Sunday, December 21, 2008

Cash "n" carry - Paper Money Collector Ron Wise in the News

By John Bordsen
Travel Editor
Saturday, Dec. 20, 2008

Ron Wise truly loves money. He collects currency and has more than 10,000 bills in his personal collection.

And he shares his paper money, and bills owned by others, on the World Paper Money Homepage ( Its “banknotes” link will lead you to images of more than 16,000 pieces of paper money from around the world. It is the official online image gallery for the International Banknote Society.

Wise, 53, is an administrative assistant at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. He began collecting cash in 1980.

His most rare bill? “Probably a test note produced for the U.S. military for use in Vietnam. There are only 11 known examples of it in private hands. I saw that one bill sold for about $3,500.”

What's the appeal?

Foreign bills are little pieces of bona fide “elsewhere” you can hold.

They're colorful and interesting, and every denomination is a little bit different.

Bank notes require less special handling than coins. You don't need to worry about getting fingerprints on bills.

They're easy to store and don't take much space: 1,000 bills may fit comfortably in a shoebox.

Is this legal?

Most countries are not concerned about cash leaving their land unless you're involved with dealer-size quantities. Tourists come and go with small amounts of bills.

Box 'em, book 'em or mount 'em

Store individual notes in PVC-free (“archive quality”) plastic holders (they'll fit into a shoebox) or sheets (for ring binders).

Keep them in an environment with low and fairly stable humidity. Humidity can damage a note quite quickly.

“I haven't really had much of a problem with light exposure,” Wise says, “but as with any printed product, it will eventually affect the color of the note somewhat.”

If you frame and hang them: “Keep them out of direct sunlight. I've seen offices where bank notes are framed on walls, and I've seen no ill effect from general office lighting or indirect daylight. For your frame, you may want to use a pane of glass that filters out UV rays.”

Bringing bills safely home

Wise: “If you have a hardcover book, placing the bills between pages would be good way to protect them, short-term. “Or put them in an envelope and then into a magazine that isn't going to be folded. Paper is pretty resilient, but can take only so much of a bend. Try to keep your bill from getting a crease or a fold.”

How can you get these?

Visit the country.

Or when someone you know is planning to go there, ask him or her to buy some bills for you. Or offer to buy their leftover currency when they return home.

Buy the money through the mail from a dealer.

Purchase the bills at a coin and money show.

Are they real?

Counterfeit bills probably aren't much of a problem, but some very sophisticated counterfeiters are out there. Even governments have problems telling what's good and what isn't. In some instances, counterfeit versions can become more valuable to collectors because of their scarcity.

Buying overseas

Foreign bills that you get as change when making a purchase may be worn or dirty. You can buy local currency at foreign airports at the current exchange rate, but you will pay an extra fee. Got a debit/credit card? Use it to buy new, crisp bills at an ATM.

Anatomy of paper money

DIFFERENT SIZES: Many countries vary the size of their bills to make it easier and faster to ID the denominations. U.S. bills are all the same size – a hindrance to anyone who is visually impaired. (One way sight-challenged Americans cope with this is to fold different denominations differently.)

COMPLEXITY OF IMAGE: This serves two purposes, according to Wise. “It makes them more aesthetically pleasing, and the detailing makes bills harder to counterfeit.”

DURABILITY: Most countries' banknotes are as durable as U.S. greenbacks. The linen content in the paper may vary, but an authentic bill will have a unique feel that's harder for counterfeiters to provide.

BORDER: Outer edge of the printed design.

DENOMINATION: Face value of a bill.

FACE: The “front” side of a bill.

BACK: The “reverse” side of a bill.

WATERMARK: Anti-counterfeiting design that can be seen when held up to the light. A security thread is a tiny, embedded strip that serves the same purpose.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Zimbabwe $10 Billion Note Would Be the World's Highest Denomination

By Nutmegcollector

On December 19, 2008, Zimbabwe issued a new 10 billion dollar note. This denomination took effect after two previous currency revaluations.

In the August 2006 revaluation, 1 new dollar was exchanged for 1,000 old dollars. In the August 2008 revaluation, 1 new dollar was exchanged for 10 billion dollars. The two currency revaluations dropped a total of 13 zeros.

So the current 10 billion dollar note would be 100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (23 zeros) pre-August 2006 dollars.

The current record for the world's highest denomination is Hungary 1 Milliard B- Pengo, 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (21 zeros).

Friday, December 19, 2008

Zimbabwe Introduces New 1, 5, and 10 Billion Dollar Notes

The Earth Times
Fri, 19 Dec 2008 11:48:04 GMT

Zimbabwe's central bank Friday issued a 10-billion- dollar banknote, as inflation drove the value of the currency to new depths, according to state radio. A bulletin said the 10-billion-dollar note, issued simultaneously with 1-billion and 5-billion-Zimbabwe-dollar notes, "would go a long way in improving workers' access to cash."

Only a week ago new notes of up to 500 million Zimbabwe dollars in value were issued in a bid by the Reserve Bank to ease mammoth queues at banks around the country caused by acute cash shortages.

Zimbabweans try to draw as much money as possible because inflation, officially listed at 231 million per cent but estimated in the quadrillions of per cent (18 zeroes), erases the value of their salaries in a matter of days.

The new note comes 141 days after the bank slashed 10 zeroes off the currency because the multiplicity of noughts made it impossible for computers and checkout tills to compute.

"What I can only let you know is that in the next couple of days these things will be a thing of the past," central bank governor said at the time.

Economists say that each new issue of ever larger value banknotes triggers a new surge in inflation and a nosedive in the currency.

The price of bread shot up Friday from 300 million Zimbabwe dollars to 500 million Zimbabwe dollars (1 US dollar).

Opening the annual conference of his Zanu-PF party in the town of Bindura, 80 kilometres from Harare, President Robert Mugabe said "better times were beckoning."

The country is experiencing a prolonged economic, political and humanitarian crisis, marked by a cholera epidemic that has killed over 1,100 people and widespread hunger.

Pictures courtesy of Claudio Marana

Monday, December 15, 2008

Extremely Rare Kangaroo Island Banknote

By Joel Shafer
LKCA World Paper Money Auctions
Lot #6010 Ending December 9, 2008

Kingscote, Kangaroo Island South Australian Company
P-NL 1 Pound 1.7.1836 Grade EF/AU

I usually do not write this long a description, but then again I had never seen a note from this remote place. This piece was found in an unlikely location, and when Lyn asked me if I had ever heard of Kangaroo Island I admitted that I had not. This piece has some great history behind it.

Kangaroo Island (near Adelaide) was discovered by Captain Matthew Flinders on March 2, 1802. No island dwellers were found, but an abundance of food in the form of kangaroos was sighted. In his journal, Flinders stated that "the whole ship's company was employed this afternoon in the skinning and cleaning of kangaroos. After four months' privation they stewed half a hundredweight of heads, forequarters and tails down into soup for dinner, on this and the succeeding days, and as much steak given, moreover to both officers and men as they could consume by day and night. In gratitude for so seasonable a supply, I named this south land 'KANGAROO ISLAND'."

Between 1806 and 1836, Kangaroo Island was occupied intermittently by whalers and sealers, and also permanently by runaway convicts, ship deserters, farmers, and others. During this time, Americans came and left the island. William Walker, of Nicaragua fame, was among the settlers.

Henry Wallen, better known as 'The Governor', settled near Cygnet River in 1816. When Captain Morgan came on the barque Duke of York on July 27, 1836 at Kingscote, Wallen's governorship ended and was replaced by Samuel Stephens, manager of the South Australian Company.

Today, Kangaroo Island remains inhabited. There is even a Kangaroo Island Football League!

Uniface; kangaroo at upper left. Couple slight residue areas on back. Two "X" over signature area; with neither serial number nor signature. Text states "On behalf of the Directors of the South Australian Company I promise to pay the bearer in demand either in cash or upon London, at my option, the sum of 1 Pound Sterling". In doing research, I found out there are other denominations in the series; all are very rare.

This is the first of three extraordinary rarities from South Australia. Each has an extremely conservative estimate and each is worthy of the finest collections, whether public or private. This Kangaroo Island treasure is something I certainly do not expect to be able to offer again.

Estimate: $12,500.00 - $25,000.00
Sold: $14,000.00

Excessively Rare Cuba 20 Pesos 17.8.1869 Banknote

By Joel Shafer
LKCA World Paper Money Auctions
Lot #6146 Ending December 9, 2008

Junta Central Republicana de Cuba y Puerto Rico
P-64 20 Pesos 17.8.1869 Grade Fine+

Highest denomination of series. Missing from the wonderful Sergio Sanchez collection we sold earlier this year. A couple spots of very little consequence. The 10 Pesos from this series, which shows once in a great while, hammered for $4750 in Memphis.

I have only seen one 20 Pesos offered, and that was at public auction many years ago; it is possible that this is the same piece.

The Junta Central was a revolutionary group located in New York helping in the ongoing struggle for independence from Spain. This issue has always been popular with collectors of material from both Cuba and Puerto Rico.

The 20 Pesos is one of the world's great rarities; it should see keen competition, and the winner will have a prize possession!

Estimate: $8,500.00 - $15,000.00
Sold: $26,000.00, the highest price realized at the auction

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

United States $10 1922 Gold Certificate Sold for $19,000

Lyn Knight Auction Lot #457
December 9, 2008

United States Large Size Type Gold Certificate Fr. 1173a $10 1922 Serial #H10 was the highest price realized note at Lyn Knight Auction ended December 10, 2008. PCGS graded this note Superb Gem New 67 PPQ. Not only is this a serial #10 on a $10, but the grade is phenomenal. PCGS has seen only two other 1922 Series $10 Gold Certificates this nice, and none finer.

Estimated value: $17,000.00 - $30,000.00
Sold: $19,000.00

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

£10,000 'jigsaw puzzle' found in bin
December 3, 2008

A street cleaner who found £10,000 in cut-up banknotes has been told he can keep the money – all he has to do now is put the pieces back together.

Graham Hill, 43, unearthed the £10 and £20 notes as he emptied litter bins.

He handed the bundle to police who held it for six months. But, when no one claimed the cash, they returned it to Mr Hill. The Bank of England will give him a new note for each one he can put back together.

Mr Hill, of Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, remains tight-lipped about the task facing him. But he did say: 'I was gutted when I looked in the bin and saw the money cut up.'

Det Con Nick Cobb said: 'How the money came to be in the bin remains a mystery. There was no evidence it was stolen or linked to any criminal activity.'

The cash, and a second bundle of cut-up notes, were found in separate bins in Lincoln's central market in May.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

United States $50 1913 Gold Certificate Sold for $28,175.00

Bower and Merena Auction #13140
Baltimore November 18-22, 2008

The highest banknote price realized was a United States $50 1913 Gold Certificate. PCGS graded Gem New 65PPQ. Sold for $28,175.00.

PCGS has certified just 32 of this number in all grades combined, with a scant six reaching the "60" level or higher. This is one of only two to be vetted by PCGS as meriting the coveted 65PPQ designation and not a single note has been certified by them at a higher level. The collector who prizes both rarity and superior condition is the logical buyer for this exceptional note that will immediately enhance the stature of the collection it enters when the hammer falls today. We note a PMG 66 sold by Heritage at its FUN, 2008 auction for $43,125 and a CGA 65 by Lyn Knight at his 2006 Memphis auction for $21,850. Our result today for this well centered premium $50 Gold should fall somewhere in the middle of our estimate. Est. $22,500 - $30,000

The note on the left is not the same one sold. It's the same type but having a much lower grade.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Straits Settlements $50 1925 Note Sold for $11,000

Mavin International Auction 19
Singapore 7 & 8 November 2008

The highest price note sold was a Straits Settlements $50, 24 September 1925, King George V, (P.12a; Tan S12b), serial no. B/5 77904, pressed, small nick top right margin, paper still crisp, good very fine.

Estimated: US$9,500-12,000
Realized: US$11,000

The note on the left is not the same one sold. It's the same type but with a differenr serial number.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Presidential Campaign 2008 Remembered in Banknotes

By Nutmegcollector

I created these novelty notes as memorabilia for the Presidential Campaign of 2008.

Bank of Indiana served state well during its short life

By James Glass
November 8, 2008

In the early years of statehood, Indiana existed without a banking system. The state chartered a couple of banks in Vincennes and Madison had been chartered to issue bank notes for circulation in payment of debts, but they did not last. A national Bank of the United States operated during the 1820s, but it had no branches in Indiana. Trade was often by barter, and there was no easy way for individuals or businesses to obtain loans.

Finally, in 1834, at the urging of Gov. Noah Noble, the Indiana General Assembly chartered a State Bank of Indiana that was a combination of public and private enterprise. The state owned half of the stock in the new bank and loaned private investors about two-thirds the cost of each share purchased. This substantial public expenditure was judged necessary to gain public confidence in the bank and to furnish it with capital for operating, issuing currency notes, and making loans. The state obtained the funds needed to make loans for stock purchases by selling a large bond issue to investors in London. The new bank also had the advantage of being designated a repository for U.S. Treasury revenues. President Andrew Jackson decided to deposit such revenues in state banks being established across the country.

Initially, the State Bank of Indiana consisted of 10 branches in the main cities of the time -- Madison, Lawrenceburg, Richmond, Lafayette, Indianapolis, Terre Haute, Vincennes, Bedford and Evansville. In the late 1830s, three additional branches were created in Fort Wayne, South Bend and Michigan City. The branches had some autonomy, with their own officers and boards of directors, but were also subject to the supervision of the parent bank. Provisions were made for conservative management: Losses by one branch were to be made up by the other branches; the parent bank served to audit the operations of the branches and could close them if deemed prudent; and no legislator or state office-holder could serve on the boards of the branches or parent.

When the state's massive Internal Improvements project of building canals and railroads ran out of funds in the late 1830s, the State Bank, although it had been providing loans for the project, was able to extend enough credit to the state to avoid bankruptcy. During the national Panic of 1837, the State Bank of Indiana was one of the few banking institutions in the country not to default on its obligations. It even made payment of hard money (specie) to the U.S. Treasury when most other banks suspended payment of gold or silver to redeem paper bank notes.

In the 1850s, public resentment of the state's monopoly in banking caused the framers of the 1851 constitution to authorize private banks and forbid state ownership of a bank. The State Bank of Indiana allowed its charter to expire in 1857 and wound up its affairs, paying the state a profit of nearly $3 million. Part of the bank's charter provided that it set aside 121/2 cents of every dividend to create a fund for state public education. During 25 years of existence, the fund underwrote the beginnings of publicly financed schools in Indiana.

Three buildings of the State Bank branches survive, all in the Greek Revival style. One in Terre Haute, at 219 Ohio St., has been restored by John Hesler Sr. and now houses the law offices of Hesler and his son John Hesler II. The younger attorney says the 1836 building is the oldest commercial building in Terre Haute and retains its original banking room with dome overhead.

In New Albany, Develop New Albany Inc. in 1997-98 saved the deteriorated branch building of 1837 at 203 Main St. and restored the exterior and part of the interior. After six years as a banquet facility, the structure is now for sale and features a dining room with a sweeping domed ceiling and skylight.

Finally, in Vincennes, the Indiana State Museum and State Historic Sites recently opened the 1838 branch bank at 112 N. Second St. for guided tours and special events. The old banking room is adorned with six Doric columns standing in a circle. At the rear is a room in which fur trading may have been conducted originally.

• Glass, of Indianapolis, is director of the Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology, Indiana Department of Natural Resources. He can be reached at

Friday, November 7, 2008

Some Interesting FAQs on U. S. Paper Money

By Alan Herbert, Bank Note Reporter
November 04, 2008

Q. I can't believe that the $1 Federal Reserve Notes weren't printed before 1963. I thought they dated back to World War I?

A. There were $1 Federal Reserve Bank Notes beginning with the 1918 series, but not Federal Reserve Notes, which are a different class of note. The year 1963 is correct for the debut of the $1 FRN.

Q. Has Thomas Jefferson's home, Monticello, appeared on any other coins or paper money besides our nickel?

A. There was a Monticello Bank that was organized in 1852 at Charlottsville, Va. Several of the notes issued by this bank carry the design of the north front of Monticello, in a quartering view similar to the original Felix Schlag nickel design. The notes were issued in $1, $2, $5, $6, $7, $8, $9, $10, $20, $50 and $100 denominations.

Q. What is the average amount of coins and paper money that U.S. households have on hand at any given time?

A. A 1985 survey by the Federal Reserve System determined that the average is $100 in coins and paper money per household in the United States. A rather startling figure was also reported. They discovered that about 75 percent of the coins and paper money that is on the government books as outstanding is nowhere to be found. It's a rather big sum, since the estimate is that about $154 billion has "disappeared."

Q. What is the record for the number of times a denomination appears on a printed bank note?

A. Some years ago I ran across the statistics on a prime candidate, the Confederate $10 note of Sept. 2, 1861, depicting an Indian family in the center. It has the word "TEN" repeated 16 times in each of 34 columns, or a total of 544, plus the large "TEN," two Arabic 10s in the lower corners and three Roman "X" numerals, for a total of 550 times. Just imagine what they would have done if they had printed a back design on these notes as well.

Q. How many of the state-chartered banks issued $10,000 notes?

A. The only listing I can find is for the Girard Bank of Philadelphia as being the one such bank to issue that large a note. The bank issued the notes in the 1830s and 1840s. James Haxby's Standard Catalog of U.S. Obsolete Bank Notes, 1782-1866, shows a proof of the note.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

New U. S. Presidents Series Novelty Notes

By Nutmegcollector

I created these notes for fun. They are not legal tender. These notes are known as fun notes, fantasy money, novelty bills or non-negotiable banknotes.

This series includes all the Presidents of the United States from George
Washington to President-elect Barack Obama.

The front features copies of actual signatures of the President and the Vice
President. The back shows the name of the President, term of office, dates of
birth and death.

Barack Obama (1961-)

44th President, 2009-

George Washington (1732-1799)

1st President, 1789-1797

John Adams (1735-1826)

2nd President, 1797-1801

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)

3rd President, 1801-1809

James Madison (1751-1836)

4th President, 1809-1817

James Monroe (1758-1831)

5th President, 1817-1825

John Quincy Adams (1767-1848)

6th President, 1825-1829

Andrew Jackson (1767-1845)

7th President, 1829-1837

Martin Van Buren (1782-1862)

8th President, 1837-1841

William Henry Harrison (1773-1841)

9th President, 1841-1841

John Tyler (1790-1862)

10th President, 1841-1845

James Polk (1795-1849)

11th President, 1845-1849

Zachary Taylor (1784-1850)

12th President, 1849-1850

Millard Fillmore (1800-1874)

13th President, 1850-1853

Franklin Pierce (1804-1869)

14th President, 1853-1857

James Buchanan (1791-1868)

15th President, 1857-1861

Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)

16th President, 1861-1865

Andrew Johnson (1808-1875)

17th President, 1865-1869

Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885)

18th President, 1869-1877

Rutherford B. Hayes (1822-1893)

19th President, 1877-1881

James Garfield (1831-1881)

20th President, 1881-1881

Chester A. Arthur (1829-1886)

21st President, 1881-1885

Grover Cleveland (1837-1908)

22nd and 24th President, 1885-1889, 1893-1897

Benjamin Harrison (1833-1901)

23rd President, 1889-1893

William McKinley (1843-1901)

25th President, 1897-1901

Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919)

26th President, 1901-1909

William Howard Taft (1857-1930)

27th President, 1909-1913

Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924)

28th President, 1913-1921

Warren G. Harding (1865-1923)

29th President, 1921-1923

Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933)

30th President, 1923-1929

Herbert Hoover (1874-1964)

31st President, 1929-1933

Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945)

32nd President, 1933-1945

Harry S. Truman (1884-1972)

33rd President, 1945-1953

Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969)

34th President, 1953-1961

John F. Kennedy (1917-1963)

35th President, 1961-1963

Lyndon B. Johnson (1908-1974)

36th President, 1963-1969

Richard M. Nixon (1913-1994)

37th President, 1969-1974

Gerald Ford (1913-2006)

38th President, 1974-1977

Jimmy Carter (1924-)

39th President, 1977-1981

Ronald Reagan (1911-2004)

40th President, 1981-1989

George H. W. Bush (1924-)

41st President, 1989-1993

William J. Clinton (1946-)

42nd President, 1993-2001

George W. Bush (1946-)

43rd President, 2001-2009