1997 - Cellular Jail Port Blair - VIP and UNC Set

In the Year 1997, to commemorate the 100 years of Cellular Jail at Port Blair, a Single Coin proof set was issued. A circulation coin was also issued. The details are;

No bookings invited for this set. They were sold over the mint counter.

The Cellular Jail, also known as Kālā Pānī, was a colonial prison situated in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India. The prison was used by the British especially to exile political prisoners to the remote archipelago. Many notable freedom fighters such as Batukeshwar Dutt and Veer Savarkar, among others, were imprisoned here during the struggle for India's independence. Today, the complex serves as a national memorial monument.
The Cellular Jail is one of the murkiest chapters in the history of the colonial rule in India. Although the prison complex itself was constructed between 1896 and 1906, the British had been using the Andaman islands as a prison since the days in the immediate aftermath of the first war of independence.
Shortly after the rebellion was crushed, the British sent thousands to the gallows, hung them up from trees, or tied them to cannons and blew them up. Those who survived were exiled for life to the Andamans to sever their connections with their families and their country. 200 mutineers were transported to the islands under the custody of the jailer David Barry and Major James Pattison Walker , a military doctor who had been warden of the prison at Agra. Another 733 from Karachi arrived in April, 1868. More prisoners arrived from India and Burma as the settlement grew. The remote islands were considered to be a suitable place to punish the rebels. Not only were they isolated from the mainland, they could also be used in chain gangs to construct prisons, buildings and harbour facilities. Many died in this enterprise. They served to colonise the island for the British. By the late 19th century the independence movement had picked up momentum. As a result, the number of prisoners being sent to the Andamans started growing and the need for a high-security prison was felt.
Two wings of the jail were demolished after India achieved independence. However, this led to protests from several former prisoners and political leaders who saw it as a way of erasing the tangible evidence of their persecution. The remaining three wings and the central tower were therefore converted into a National Memorial in 1969.
The Govind Ballabh Pant Hospital was set up in the premises of the Cellular Jail in 1963. It is now a 500-bed hospital with about 40 doctors serving the local population.
The centenary of the jail's completion was marked on 10 March 2006. Many erstwhile prisoners were felicitated on this occasion by the Government of India.

VIP Set: 2 Coins of Rs 1
Images coming soon

UNC Set: 2 Coins of Rs 1


  1. Is this twin coin set of 1 rupee 1997 CELLULAR JAIL IN PORT BLAIR released in proof? I think it is in unc.I want to know Why this unc set is costly even though it is released into circulation,is it good for collection purpose?

  2. Its a Single Coin Set. The reason for it being expensive is demand / supply. This was amongst few coin set that did not have a silver coin. So there were very few people who purchased it. Similarly the 1991 Tourism Year or the single Rs 2 coin of Bose all are expensive coins even when there is no silver in it. The market for Sets has heated up in last couple of years. Be cautious on what you buy. If this is your first buy, then don't. Better buy regular coins sets from mint directly. Further on this, the coin itself is plentiful and hence the packaging can easily be forged. Try the 1996 Crop Science. Here the coin itself is rare and I have seen the value increase over 2-3 years.

  3. Thanks for the info,what is the mintage of 2 rs 1996 bose coin? I heard mintage of 5 rs tilakji (copper nickel) is 2000 to 4000 & 5 rs international science crop congress is 11,000, is it correct?But now a days 5 rs tilakji is cheaper than 5 rs science crop congress (even though mintage of tilakji is less) what could be the reason for this?

  4. Do not believe on the mintage numbers. They are entirely made up by top level dealers and everyone else starts quoting the same numbers.

    The 1996 Bose coin was in general circulation before the error was pointed out. That means quite a few coins would be out there.

    The Tilakji coin was in general circulation for a brief period of time before being recalled. It's to be noted that by the time coins are minted and are made available for circulation, there is a delay of more than 4-5 months. Minting of the coins is not done in small quantity, but in lots typically one batch run would result in 50,000 coins being minted. The news of withdrawl travels faster and dealers hand in glove with banks got the minted coins out. The Tilakji is made scarce and horded to drive the price up. I had visited a dealers home and saw a box full of Tilakji.

    The Crop Science however was withdrawn before it went into general circulation as the conference got cancelled suddenly. Hence whatever coins you see are mostly got out directly from mint.

  5. What would be the reasonable price to buy AUNC 2 rs bose 1996 error coin?

  6. The "Resonable" price would be ofcourse Rs 2/-. :)
    If you are asking whats the best price currently then;
    Some time back I had checked with few dealers and the price being quoted was 4500/-. The coin went for about 4000/- on ebay in Aug'11. I think this is high for a coin that was in circulation compared to the Crop Science same year that was not in general circulation and is only from VIP and Proof Sets. The Crop Science is going for about Rs 3500 to Rs 4000. The Tilakji is going for about 2200 to 2500 and the Dandi March Cupro-nickel for about 3300 to 3600. Then again if you are into this for hobby, whatever is affordable is the right price. If you are into this for investment, this may not be a sure payoff.

  7. Old collectors are lucky bcoz bose 1996 error coin & science crop coin were available for rs 50 in 1997-98 but now prices are very high when compared to 1997-98.I feel price of both coins will keep increasing bcoz both coins are scarce & collectors are increasing year by year.