Currency notes of varying denominations, especially those of a specific series, being sold online is nothing new. But the trend seems to have pick up with the government’s demonetisation exercise.
While websites, including eBay and OLX, are listing notes of varied denominations for sale, a simple Google search throws up an aggregator website, for-sale-in, which gives information about all deals available online on the sale of currency notes. “Indian Currency Note for sale in India | View 52 bargains,” is what the search shows up.
Last week, eBay went live with a listing of R2,000 notes at a premium price of R1.5 lakh. On offer was five new R2,000 notes and a free R500 note. The site still lists R100, 50 and old 1,000 notes, at high prices.
Most of the listings are for special properties of the note, which might include a religious set of numbers like the 786 series made famous by actor Amitabh Bachan after his movie Deewar. In the movie, the actor wears badge number 786 as a dock worker.
However, not everything that is up for sale on the sites are prized catches.
“Some people are putting up these listings online in an attempt to dupe customers,” Girish Veera, proprietor of Mumbai-based Oswal Antiques, told HT. “Most government-licensed auction houses don’t put up such listings. What we sell have some antique value in them and they have some retail value too.”
There are no RBI guidelines on such online sale. “It is not under RBI’s purview to hold anyone criminally for selling any currency notes at a premium,” a senior RBI official said, adding, “it is a service between two people and if someone wants to pay premium for a note, RBI can’t do much.”
The Madhya Pradesh High Court had sent out notices to several online marketplaces, including eBay, in July last year for alleged online trading of Indian currency carrying ‘unique’ numbers.
When contacted, an EBay India spokesperson said it has always asked independent sellers to follow provisions of applicable laws for their listings on its website.