Sweeter than honey

Rita Dhital


Time makes all the difference. Anything ordinary at a particular time might assume significance and value later. For visitors at Nepal Money Expo, the collection of paper money of yore here and abroad seemed remarkable to many. To start with, Jaya Hari Jha, the author of ‘An Overview of Nepalese Paper Money’ and the collector of the present exhibition, gave a short history of the development of paper money in Nepal. The first paper note of Nepal was issued on 1945 at the time of Prime Minister Juddha Shamsher by Sadar Mulukikhana with the signature of Khajanchi Janak Raj. With the establishment of Nepal Rastra Bank in 1956, it was bestowed with the sole right of issuing paper money in Nepal with the signature of its first governor, Himalaya Shamsher. The exhibits comprised all the 109 different varieties of bank notes in all 11 different denominations and the various specimen banknotes of different governors arranged continuously right from the the reign of King Mahendra to the present king Gyanendra and the currencies of about 200 international countries. The collection of international currencies was informational and educative as there were the names of the countries and the names of the currencies mentioned. There were even extinct bank notes of some countries. Jha presented a collection of specimen notes issued by the central bank. That the collection happened with a purpose was evident from the presence of notes having interesting note numbers. Another interesting set of exhibits was the assortment of error bank notes that have came into circulation by chance. He also included earlier and recent substitutes of the bank notes like credit card, debit card, phone card, money order, postal order, and traveller’s cheques.

“ I always had a knack for collecting things, be they stamps, coins or notes. But my interest got an intensity when one of my German friends, Hans Wittman, asked for help on paper money in Nepal for his research and book in 1965. While helping him, I also published a book out of my own research and experiences,” Jha said. After his retirement from the government services, he has made his hobby a full time occupation. “I have paid more than Rs 10,000 for a rare note,” he said. “I hope to have my collections placed in a museum one day.”