Giant and Titan on display

Last year I wrote about the Giant and the Titan, the two illustrious banknotes of 1 million and 100 million pound which are technically legal tender and are closely guarded by the Bank of England. They serve as backup for the Scottish banking system.

Channel 4 got a rare glimpse of these two banknotes (and could even hold them!) when they filmed an item on Mark Carney discussing the referendum on Scottish independence which will be held on 18 September of this year. Carney warned Scotland about the fiscal dangers of independence.


You can see the news item after the click:

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Steven Vrijdag 31 Januari 2014 at 09:07 am | | links | Geen reacties

New additions week 5 - 2014

Four new banknotes this week, including a set with EVERY banknote ever issued by a single country! How is that possible? They are of course from the country of Liechtenstein. The small alpine country between Switzerland and Austria has only issued three banknotes in its existence: a 10, 20 and 50 heller note in 1920. These notes (P1-3) are very small but show a nice drawing on the back of castles and town sites in Liechtenstein. Liechtenstein is also the 202nd country added to my collection!

The fourth new banknote is a nostalgic one because I used to pay with it. It's the 25 gulden from The Netherlands. This last issue of the 25 gulden from 1989 (P100) is a fine example of the beauty and design of the dutch banknotes in the past, this one designed by Jaap Drupsteen. Yes, I do miss these notes so I'm glad I could add one to my collection this week.

Steven Woensdag 29 Januari 2014 at 08:32 am | | new additions | Eén reactie
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Space notes

I just finished describing the first batch of 67 banknotes from 51 different countries which have a space and astronomy theme. Of course I'll keep looking out for more banknotes with this theme.

You can find the notes on my special space and astronomy banknotes theme blog by clicking here or on the astronaut at the right.

Steven Donderdag 23 Januari 2014 at 10:20 am | | site info | Geen reacties
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India to withdraw all pre-2005 banknotes

The Reserve Bank of India has published a press release stating that all banknotes issued prior to 2005 (that's everything up to P94 for us collectors) will be withdrawn from 31 March 2014. This is an effort to rein in on its black money and fake currency market that is estimated at 50% of its gross domestic product.

From April 1, 2014, the public will be required to approach banks for exchanging these notes. Banks will provide exchange facility for these notes until further communication. The Reserve Bank further stated that public can easily identify the notes to be withdrawn as the notes issued before 2005 do not have on them the year of printing on the reverse side.

The Reserve Bank has also clarified that the notes issued before 2005 will continue to be legal tender. This would mean that banks are required to exchange the notes for their customers as well as for non-customers. From July 01, 2014, however,  to exchange more than 10 pieces of 500 rupees and 1000 rupees notes, non-customers will have to furnish proof of identity and residence to the bank branch in which she/he wants to exchange the notes.

The Reserve Bank has appealed to the public not to panic. They are requested to actively co-operate in the withdrawal process.

Steven Donderdag 23 Januari 2014 at 08:06 am | | news | Geen reacties
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Macedonia denies printing of 'Alexander' banknotes

According to a Greek news site the Central Bank of Macedonia has denied rumours circulating in Greek media that a 200 denar banknote would be issued with the image of Alexander the Great riding his horse, Bucephalus on it.

"Concerning information in the media about new paper currency we are supposed to have issued. We wish to clarify that no-one can use paper currency images without having first received the Central Bank Council approval. The Central Bank of FYROM has not approved any of the banknotes featured in the media."

So, why did Greeks spread this rumour? And why is Macedonia denying it so fiercly? Here's an article in Der Spiegel with more info on the dispute between Greece and Macedonia. It goes all the way back to antiquity and it has to do with the name Macedonia. Is the 'real' Macedonia the country that's a part of former Yugoslavia or is it the region in the north of Greece with the same name? The 'real' Macedonians would be the 'legitimate descendants' of Alexander the Great and Aristotle.

Yes, I'm using that many apostrophes for a reason...

Steven Dinsdag 21 Januari 2014 at 1:21 pm | | news | Geen reacties
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Who's who on UK banknotes

The Business 2 Community website has published a nice infographic on the banknotes issued in the United Kingdom and who's on them. Because of the size of the image, click below.

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Steven Dinsdag 21 Januari 2014 at 09:59 am | | links | Eén reactie
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French Pacific Territories issue new series today

Wallis and FutunaFrench PolynesiaNew CaledoniaThe French Pacific Territories issue their new series of banknotes today. The beautiful old banknotes which were first issued in 1969 will circulate side by side with the new notes until 30 september 2014. From 1 October 2014 only the new banknotes will be legal tender. Read more on this new series in this post.

And here's the new series in all its glory:

500 francs

1000 francs

5000 francs

10,000 francs

Steven Maandag 20 Januari 2014 at 08:41 am | | news | Geen reacties
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Netherlands Antilles issue note with future date

The Curacao Chronicle reports that a new 25 gulden note from the Netherlands Antilles has been issued with a future date: 1 February 2014.

Every old note is apparently already issued and they couldn't wait for 1 February anymore.

A picture of the new date:

Steven Zaterdag 18 Januari 2014 at 3:08 pm | | news | Geen reacties
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Lats no longer legal tender in Latvia

From today on the old lats are no longer valid in Latvia. The only legal tender now is the euro. On 1 January the euro was introduced and until 14 January the euro and lat circulated simultaneously in Latvia. Lats banknotes and coins can be exchanged for an indefinite period at Latvijas Banka.

Steven Woensdag 15 Januari 2014 at 2:09 pm | | news | Geen reacties
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ECB: no plastic banknotes, more fakes

Besides presenting the new 10 euro note, the ECB Executive Board member Yves Mersch also had other news on the euro. Most important for us collectors is the confirmation that there won't be a switch to polymer banknotes in the near future. "We have seen with great interest what the Bank of England does and also what other central banks have been doing around the world, and we are studying their experiences," Mersch told a news conference when presenting the new 10 euro banknote. "The outcome of our studies was that we would remain with ... the current series," he said.

The other bit of news was the number of fake euro banknotes pulled from circulation. The number of fake notes in the second half of last year rose by 11.4 percent from the first half to 353,000. Although this is the highest number since 2010 it's not that much when you consider there are 15 billion banknotes in circulation.

The new 10 euro won't help much in the fight against counterfeiting because the 20 and 50 euro notes are by far the most favorite notes to forge. The 20 euro will be the next note in the Europa series. Its presentation date is unknown at this time but we're probably looking at 2015 for that one.

Steven Woensdag 15 Januari 2014 at 08:42 am | | links | Geen reacties
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Most expensive banknote ever breaks its own record

The US 1890 Small Seal Grand Watermelon 1000 dollar note already held the record of most expensive banknote ever sold at an auction. But now this one of a kind note smashed its own record. It sold in 2006 for a record $2,225,000 but last night lot 17127 at Heritage Auctions sold for a whopping $3,290,000!

This note is signed by W.S. Rosecrans and E. H. Nebeker. This is the final iteration of the "Grand Watermelon" design. The note's nickname has been derived from the resemblance of the three large zeros on the back to watermelons.  It is the only small seal Grand Watermelon of this type outside of government hands.


Steven Woensdag 15 Januari 2014 at 08:25 am | | news | Geen reacties

ECB presents new 10 euro

The European Central Bank (ECB) has presented the new 10 euro note, the second note in the new Europa series. A new design with some minor changes, updated security features which we already saw in the new 5 euro issued last year and with a new language: cyrillic. I don't know about you but I like the new notes! The design and theme is just the boring and safe standard we've come to know and love/hate, but I really like the slightly different colour they've chosen. 

The new 10 euro notes will be officially issued from 23 September 2014. You can find a video with the new security features after the click below the images.

© European Central Bank
© European Central Bank

>> Press kit

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Steven Dinsdag 14 Januari 2014 at 8:52 pm | | news | Geen reacties
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Aurora Borealis

Last night we could see something in the sky which is pretty rare in The Netherlands but occurs more often in countries like Norway: Aurora Borealis, or northern lights. This Norwegian banknote of 200 kroner (P48/50) features a portrait of Norwegian scientist Kristian Birkeland (1867-1917) who discovered what causes this spectacular phenomenon.

Birkeland organized several expeditions to Norway's high-latitude regions where he established a network of observatories under the auroral regions to collect magnetic field data. The results of the Norwegian Polar Expedition conducted from 1899 to 1900 contained the first determination of the global pattern of electric currents in the polar region from ground magnetic field measurements. The discovery of X-rays inspired Birkeland to develop vacuum chambers to study the influence of magnets on cathode rays. Birkeland noticed that an electron beam directed toward a magnetised terrella was guided toward the magnetic poles and produced rings of light around the poles and concluded that the aurora could be produced in a similar way. He developed a theory in which energetic electrons were ejected from sunspots on the solar surface, directed to the Earth, and guided to the Earth's polar regions by the geomagnetic field where they produced the visible aurora. This is essentially the theory of the aurora today.

The front of the note shows northern lights rising upwards to the North Star. Also visible are the Little Bear (Ursa Minor) and the Big Dipper constellations. Birkeland's Terrella is shown on the left. On the back of the note is a map of the North Polar region. Northern lights are visible along the coast of northern Norway at night; they are visible over Svalbard, a Norwegian archipelago in the Arctic Ocean, during the day. We also see a depiction of Birkeland's thoughts about the orientation of electric currents in connection with the northern lights. Currents near the auroral arcs flow parallel to the ground, while those that are higher up flow along the earth's magnetic field lines. These currents are called Birkeland Currents.

(This article was also published on the Space and Astronomy Banknotes blog)

Sources used: 1, 2

Steven Vrijdag 10 Januari 2014 at 11:13 am | | articles | Geen reacties
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Dutch banknote printer Joh. Enschedé saved

Dutch banknote printer Royal Joh. Enschedé has been saved from bankruptcy by signing an agreement with investment firm Nimbus. Nimbus will get 95% of the shares of the company while the remaining 5% will remain with the Enschedé family (Joh. Enschedé is among the oldest family businesses in The Netherlands).

Joh. Enschedé got into trouble last year when a large order for the printing of 450 million German 10 euro notes was postponed at the request of the European Central Bank. Because of this the company immediately had to look for new orders and as a result 65 employees were fired.

Joh. Enschedé prints euro banknotes for several countries, all the dutch stamps and other security prints. The company was founded in 1703. On the euro notes you can identify the notes printed by Joh. Enschedé by looking at the printer code which should start with a G.

Steven Donderdag 09 Januari 2014 at 4:05 pm | | news | Geen reacties
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New additions week 1 - 2014

I'm not really a collector of Euro notes. I use those notes to buy other banknotes and also because I think they're boring. But this week I got a gift: a 20 euro note from Cyprus. Euro banknotes from Cyprus are pretty rare so why not? I'll add it to my collection.

Steven Woensdag 08 Januari 2014 at 09:21 am | | new additions | Geen reacties

Will fake notes in Hong Kong lead to more polymer?

Recently there has been a rise in the amount of fake notes in Hong Kong. Specifically the higher denominations are counterfeited. This article explores the possible consequences for the confidence in the Hong Kong dollar. It also asks the question if a move to more polymer notes could have prevented this influx of fake notes. My guess is: yes!

At this moment Hong Kong only has a 10 dollar note made of polymer. It is still unclear if more denominations will be issued in polymer.

Steven Woensdag 08 Januari 2014 at 08:58 am | | links | Geen reacties
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Designing the dollars of the future

Here's a nice article and profile of Dan Humphrey, one of the many people working at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. He works on redesigning the US dollars and describes the ins and outs of his job.

Steven Woensdag 08 Januari 2014 at 08:52 am | | links | Geen reacties
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Janet Yellen confirmed as new Fed chairman

Janet Yellen has been confirmed by the US Senate as the next chairman of the Federal Reserve. From 1 February 2014 she will be the first woman who will hold this position.

The Federal Reserve is the central bank of the United States who is reponsible, amongst many other things, for the printing of the US dollars. The shareholders of the Fed are the 12 banks from the Federal Reserve Districts. On the front of every dollar note you can find the letter and corresponding number of the District bank who issued that particular note.

  • Federal Reserve Bank of Boston A 1
  • Federal Reserve Bank of New York B 2
  • Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia C 3
  • Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland D 4
  • Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond E 5
  • Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta F 6
  • Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago G 7
  • Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis H 8
  • Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis I 9
  • Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City J 10
  • Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas K 11
  • Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco L 12

Image from

Steven Woensdag 08 Januari 2014 at 08:33 am | | news | Geen reacties

Will Chinese banknotes get MicroPerf in future series?

The Chinese Banknote Printing & Minting Corporation, which is responsible for the printing of the Chinse yuan notes, has put out an order to the Dutch company IAI Systems for a system which will allow the MicroPerf security feature to be added to banknotes. This feature is already used on Swiss, Russian and Romanian banknotes.

If this means that yuan banknotes will also get MicroPerf in the future is, of course, unknown at this time.

Steven Dinsdag 07 Januari 2014 at 08:26 am | | news | Geen reacties
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Jersey not changing its banknotes to polymer

Treasury Minister Philip Ozouf of the island of Jersey has announced that the British Crown dependency will not follow the United Kingdom when they change to polymer banknotes in 2016.

He did however say there are no immediate plans to change Jersey's money, not ruling out a possible polymer future.

Steven Donderdag 02 Januari 2014 at 3:49 pm | | news | Geen reacties
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The Philippines to demonetize old banknote series

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP: the Central Bank of the Philippines) will demonetize the old series of banknotes according to a news report from the Manilla Bulletin:

The "old" banknotes called "New Design Series (NDS)" by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) will become collectors’ money or currency by 2015. The BSP will stop the printing of NDS this first quarter, finally, and will only produce the "New Generation Currency (NGC)" that the public was first introduced to in December 2010.

For three years, the old and new banknotes were co-circulated. In the next two to three months, however, the NDS notes bearing the 2014 stamp will be considered limited edition as the banknotes series will be printed for the last time. BSP Deputy Governor Diwa C. Guinigundo said they will make the call demonetizing the NDS banknotes later this year. After the announcement, the BSP will give the public one year as transition period to spend the old banknotes. By 2016, only the six denominated NGC banknotes – the 20-piso, 50-piso, 100-piso, 200-piso, 500-piso and the 1,000-piso – will be recognized as the country’s legal tender.

The soon to be demonetized 5 peso note from the New Design Series:

Steven Woensdag 01 Januari 2014 at 5:04 pm | | news | Geen reacties
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India to issue updated rupees notes

The Reserve Bank of India has released the following press releases to announce a new set of notes:

10 rupees, 2013. With L inset letter
10 rupees, 2013. With R inset letter
50 rupees, 2013. Without inset letter
100 rupees, 2013. Without inset letter
500 rupees, 2013. Without inset letter
500 rupees, 2013. With R inset letter

Steven Woensdag 01 Januari 2014 at 4:52 pm | | news | Geen reacties
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Latvia joins the Eurozone

Today Latvia has joined the Eurozone. It is the 18th country to do so. It's own currency, the Lat, will cease to be legal tender on 15 January 2014. With this step the world not only loses a currency but also the third most valuable banknote: the 500 Lats which is worth around $982. Only the 10,000 Singapore dollar note ($7,908) and 1,000 Swiss franc note ($1,123) are currently worth more. Now the €500 banknote is the world's third most valuable banknote (about $688). 

Latvia will eventually print it's 'own' euro banknotes. This is what the official changeover site has to say on that subject:

To meet Latvia’s needs for euro banknotes, an open competition among the printing works approved by the European Central Bank will be organized  in collaboration with other national central banks. In the first year of euro changeover, we will borrow from other euro area countries.

It's unknown at this moment what the national identification letter (the first character of each note's serial number) will be on the euro notes from Latvia. Right now the letters A, B, C, I, O and Q are available.

Steven Woensdag 01 Januari 2014 at 4:32 pm | | news | Geen reacties
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I wish everybody a happy 2014 and if you're a fellow banknote collector I hope you'll find that one note you've been searching for this year!

Steven Woensdag 01 Januari 2014 at 4:23 pm | | fun | Geen reacties