Monday, January 31, 2011

Funny money is no joke after one guy loses $50,000

By Alina Lobzina
The Moscow News
January 31, 2011

An exchange rate which seemed too good to be true left a 24-year-old man counting the cost – after fraudsters robbed him of $50,000.

Instead of getting legal banknotes, the man from Zhukovsky was left with a bundle of almost worthless toy cash – to the tune of 1.48 million roubles.

And the scam didn’t come to light until the hapless victim tried to buy a new car – only to realise he had been duped.



Little sympathy

But the plight of the na├»ve victim didn’t inspire much sympathy from policemen investigating the case.

“We thought no-one would fall for these funny pieces of paper, only slightly resembling real money, as they are sold in every kiosk,” police staff told Komsomolskaya Pravda.

However, the trick worked well, and just covering bundles of toy money with few real banknotes was enough to outsmart the man.

The swindler even managed to avoid leaving a memorable description – citing his fears of the flu epidemic as he wore a facemask throughout the transaction.



Empty office

The unlucky car-buyer rushed back to the exchange office in a shopping centre on Leningradsky Prospekt, but no-one was waiting for him there.

Only a few dozens sheets of uncut toy money, two mobile phones that had been used to set the deal and a pair of booking-clerk’s rubber gloves greeted policemen upon their arrival.



Clampdown

Currency exchange kiosks used to be scattered around Moscow but became illegal on Oct. 1, 2010.

And banking exchange services have had to conform to new regulations.

But eradicating the long-established exchange points has proved more difficult, Bank of Russia reports there are at least 125 in the capital.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sri Lanka to issue new currency notes series next month

By Santhush Fernando
Asiantribune.com
Colombo, January 30, 2011

Sri Lanka’s banking watchdog- Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) is to release the twelfth Series of Sri Lankan Currency Notes including the brand new Rs. 5,000 note, next month.

This means that the value of current highest denomination will be increased by 250 percent to Rs. 5,000. The new series is designed under a theme of development and prosperity and feature enhanced security measures, and will be available for circulation from February 2011, the Central Bank officials said at the launch of its Roadmap for 2011.

"We want to stress that the printing of the new Rs.5,000 note is not a sign that inflation will go up," Deputy Governor Dharma Dheerasinghe told reporters.

Rs.2,000 note which was the latest introduced by the CBSL on October 17, 2006 while the Rs.5000 multi colour coin which was the latest coin to be launched in view of the Central Bank’s 60th anniversary.

This heritage series currency note are introduced in view of the shift in demand for high denomination currency notes coupled with changes in price levels and increase in per capita GDP in the country in recent times.

Central Bank justifying its action said that money circulation had increased by nearly Rs.50 billion after the end of war as a result of the surge of cash-based transactions in the island's North and East.

Despite a booming economy country’s inflation shot up to 7 percent from a 3.1 percent recorded in February 2010, surpassing Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal’s earlier inflation forecast of between 5 to 6 percent.


Info courtesy of cleo phas

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Even if you aren't traveling, your money is

By John Bordsen
McClatchy Newspapers
Posted: 01/30/2011 12:00:00 AM PST

You may not be going anywhere. But the contents of your wallet are.

North Carolina resident Kathy Williamson stopped at a Harry & David store to buy candy while in Tennessee. The change she received from the clerk was correct, but she noticed something odd about one of the singles given her. Someone had used a red felt-tip to circle the bill's serial number and to write "Currency tracking study" on the dollar's left edge. And to the left of the first president's head, there was a blue stamp mark that read, "Track me at www..wheresgeorge.com".

After she returned home, she visited that website and learned the dollar had been registered in eastern Tennessee five days and 22 hours before and now had gone 122 miles -- at 28 miles per day.

Welcome to Where's George -- a project that seems part "Where's Waldo?" (paper-based hunting activity), part "Flat Stanley" (tracking where a particular object is physically moving) and is fully wired. People enter the serial numbers of a bill, mark the currency and wait to see whether the paper money turns up elsewhere: Someone else can go to the site, punch in the serial number, and learn where it has been.

At the site's home page, live blurbs pop up from around America that note things like:

Huntsville, AL

1st hit: Got this bill as part of a tip for delivering pizzas. Good condition.

The site's "George's Top 10" page lists some remarkable migrations of money, ranging from singles to $100 bills:


A dollar bill entered on Wheresgeorge.com in Dayton, Ohio, in 2002 has logged 15 "hits" over 4,191 miles -- most recently in 2005 in Rudyard, Mich., after turning up in places from Utah to Florida.


A $100 bill migrated from Downey in Southern California to Blackburn, England, and was last spotted back in California, in Weaverville -- 538 miles from where it started out.


A $5 bill launched from Jefferson, Md., turned up a year and 171 days later in Aurora, Colo., after stops in Jamestown, N.C., Florida, Texas and Ontario.

It's likely that some bills registered with the site made their way to Gottingen, Germany, home of the illustrious Max-Planck Institute: In 2006, Dirk Brockmann, an American theoretical physicist working there, used Wheresgeorge.com in "The Scaling Laws of Human Travel" -- an acclaimed study that used patterns of money migration as a tool to create models for the spread of epidemics.

"It wasn't about germs on the bills themselves," says Hank Eskin. "Brockmann used dollar bills as a proxy for how people move around. Paper money travels with people, so it's a good substitute for how people travel and how diseases spread as a result of that."

Eskin, 46, is the Boston-based Internet consultant who started Wheresgeorge.com a dozen years ago to track currency. "I don't collect it," he said in a phone interview. "It's more about the technology."

His site has become more than that to casual and die-hard fans (called "Georgers") who have logged more than 200 million bills into the Wheresgeorge.com database. "Something like 60,000 bills are entered every day," Eskin says.

This is despite the lengthy user guidelines and "frequently asked questions" text at Wheresgeorge.com. Some verbiage stems from Eskin's desire to track where money naturally flows. He doesn't want people to mail or tote money to exotic locales just to achieve "George's Top 10" status.

Other fine print says the site does not encourage the defacement of money: The Secret Service paid Eskin a visit in 2000. "I was also selling rubber Wheresgeorge.com stamps, and they said I basically can't do that. The law says you can't advertise on currency, and that's what they were concerned about. I haven't heard from them since."

Making and using your own little rubber stamp for this is OK, by the way: That's considered marking bills, not defacing them.

HOW TO TRACK BILLS

1. Go to www.wheresgeorge.com and fill out the registration form (it's free).
2. To check the money in your billfold: Click the "I found a Where's George Bill" box (even if you're not sure if it's entered). Type the serial number and your ZIP code.
3. To launch a bill: Click the "I want to enter and track ..." box. Fill out the "Enter a bill" form. If you don't have a stamp, just write "www.wheresgeorge.com" in ink in the margin of the bill.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Ukraine to issue New 200 Hryven Banknotes in 2011

National Radio Company of Ukraine
January 28, 2011

The National Bank of Ukraine is studying the feasibility of introducing into circulation banknotes denominated UAH 1,000 (1 USD - 7.94 UAH), says deputy chairman of the NBU Volodymyr Krotiuk.

He also said that the central bank is planning to issue in the 4th quarter this year banknotes in denomination of 200 UAH with an improved security system, with no significant changes in the design of banknotes foreseen. "We have 5 forgeries per 1 million banknotes. If we take the EU, there are 67 counterfeit banknotes per 1 million. We have 99.5% of the frauds made on printers or scanners, that is, not on special equipment," Krotiuk said, noting that it is internationally practiced to revise the system of protection of notes every 4-5 years. Today in circulation in Ukraine are banknotes in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, and 500 UAH.

Info courtesy of cleo phas

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

BEP Offers $1 Year of the Rabbit Lucky Money

By Nutmegcollector
January 26, 2011

The Chinese Lunar New Year falls on February 3, 2011. It's a tradition for families to give red envelopes containing brand new banknotes to children for good luck.

The year 2011 is the Year of the Rabbit. In celebration of the upcoming Chinese Lunar New Year, the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) released its $1 Year of the Rabbit product which features a crisp, uncirculated $1 Federal Reserve Note with a serial number beginning with “8888.”

The Rabbit is one of the twelve zodiac symbols associated with the Chinese Lunar Calendar. This lucky money product is exquisitely designed with decorative Chinese symbolism and is packaged in a red folder with gold foil. This product features an uncirculated $1 note with a serial number beginning with “8888.” The “Year of the Rabbit” represents good fortune and prosperity, signifying success in the New Year.

This product is limited to 88,888 notes available for sale at BEP.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Famous Landmarks on Current Chinese Banknotes

Courtesy of China Highlights
Bank Notes Tours

Images of five of China’s most famous landmarks are presented on the bank notes of 5th edition of the Renminbi – the Chinese currency.

1 Yuan - West Lake
Place: Hangzhou
Brief Introduction:
It is surrounded by hills and trees and faces the city of Hangzhou to the North and East. There are three causeways or bridges across the lake and three man-made islands named Santangyinyue (Three Pools Mirroring the Moon), Huxin Ting (Mid-Lake Pavilion) and Ruan Dunhuanbi.









5 Yuan- Mt. Tai
Place: Taian
Brief Introduction:
Mt. Tai is one of five sacred Taoist mountains in China and located in central Shandong Province just north of Tai'an City. Tai Shan has an extremely rich cultural heritage and, in the words of Guo Moruo, a modern Chinese scholar, is "a partial miniature of Chinese culture." Moreover, the way in which the culture has been integrated with the natural scenery is considered to be a precious legacy.








10 Yuan - The Yangtze River
Place: Yangtze River
Brief Introduction:
The Yangtze River (Changjiang), over 6300 kilometers long, is the largest and longest river in China. A Yangtze River Cruise will take you through the cradle of Chinese culture, while giving you the opportunity to see some of the most spectacular scenery imaginable.









20 Yuan - The Li River
Place: Guilin
Brief Introduction:
A cruise along the Li River between Guilin and Yangshuo is an unforgettable experience. As you take in the stunning scenery there's something interesting to see at almost every bend in the river. Between spectacular limestone peaks you'll see graceful bamboo groves, farmers tending rice paddies, and lumbering water buffaloes pulling carts or cooling off in the river.








50 Yuan - The Potala Palace
Place: Tibet
Brief Introduction:
Former winter home of the Dalai Lama, which is a vast, awe-inspiring maze of corridors and stairs leading through countless rooms of richly decorated statues, tombs, murals and antiques. You will climb past the White Palace into the Red Palace, where the file of pilgrims offering silk scarves, coins or yak butter to burn in the shrines combine to make this an unforgettable experience. Note: you need to be fit for the long stairways.








100 Yuan - The Great Hall of the People
Place: Beijing
Brief Introduction:
Xian City Wall with Bicycle - Biking around the best preserved ancient city wall in the world.
The Great Hall of the People was built by Chinese people in 1959 and is included in the list of Ten Top Constructions in Beijing. Located in the west of the Tiananmen Square, the Great Hall of the People is sublime and rich in traditional taste. It is the political hub of Beijing and home of the National People's Congress. Every year in March, the National People's Congress (NPC) meet and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (SCPCC) are held here.

Monday, January 24, 2011

China Yuan Dynasty 2 Kuan Note Sold for Over $180,000

By Nutmegcollector
January 24, 2011

Yuan Dynasty, 2 kuan cash note, ND (1335-1340), black text on grey mulberry bark paper, red seal top center, two strings of 10 cash coins at center.

This note was sold for HK$1,200,000 (US$154,025) plus buyer's premium at Spink's January 22, 2011 Hong Kong auction. The price including buyer's premium is HK$1,405,050 (US$180,349).

This Yuan Dynasty 2 Kuan (1335-1340) note predates the more well known Ming Dynasty 1 Kuan note by several decades.

The earliest paper money in the world was produced by the Tang Dynasty and the Sung Dynasty (618-1279) for the sake of practical expediency. These "flying cash" notes (called because they blew away in the wind!) were for local use, mainly in Szechuan, and could be converted into cash. Unfortunately, none of these earlier notes has survived. The practice of using paper money was continued by the Chin Dynasty (1115-1234) who established a paper currency bureau in Kaifeng. Later after the Mongol invasion of China, the Yuan Dynasty (1280-1368) carried on the practice of issuing "paper currency". But due to excessive printing, the value of this currency was severely diminished. Examples of the Yuan Dynasty notes are extremely rare and the condition tends to be poor. This note is exceptional for the type and is an important discovery.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

U. S. $10 1861 Demand Note Sold for $109,250.00

Heritage Auctions
January 20, 2011

Newly Discovered St. Louis Demand Note Leads Tampa Auction

The new year got off to a rousing start for currency collectors in Tampa, FL as they participated in Heritage Auctions' Signature Currency Auction, Jan. 6-11, held in conjunction with the FUN (Florida United Numismatists) Convention. The auction realized more than $7.8 million, including the non-floor sessions, held Jan. 10-11. All prices include 15% Buyer's Premium.

One of the most closely followed and well-publicized items in the auction was the newly discovered, and certainly rare Fr. 10a $10 1861 Demand Note graded PMG Very Good 8 Net, a handwritten "For The" example from the St. Louis district, which brought $109,250.

"Prior to the recent discovery of the note," said Allen Mincho, Director of Currency Auctions at Heritage, "no handwritten 'For The' St. Louis Demand Notes were known in any denomination."

Few Friedberg numbers in large size type notes remain to be discovered, and it is the rare day indeed that a previously unreported large size type note arrives unheralded to be catalogued and sold for the very first time, but that is what happened with this extraordinary St. Louis "for the" Demand Note. Until the discovery of this piece, no handwritten "for the" St. Louis Demand Notes were known in any denomination. Luckily for collectors, this example, while well circulated, is actually quite nice looking for the grade, with surprisingly bright colors, very clear signatures, and no flaws worthy of mention by the grading service save for a minor split repair, a virtual miracle considering the thin paper and extensive circulation these notes endured. Indeed, the survival of this handwritten "for the" from St. Louis is a minor miracle, as the survival ratio of handwritten to engraved Demand Notes is about 20 or 50 to 1 depending on the city, and only three St. Louis $10 Demand Notes are known with engraved signatures. So few unique Friedberg numbers have changed hands in recent years that an estimate is difficult if not impossible here, as a few short years ago we would likely have been speaking about a possible seven figure realization rather than six, but a realistic assessment of the market and our desire to place "real world" rather than "trap" estimates leads us to believe that the correct number for this unique note is...

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Estonian cashpoints begin pumping out euro-notes

euobserver.com
Andrew Retiman
Today @ 15:17 CET

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - Cashpoints in Estonia began issuing euro banknotes at around 20 minutes past midnight local time on Saturday (1 January) in a development marking the fourth phase of expansion for the troubled single currency.

Holding his clutch of banknotes outside a specially-installed cashpoint near a new year's eve gala venue, Prime Minister Andrus Ansip told press: "It is a small step for the eurozone and a big step for Estonia ... We are proud to be a euro zone member state."

"For Estonia, the choice is to be inside the club, among the decision makers, or stay outside of the club. We prefer to act as club members."

Eighty five million euro coins and 12 million banknotes went into circulation in Estonia on Saturday and money in bank accounts was automatically converted from the kroon to the euro at the stroke of midnight. People will be able to exchange kroons at Estonian high-street banks until the end of the year and at the Estonian Central Bank with no time limit.

Meanwhile, Estonian Central Bank head Andres Lipstok will take part in his first meeting as a member of the European Central Bank's council on 13 January.

Estonia is the first former Soviet republic to join the currency club. Launched in 2002 with 12 members, it welcomed former Communist country Slovenia in 2007, followed by Cyprus and Malta in 2008 and by Slovakia in 2009.

Estonia is joining the currency area at a troubled time both for its own economy and for the euro itself, however.

Unemployment in the small country of 1.3 million people stands at 18 percent and its GDP has crashed in the past few years. In the wider euro-area, if Italy or Spain require a Greek or Irish-type bailout in 2011, the future of the single currency could be at risk.

European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso and EU parliament head Jerzy Buzek, were unequivocally upbeat in their Estonia statements.

"Estonia's entry means that over 330 million Europeans now carry euro notes and coins in their pockets. It is a strong signal of the attraction and stability that the euro brings to Member States of the European Union," Mr Barroso said in a statement.

"The euro is a common good ... [it] is both a world currency and one of the pillars of the European Union," Mr Buzek noted.

But Nobel-winning US economist Paul Krugman wrote on his blog 40 minutes before the currency changeover: "Congratulations to Estonia - but condolences too. This wasn't the glittering euro entrance you were promised."

For her part, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in her New Year's address, noted the political importance of the single currency and voiced concern over what the new year will bring.

"Europe stands in these months in the middle of a great test," she said on national TV. "The euro is much more than a currency ... A united Europe is the guarantor for our peace and freedom. The euro forms the foundation of our prosperity."