The rupee (sign: ₨; ISO 4217 code: MUR; ) is the currency of Mauritius. One rupee is subdivided into 100 cents. Several other currencies are also called rupee.
In 1877, coins for 1, 2, 5, 10 and 20 cents were introduced, with the lower three denominations in copper and the higher two in silver. Coin production ceased in 1899 and did not recommence until 1911, with silver coins not produced again until 1934, when ¼, ½ and 1 rupee coins were introduced. In 1947, cupro-nickel 10 cents were introduced, with cupro-nickel replacing silver in 1950.1000
In 1971 a new set of coins and banknotes were introduced by the Royal Mint. This set has Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse and a range of heraldic motives on the reverse. Some of the reverse designs for this set were designed by Christopher Ironside OBE including the 10 rupee, 200 gold rupee and 250 gold rupee (issued 1988).
In 1987, a new series of coins was introduced which, for the first time, did not feature the portrait of the monarch (Mauritius did not become a republic until 1992) but that of Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam. This coinage consisted of copper-plated-steel 1 and 5 cents (the 5 cents was substantially reduced in size), nickel-plated-steel 20 cents and ½ rupee, and cupro-nickel 1 and 5 rupees. Cupro-nickel 10 rupees were introduced in 1997. Coins currently in circulation are the 5 cents, 20 cents, ½ rupee, 1, 5, 10 and 20 rupees. Coins below 1 Rupee in value are generally regarded as "supermarket" small-change. The 1 cent coin has not been seen in circulation for many years, and the last series of 1 cent coins issued in 1987 are only seen as collectors' items.
In 2007, a bi-metallic 20-rupee coin was issued to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Bank of Mauritius, and this has now become a coin in general circulation.
The first banknotes were issued by the government dated 1876 in denominations of 5, 10 and 50 rupees. 1 rupee notes were added in 1919. In 1940, emergency issues were made of 25 and 50 cents and 1 rupee. In 1954, 25 and 1000 rupees were introduced.
The Bank of Mauritius was established in September 1967 as the nation’s central bank, and has been responsible for the issue of banknotes and coins since that time. The bank issued its first notes in 1967, comprising four denominations: 5, 10, 25, and 50 rupees, all undated and featuring a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse. Over the years, some denominations were revised with new signatures of the Bank's Governor and Managing Director, but were otherwise unchanged.
In 1985, the Bank of Mauritius issued a completely new set of banknotes of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1000 rupees. A close study of these banknotes reveals an interesting array of subsets which were printed by two banknote printing companies (Bradbury Wilkinson and Thomas de La Rue). The notes were also designed at different time periods as there are very few identical and consistent design features appearing on all the denominations. Varying banknote numbering systems, different types of security threads, variations in the design and size of the Mauritian Coat of Arms, different ultraviolet light latent printing, inconsistent variations in the size incrementation between the denominations and multiple different typesets are just a few of the differences. This issue lasted up to 1998.
In 1998, The Bank of Mauritius made a new issue of banknotes consisting of 7 denominations, viz. 25, 50, 100, 200, 500, 1,000 and 2,000 rupees. These banknotes had a standard format and were all issued simultaneously in November 1998. All the banknotes of this issue were printed in England by Thomas de la Rue Limited. These first banknotes were withdrawn from circulation in June 1999 following controversies due to the ordering of the text (English, Sanskrit, Tamil) while the population of Mauritius was mostly Tamil.
The Bank of Mauritius made its latest issue of banknotes, which is still current, after June 1999.