Banknotes issued by Mercantile Bank

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About this collection

The Chartered Mercantile Bank of India, London and China was established in Bombay (Mumbai) in 1853. It issued local currency banknotes at many of its overseas branches between 1858 and 1892. Banknotes were becoming an increasingly popular payment method at this time. They were lighter and easier to handle than coins, and customers knew they could redeem them for ‘legal tender’ (usually gold or silver coin) at the originating commercial bank.  Chartered Mercantile was reconstructed as the Mercantile Bank of India in 1893 and the firm was permitted to issue notes again from 1911. This practice continued after the acquisition by HSBC in 1959 and eventually came to an end in 1978. Enjoy this selection of Mercantile Bank notes from its 120-year stretch as an issuer.