Monday, August 31, 2015

The Canadian Demi

Residents in Quebec's Gaspé region are cutting Canadian bills in half to create a new local currency they call the "demi."

No one really knows who started the practice, but $5, $10 and $20 bills, sliced down the middle, have been showing up since the spring.

Residents and some local merchants have been using them, accepting their value as half of the original bill.

"It's money that can only be circulated among these local users," said Patrick DuBois, a demi user from Carleton-sur-Mer, Que.

"No one else will accept it anywhere right now."

Michelle Secours, who owns a business in Caplan, Que., said the demi has created a parallel local economy. She said it shows a commitment to local businesses.

"You have to be kind of in-the-know to use it, so it's creating a tight network," she said.

"It's not going to be accepted in a depanneur in Montreal, so it's a way for us to consolidate our money here."

The Bank of Canada says the practice isn't illegal, but also isn't advisable.

"The Bank of Canada feels that writing and markings on bank notes or mutilating them [is] inappropriate as they are a symbol of our country and a source of national pride," Bank of Canada spokeswoman Josianne Ménard said in a written statement.

"Canadians can help keep their bank notes in good condition so they circulate longer."

Martin Zibeau, a demi user from Saint-Siméon, said it's impossible to know how many people are using the quirky local currency, but he personally knows of more than a dozen.

"It's something that's still developing. It's funny — there are a lot of tourists who have seen it and spread the word across Quebec."

Zibeau says he doesn't see anything wrong with the demi because the bills are still being used as currency.

"In the worst case, if we find ourselves in trouble, we just need to make a call out to collect all the bills with the same serial number to restore the value. We can always put them back together."

Bank of Canada policy says it can refuse to reimburse anyone who wants a replacement bill if "the notes have otherwise been altered or damaged deliberately or in a systematic fashion."

Courtesy CBC News

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Rare $5,000 and $10,000 1934 Federal Reserve Notes sold for $129,250 each in recent auctions

A trio of rare and sought-after high denomination Federal Reserve notes realized identical price of $129,250 each in Heritage Auctions' Aug. 13, 2015 ANA Currency Platinum Night Auction in Chicago.

The trio consisted of a newly discovered Fr. 2231-B $10,000 1934 Federal Reserve Note graded PCGS Extremely Fine 40, a Fr. 2231-B $10,000 1934 Federal Reserve Note from the famed Binion's Horseshoe Casino display graded PCGS Choice New 63, and a Fr. 2221-B $5,000 1934 Federal Reserve Note graded PCGS Choice New 63.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Thailand to issue new 1000 Baht note on August 21, 2015

The Bank of Thailand will issue a new 1000 Baht note on August 21, 2015. The new banknote has enhanced security features to facilitate authentication by machine as well as the general public, including the visually impaired. The color and size of this new note remain unchanged.

Commemorative notes to celebrate Singapore 50th Anniversary

The Monetary Authority of Singapore unveiled a set of six commemorative banknotes today to mark Singapore’s 50 years of nation-building. The notes to be issued on August 20, 2015 comprise a $50 polymer note and five $10 polymer notes.

The note designs drew inspiration from significant milestones and achievements in Singapore’s history, the multiracialism that defines the nation, and the values and aspirations that underpin Singapore’s progress. The front of both the $50 and $10 notes feature the portrait of Mr Yusof Ishak, Singapore’s first President, as in the current Portrait series notes.

The $50 note highlights Singapore’s history, transformation and future. It shows the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s first Prime Minister, shouting “Merdeka!” – the rallying cry of our independence struggle. The note makes distinctive use of the colour gold, reflecting Singapore’s Golden Jubilee.

The five $10 notes have a common front design and varying back designs depicting the theme ‘Vibrant Nation, Endearing Home’. Each note reflects a value or aspiration that defines this theme:

Front Design of $10 Note

Back Design of $10 Note: …regardless of race, language or religion…

Back Design of $10 Note: Opportunities for All

Back Design of $10 Note: Safe and Secure

Back Design of $10 Note: Strong Families

Back Design of $10 Note: Caring Community, Active Citizenry

Switzerland new banknotes to be released - six years late

The Swiss National Bank (SNB) plans to introduce the first of its new high-tech banknotes in April next year — six years later than initially planned after reported technical problems with its paper supplier.

The new 50-franc banknote will be released next year followed by the 20-franc note in 2017, the central bank said in a statement on Friday.

The ten-franc, 100-franc, 200-franc and 1,000-franc bills will be subsequently issued at half-yearly or yearly intervals until 2019, the SNB said.

They will mark the ninth series of banknotes to be issued by the SNB since it started producing banknotes for Switzerland in 1907.

But the latest series has encountered problems and repeated delays since a 2005 competition to design the new money, designed with the latest security features to deter counterfeiting.

The winning designs featuring blood cells and embryos, by artist Manuel Krebs, was ultimately abandoned by the SNB after public opposition.

Designs by Zurich graphic artist Manuela Pfrunder, the second place winner of the competition, were finally adopted.

Unlike the current banknotes, Pfrunder's designs do not feature images of famous Swiss people.

The 50-franc note shows a mountain and figures who appear to be hiking on one side with an image of the sun on the reverse side.

Skiers slaloming through a race course are on the ten-franc note but human figures are largely absent from designs for the other notes that include representations of a butterfly, snow crystals and wavy lines plotted by a graph.

After Pfrunder's designs were decided upon, Orell Füssli, the Zurich-based printer for the central bank, reportedly encountered technical problems with its supply of paper, which must be capable of incorporating the new security features.

The exact nature of the features will be disclosed when the first 50-franc denomination is put into circulation next year.

The SNB said the new notes are designed to last at least 15 years.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Seychelles 'sex' banknote to be sold at auction

A banknote with the word "sex" secretly written in palm trees is to be sold at auction.

The 50 Rupee Seychelles note is due to be sold at Duke's of Dorchester in October.

It was issued between 1968 and 1973 and features an image of the Queen. It has an estimate of £200.

Timothy Medhurst, of Duke's, said it is not known for sure who left the hidden message in the note, but it could have been done by the printers.

He said some believe the word was added as the Seychelles was trying to gain independence from Britain.

Another note in the series contains the word "scum", suggesting the additions were deliberate.

Fifty Rupees is worth about £2.50 ($3.80).

Mr Medhurst said: "This is a very collectable item for obvious reasons.

"Amazingly the added message wasn't noticed, or was perhaps never mentioned, until after it stopped being printed.

Many think the engraver Brian Fox of Bradbury & Wilkinson, the printers, put it in.

"It is an otherwise attractive note but would have disappeared into obscurity if it had not been for its secret message."

Courtesy BBC News, August 17, 2015

Friday, August 14, 2015

Six Decades of Queen Elizabeth II as Seen through World Banknotes

Queen Elizabeth II ascended the British throne in 1952 at the age of 26. She turns 90 on April 21, 2016. Over the past six decades of her reign, the Queen's portraits graced many banknotes of United Kingdom, British colonies and Commonwealth of Nations.

The following banknotes with the Queen's portraits in roughly 10 year intervals represent six decades of her reign. One interesting observation - the Queens's hair style stays pretty much the same all these years.

1. Malaysia and British Borneo 1 Dollar 1953
Date of Original Portrait: 1952, age 26

2. Solomon Islands 10 Dollars (1984)
Date of Original Portrait: 1962, age 36

3. Isle of Man 50 Pounds (1983)
Date of Original Portrait: 1977, age 51

4. Australia 5 Dollars 1992
Date of Original Portrait: 1984, age 58

5. Bermuda 20 Dollars 2000
Date of Original Portrait: 1992, age 66

6. Jersey 100 Dollars 2012
Date of Original Portrait: 2004, age 78

7. Canada 20 Dollars 2012
Date of Original Portrait: 2010-2011, age 84-85

Poland to issue Jan Dlugosz commemorative banknote

The National Bank of Poland will issue on August 24, 2015 a new 20 Zlotych banknote to commemorate the 600th birthday of Jan Dlugosz, a historian, geographer, diplomat, royal and canon of Krakow.

Front: Coat of arms with crowned eagle; Jan Długosz

Back: Wieniawa coat of arms; Wawel Cathedral in Kraków

The Brixton Pound Banknotes

Jeremy Deller is the latest artist to have a go at designing money, but you have to be in Brixton to be able to use it.

The 2004 Turner Prize winner recently unveiled his psychedelic rendition of the Brixton Pound note, a local currency launched in 2009 by the community group Transition Town Brixton in an attempt to revitalize south London's economy by supporting small businesses in the neighborhood.

The Brixton Pound was conceived to "work alongside," rather than replace, the official British Pound Sterling.

B£5 features bright graphics on the front and a quote by Karl Marx on the rear.

Over 200 small businesses reportedly accept the currency, which supports the neighborhood by being exclusive to small shops, thereby encouraging residents to buy local.

Previous banknotes have pictured illustrious former inhabitants of Brixton, including Vincent van Gogh, the novelist C.L.R. James, David Bowie, and NBA star Luol Deng.

B£1 features Len Garrison, one of the founders of the Black Cultural Archives. The back features public street art from Stockwell Skate Park.

B£5 features Luol Deng, a British professional basketball player who plays at the small forward position for the NBA's Miami Heat. He has also competed with the Great Britain national basketball team. The reverse of the note is inspired by the Evelyn Grace Academy and features the Brixton Rec logo.

B£10 features David Bowie, English musician, actor, record producer and arranger who was born in Brixton. The back of the note is inspired by detailing from the Nuclear Dawn mural on Coldharbour Lane painted in 1983 during the peak of the Cold War.

B£20 features Violette Szabo, a World War II French-British secret agent. The reverse of the note is inspired by public street art from Electric Avenue: 'Foxes & Cherries' by Lucy Casson and 'Brixton Speaks' by Will Self.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

How China's renminbi banknote has changed over the decades

As it emerges that the People’s Bank of China is planning to issue a new 100 yuan banknote with improved anti-counterfeiting features in November, the first upgrade of the bill since 2005, we look at the many forms the note has taken over the years.


Issued on 1 December, 1948

12 denominations (1 yuan, 5 yuan, 10 yuan, 20 yuan, 50 yuan, 100 yuan, 200 yuan, 500 yuan, 1,000 yuan, 5,000 yuan, 10,000 yuan, 50,000 yuan)

Currency issued on the day the central bank, the People’s Bank of China, was established

The paper bills were easily damaged, and the large denominations made it hard for people to handle

There was little to no anti-counterfeit technology


Issued on 1 March, 1955

11 denominations (1 cent, 2 cents, 5 cents, 10 cents, 20 cents, 50 cents, 1 yuan, 20 yuan, 3 yuan, 5 yuan, 10 yuan)

Coins issued for the first time (1-, 2- and 5-cent coins)

Better security printing techniques developed, including printing watermarks on the bills, making them harder to forge


Issued on 20 April, 1962

10 denominations (1 cent, 2 cents, 5 cents, 10 cents, 20 cents, 50 cents, 1 yuan, 20 yuan, 5 yuan, 10 yuan)

More coins issued in 1980 (10 cents, 20 cents, 50 cents, 1 yuan)

Banknote designs reflected industrialisation and agriculture boom

Bills also featured English and Arabic so foreigners could differentiate their values


Issued on 25 April, 1987

Nine denominations (10 cents, 20 cents, 50 cents, 1 yuan, 2 yuan, 5 yuan, 10 yuan, 50 yuan, 100 yuan)

Banknote designs China’s four revolutionaries: Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai, Liu Shaoqi and Zhu De

Anti-counterfeit technology improved with more embossing and textures

Bills also featured braille to held the visually impaired; China was one of the first nations to do so


Issued on 1 October, 1999

Eight denominations (10 cents, 50 cents, 1 yuan, 5 yuan, 10 yuan, 20 yuan, 50 yuan, 100 yuan)

Bills featuring founding father Mao Zedong issued to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China

Banknotes printed with security threads woven down the centre of the bill

Microprinting used so certain text was not discernible to the naked eye

Gravure printing technique used, meaning some patterns were slightly uneven or concave to the touch


Issued on 31 August, 2005

Holographic, miniature “100”s printed on the security threads, visible using magnetic detection equipment

Denomination figures printed in ink visible only when tilted or viewed under direct light

Serial numbers printed in two different colours, with the last four digits decreasing in size


To be issued on 12 November, 2015

Colour-changing ink will be applied to the pattern of the number 100 in the centre of the bill; the colour will change from golden to green when viewed at different angles

One additional serial number on the right of the bill to ensure genuine notes can still be identified when the first serial number has worn off

New security line on the right of the bill will change from pink to green when viewed at different angles

Pattern of the Great Hall of the People will be printed in an uneven texture



Courtesy Naomi Ng, South China Morning Post, August 11, 2015

Monday, August 10, 2015

China to issue new 100 Yuan banknotes

The People's Bank of China (PBOC) announced it would issue a new 100 yuan banknote from November 12, 2015.

The new banknote will be harder to counterfeit and easier for machines to read. Part of the fifth set of bank notes introduced by the PBOC in 1999, it was last changed in 2005.

The design of the new bank note will stay largely the same as the the 2005 series but have enhanced security features.

The 100 yuan note is the largest denomination of the Chinese currency. The old version of the 100 yuan note continue in circulation.