an updation.
Mr. Pai's collection of the smallest currency notes in circulation includes 2,500 ₹1 notes bearing serial numbers that match with dates of historical and important events in the country in DDMMYY format. For instance, a note bearing serial number 280228 matches the date of Discovery of Raman Effect (February 28, 1928), 050457 (April 05, 1957 — the first-ever elected Communist government came into power in Kerala), 261149 (November 26, 1949 — Constituent Assembly adopted the Constitution of India), to mention a few.
Mr. Pai who started the practice in 2015 says that he is trying to tell the country's history through the collection.