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.