From 1939 until the end of 1941 when Japan entered World War II the Indian economy was not seriously affected. The requirement for the coin was well within the capacity of the Indian mints, but demands for foreign coinages brought increasing pressure both in metal stocks and machine capacity.
In England, the great pressure of work on the Royal Mint and the insecurity of sea communications from England to Africa, Arabia, and the East resulted in a number of foreign and colonial coinage orders being passed over to the Indian mints for execution – namely, those of Ceylon, East Africa, Egypt, Iraq, Malaya, Muscat, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and the Maria Theresa Thaler. To this was added demands from several native Indian states, and the decision in March 1940 to adopt the 500 fine standard for the Indian silver coins.
As this pressure increased and metal supplies gradually became more difficult to obtain (the Amrican silver loans did not materialize until 1943), consideration was given to the problem of economies in domestic coin production, to leave more capacity free for foreign orders and also reduce the amount of metals required for this purpose.
It was in the light of these problems that the proposal was made to introduce a 2½ Rupee coin which was provisionally called a Dollar, the term Dollar having no meaning relative to any decimal standard.
The advantages of a 2½ Rupee coin were twofold:
(a) A considerable saving of metal would be affected, as each Dollar would replace two One Rupee coins and one Half Rupee coin, which together had a combined weight of 450 troy grains against a proposed weight of 225 grains for the single 2½ Rupee coin, and
(b) The productive capacity set free for other purposes, in the stamping department alone, one coining press engaged upon a 2½ Rupee coin would produce the same total value as three presses striking rupees and the half rupee.
The project reached the stage where pattern coins were prepared for submission and approval by the Minister of Finance, with the intention of introducing an amendment to the Coinage Act to enable the coins to be made legal tender. Before this could be done Japan entered the War. The situation changed immediately and the proposal had to be abandoned.
Some samples of this pattern coin still exists and are very rare to see.