A ‘note’ of caution

Rumour doing the rounds: If you possess an old Rs 5 note which has five deers at the back, it will bring you plenty of wealth and good luck. This note’s magical capabilities are suspect, but for the naive (and there are quite a few) this is the latest must-have. There is a great demand for these notes, with people willing to pay a fat amount to numismatists if they are willing to sell them these notes.

Kanti Kumar Sevak, a numismatist, says, “I get calls every day asking for these notes. They ask for details about where to acquire them. People insist that I arrange for these notes. But I don’t encourage them. I help only those who collect them as a hobby.”

Not everyone is as honest as there are plenty of crooks taking advantage of gullible people in the market. Recently, two people were caught by cops in Abids attempting to sell off two “luck” notes for an astronomical Rs 25 lakh each. According to T. Venugopal, sub-inspector, Abids police station, “We arrested them on grounds of cheating as they attempted to sell the notes. We still do not know where they got them from. We will send the notes to Nagpur to verify their authenticity.”

But according to Alpana Kilawala, PRO of RBI, these notes are far from genuine. “RBI has never printed such notes. The first Rs 5 note which was signed by the first governor of India, Chintaman Dwarakanath Deshmukh, has three deers.”

An expert on coinage and currency, Shafiulla, too confirms Alpana’s statement. He says, “The additional two deers on the back of these notes are forged. But many Hyderabadis believe that possessing these notes is the answer to their troubles.” Another numismatist, Keshava Rao, had to dodge a couple of people while commenting on these good luck notes. “At least 50-60 people come over each day and ask for these notes, but I don’t respond to them,” he says. “There is no fixed price for these notes. It depends on how well one can fool the other person,” says Shafiulla, “These are mere rumours. I have had a Rs 5 note with three deers for 25 years. But I haven’t had a windfall.”

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