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The Rs. 1,000-coin issued in commemoration of 1,000 years of the Brihadeeswarar temple in Thanjavur is the first ever Rs. 1,000 coin issued by the Indian government. So far, the highest denomination issued by the Indian government was Rs. 150.
Though Parliament passed a bill in 1975 to mint coins up to denominations of Rs. 1,000, the government has never issued coins worth more than Rs. 150. A Rs. 5 coin was released when the Thanjavur temple celebrated 1,000 years of its existence in 2010. Never before has the government released Rs. 1,000 coins though 75 commemorative coins have been issued by the government since 1964.
Commemorative coins are released in limited number on various themes. The first of its kind was issued on the birth anniversary of Jawaharlal Nehru in 1964. So far coins of denominations Re. 1, Rs. 2, Rs. 5, Rs. 10, Rs. 20, Rs. 50, Rs. 75, Rs. 100 and Rs. 150 have been issued.
The Indian Coinage Act, 1906, had restricted minting coins of denominations above Rs. 100. However, a 1975 bill raised the limit to Rs 1,000, but the government didn't issue coins of higher denominations. Coins of Rs. 150 were issued to celebrate the 150th birth anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore and the 150th year of public institutions including the Income Tax department and the office of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India.
Interestingly, the government had released Rs. 1,000 currency notes in 1954 with the image of the Brihadeeswarar temple. The government withdrew Rs. 1,000 denomination notes in 1977 as part of a measure to crack down on black money. The Rs. 1,000 denomination currency notes are now back in circulation.
What makes this specific issue of Rs. 1,000 commemorative coin stand apart from the rest is not just the amount but that these coins have 80 per cent silver content. The rest is copper. The other commemorative coins are 50 per cent silver, 40 per cent copper, five per cent zinc and five per cent nickel.