Friday, 6 November 2009

Who, Where, What & How in the World of Banknotes

Who, Where, What & How in the World of Banknotes

Introduction to Bank Note Collecting
Ways to Collect World Paper Money
World Currency Names
How to Invest and Promote Using Banknotes
Gold vs. Banknotes (Investment Wise)
History of Paper Money (Banknotes)
Recognising Original Banknotes
Handling of Banknotes

Introduction to Bank Note Collecting

Back to Top | Ready to Collect?

Ways to Collect World Paper Money

"Most banknotes are one-of-a-kind collectible pieces of art bearing unique serial numbers..."

There are many ways of assembling a collection
of world banknotes without having to spend a
fortune on it.

You can begin collecting topical bank notes
such as, for example, those featuring famous
people, (scientists, writers, poets, politicians,
teachers etc.), animals, fishes, birds, sailing
ships, boats, cars, trains, planets, poetry,
buildings, dams, rivers, mountains, views of nature
and space, portraits of kings, queens, presidents,
dictators and many many other topics that are
already featured on banknotes of the world issued
all across the globe up to date.

Another way of assembling a meaningful collection is to use historical context as
your main criterion. For example you may decide to focus on collecting pre-WWII
notes only. Or start a collection of World War II era notes such as occupational,
prisoner-of-war, propaganda, emergency, local issues.

Also you may want to limit yourself to collecting paper money of the country you
live in or were born in. You may want to collect all banknotes of a certain continent,
or all notes of a certain group of countries, for example: Middle-East (covers Asia,
Africa and even Europe) or you may choose to collect banknotes of countries that
belong to NATO or countries of Pacific Ocean etc.

A most easiest way to start your collection is to buy a "beginner set" of world
banknotes. That way you start your own collection of world banknotes from a
scratch and at a low cost without spending many days and weeks collecting one
banknote at a time. See
Banknote Sets.

A good way of finding out where your interest may lie is to examine a group of paper
notes (say at my online
currency gallery or at a dealer's shop or at a paper money
show) and see what kind of banknotes attract you most. Are those mainly engraved
notes or notes of French influence or maybe notes with attractive serial numbers or
those with holograms on them? Maybe notes printed on plastic/mylar? Also you
definitely need some literature possibly a Catalogue of Modern World Paper Money
to start with. Please visit my
bookstore to view selection of books that may help
you out in your hobby. Please note that to learn how to
grade paper money is very
important, as important as to learn how to tie your shoelaces.

A very simple way to start your world banknote collection is to buy a
bunch of cheap
notes, say at $1 each, one note from every different country of the world. Inspect
the notes, study the features, enframe your notes. When you are done with your
collection of possibly over 300 notes, then if your budget allows you may want to
start collecting notes that are a little bit more of value, a bit more beautiful as well
as costly. Let's say then you may want to try collecting notes that are worth between
$2 and $10 each and so on.

Did you notice that two banknotes which appear to be similar can have two different
dates or signatures on them? There are notes that look similar, but were printed by
different printers. Surely almost every note has a different serial number.

I will not write a large article here, therefore here are a few more ideas what to start
collecting in the world paper money collecting area. So, you may want to start or
advance your paper money collecting into collecting notes by:

- Topic (birds, nudes, sailing ships, famous people, views, militaria etc.)
- Time period (WWII, 20th century, only notes dated 1999 etc.)
- Country (your native or favourite country)
- City (city that issued the note, that applies to local issues)
- Continent (Africa, Europe, Antarctica etc.)
- Features on a note (holograms, security insertion strips, paper kind)
- Material used (paper, plastic, mylar, cloth etc.)
- Signatures (there are so many varieties)
- Serial numbers (111111 or 000001 or 123321 or specimens 000000 etc.)
- Name of Printer (company or government who printed the note)
- Influence zone (for example: France and (former) colonies)
- Size (collect only large size notes or notes that don't exceed certain size etc.)
- Condition/grade (collect only Uncirculated or only circulated notes etc.)
- Science (collect notes that feature biologists, astronomy, engineering etc.)
- Watermark (type of watermark or a picture on it)
- Type (Counterfeit/Bogus/Forgery notes; Specimen notes; Error or Trial notes....)

Some banknotes become very popular and even scarce or rare as soon as they are
issued. People are ready to stand in lines overnight to get certain banknotes:

Please remember: the stricter your requirements for your collection are, the less
notes you will likely collect in your collection or the more your collection will cost
you, but the more value your collection will have. Also: if you just start collecting
paper money, don't look for investment, just
buy the notes you like and enjoy them.
Later on when you become a more advanced collector you will learn how to buy up
notes that are worth not only because of their beauty, but also because of their
investment value.

Back to Top | Ready to Collect?

World Currency Names: why is a franc called a franc?

Have you ever wonder why different kinds of money are called what they are? Why
is peso called a peso and mark called a mark, for example? Well, the following list
will let you find out a little bittle about what names of some world money mean.


AUKSINAS (Lithuania) - means "golden" or "gulden". Auksinas derives from
lithuanian "
Auksas" which means "gold". Currently "Litas" is used in Lithuania
which has no particular or direct meaning or translation other than similarity with
the name of the country "Lietuva" (Lithuania; Litauen; Lituanie; Lituania).

COLON (Costa Rica, El Salvador) - derives from last name of Christopher Columbus -
Cristobal Colon

DRACHMA (Greece) - means "handful".

ESCUDO (Portugal) - means "shield", referring to the coat of arms on the original

FORINT (Hungary) - comes from the city of Florence, where golden coins were minted
from 1252 called fiorino d'oro. In Hungary, florentinus (later forint), also a gold-based
currency, was used from 1325 under Charles Robert.

FRANC (Frank, Frang) (France, Switzerland, Luxembourg) - first issued in
1360, as a gold coin. Gets its name from its original Latin inscription - Francorum
, which means "King of the Franks", - the title given to kings of France in the

GUILDER (Gulden, Florin) (Netherlands) - from the same root as "gilded", the
guilder was originally a gold coin. It was first introduced from Florence in the
13th century. Florin - another nickname for Guilder means "flowers".

KORUNA (Czechia, Slovakia) - means "crown".

KRONA (Kroner, Kronor) (Iceland, Sweden, Norway etc.) - means "crown".

KUNA (Croatia) - means "marten". Marten skins were used as money.

LIRA (Lire) (Italy, Turkey) - from the Latin word libra, which means "pound".

MALOTI (Kingdom of Lesotho) - Maloti is plural for Loti, currency of Lesotho,
a kingdom in Southern Africa.

PESETA (Spain) - means "little peso", and was created in the 18th century as a
"companion" coin to the Spanish peso.

PESO (Mexico) - means "weight". It was introduced by Spain in 1497, then
adopted by Mexico and other Latin American countries in the late 19th century.

POUND (English) - named for its weight in Sterlings, - the unit of currency in
Medieval England. The first pound coin was issued in 1642.

PULA (Botswana) - Pula means ‘rain’ in Setswana, but "pula pula" does not
mean a lot of rain. It means luck, prosperity, health.

RIYAL (Saudi Arabia) - borrows its name from the Spanish real, meaning "royal".

ROUBLE (Russia, Belarus etc.) - means "cut-off", a term that dates back to the
days when portions of silver bars were literally cut-off from the bars and used as
coins. The rouble was first issued as a silver piece in 1704.

RUPEE (Rupiah) (India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Mauritius etc.) - comes from the
Sanskrit rupa, which means "beauty" or "shape".

TAKA (Bangladesh) - the word "taka" is derived from the Sanskrit "tanka" which was
an ancient denomination of silver coin. Taka currency name was also used in North India.

YEN (Japan) - borrowed from the Chinese yuan, which means "round", and
describes the coin. First issued in 1870.

YUAN (China) - means "round" and describes the coin.

ZLOTY (Poland) - means "golden".

Current and Historical World Currency Names and Countries of Their Origin

Back to Top | Ready to Collect?

How to Invest and Promote Using Banknotes

We think that investing in a good collection of world banknotes (collectible paper and polymer
currency and old obsolete banknotes as well) is more appreciative in a long term than
investing in other commodities such as gold, stocks or even
immovable property.

Invest in World Bank Notes! Investments in collectible currency (banknotes) and collecting
in/of World Banknotes is HOT and skyrocketing! Why investing in banknotes is hot?
Because bank notes (paper and plastic money, current and old currency) have a collectible
value which almost always increases with
time and rarely loses value! Investment in bank
notes is so much safer than investment in stocks, gold or even
real estate!


Thoughts for 2003-2009 - US dollar is weak and getting weaker. We wish it was not. The
best you can do to beat the inflation and to prevent your dollar savings from this terrible
devaluation is to invest in world banknotes! How terrible that can be - US dollar was about 1,15 Euro just six to seven years ago and today it is just nearly 2/3 of a Euro! That's over a 70%
devaluation! That means that your European Vacation got 70% more expensive and every
$1000 of your savings six years ago became only ~$300 this year! Not if you kept your
money invested in banknotes! If you invested $1000 in banknotes (US and World Collectible
Currency Bank Notes, Paper & Plastic Money) in Jan. 2002 when Euro was introduced -
now in 6 years you would have the value of your collection increased by at least 50-70%
instead of losing 60-70% as a "liquid dollar"! By not investing in BANKNOTES you not only
lost 60-70% of your savings, but you also lost another 50% of possible gain totalling in a
(possible) loss of up to 120%! The optimal amount for a middle income person to invest in a
collection of world banknotes would be somewhere in a range between $5000 to $25000 US
or more yearly. Anything significantly less than those figures would probably be considered
as collecting, not as investing.

N.B.: Never underestimate United States' ability to reinvent themselves after a crisis.

Let's now talk about Inflation. Inflation is a general increase in prices that you pay for goods
and services, stated as a yearly rate. If the inflation rate is 5%, it means that prices increase
at a yearly rate of 5% (or more!). For example, the same basket of goods and services that
you can buy today at $1000 will cost you $1050 next year. Inflation cuts into your
purchasing power even further for longer periods. For example, if you have $100000 today
and keep them in your bank account and inflation grows at just 4%, it would be worth
$82193 in five years. After 10 years, it would be worth only $67556. It means you lose over
$32000 in savings in just 10 years! Beat, torture, kill the inflation! Overcome inflation and
win. How? Invest in an advanced world
banknote collection. The better the collection the
more value it holds. The more you will win in the future, the less you will lose in savings as
the last resort.

How much money should you invest you would probably like to ask us. There is no amount
to small or to big. The more you spend on your banknote collection, usually the more you
should expect out of it in the
future. Go for at least 5-7 year investment goal, possibly a
longer term (10-30 years). If you spend $500 on your collection, don't just stop there. You
can spend as much as most of your savings on banknotes. Best is to buy one (1) to ten (10)
of each identical banknote so you have extra pieces for trade, sell off or investment. Be
prepared to protect your collection well. Purchase
holders, albums, safelock boxes or even
large fireproof gun safe(s). The more money you spend on your collection and the better you
protect it from the outside elements, the more you should expect to gain from your banknote
collection. And don't just invest. Buy for visual pleasure and educational purpose as well.

China, India, Central and Eastern Europe and many other emerging economies are growing
at an "alarming" rate. Number of banknote collectors in those countries is increasing at a
lightning speed. At the same
time a supply of old and older banknotes is drying up, their
value is skyrocketing. Even the current currency notes are sometimes in short supply. All
this "bank note hot rush" creates excellent soil for banknote investing.

Some banknotes (has) become rarities (scarcities) virtually "overnight". All of a sudden the
"right Moon phase" comes and suddenly everyone is demanding pretty much the same
banknote(s). Every dealer, supplier and a retailer is sold out of it. The note becomes scarcity
or a rarity in just a few short months or even weeks. That can happen to any banknote in
your collection. Just make as much intelligent research as you can and try to guesstimate
which notes of yours have a potential to become hard to find, scarce or even rare in just a
short period of time.

If you are from a country outside USA now it is a very good
time to buy banknotes from us
since we sell for US dollars and we do not adjust our prices for inflation (we may do so if US
dollar keeps falling!), so it is the right
time for you to start spending your Euros, AU$, NZ$,
Yen etc. as we think US dollar is at or near its weakest point. More value to your Euros,
Pesos, Yen, Francs etc.! Today your home currency can buy a whopping 50% more in US$
goods than a couple years ago! I personally spent all of my Euros savings buying banknotes.
collectible banknotes today and your home currency can buy 50% more than 3-4 years
ago! Plus add the appreciation in value of your banknote collection and in some cases you
can gain as much as 100% in a short period of time! Don't stop investing in
real property,
gold or stocks, no. Just spend some of your money on banknotes and see how it goes in
5, 10, 20 years. And don't forget to get out of

Why banknotes are the most popular investment today:

Let's talk Real Estate /
Immovable Property verses Bank Notes / Collectible Currency Notes
- you can invest in real property only if you have substantial amounts of money. Real estate
investment is not for everyone. Real property and Banknote investment is one of the most
enjoyable investments. You can see, touch, feel the look, the art and the feel of both real
property and bank notes. To invest in bank notes you don't have to spend many hundreds of
thousands or even millions of Euros or Dollars, Yens or Reals. You can start with as little as
$30 or less purchasing a
beginner set.

Talking Gold vs. Banknotes: everyone agrees gold is beautiful, so are banknotes. Gold is
basically indestructable, banknotes can be burned, you must protect them well. Gold is
faceless, unless you own an art collection made of gold. Banknotes do have "face". In fact
not just one face, many faces, and not only faces. Banknotes are art, banknotes are
education, banknotes are history. Finally, - banknotes are money and some of them can
be spent without even getting their value appraised.

Don't wait any longer. Buy as many banknotes as you can afford,

How To Lose Weight by Collecting World Bank Notes

Rule # 1: replace sodium, trans fats, saturated fats and partially hydrogenated oils in
your food with vegetables, minerals and supplements. Replace Coke and other sweet
and sweat drinks with water. Enjoy water. You will lose weight if you excercise enough.
Eat less. That helps lose weight and it is a proven fact that less calories equals longer life.
Once you lose weight, you will feel better and will live longer. Once you live longer you
will have extra time and money for your hobby.
Collect banknotes. Pursuing a good
collection of world banknotes, drinking enough water, eating right and excercising lowers
your blood pressure, adds years to your life.

Time is Money, but Money is Timeless!

Time is Money... Money is Time(less). Take a look at a bank note that you hold in your
hand or in your currency album. Does it (do you think the banknote in your album has a
gender; is a he or a she or an it? It's up to you to decide)
have a date on it? Most
banknotes do have a date on them. It's a date (usually) indicating when that certain bank
note was approved, printed or issued for a circulation in a particular country and world wide.
To you, to a collector the date on each bank note could mean a certain period in
sometimes a New Era is marked by that date. The date could be important just to you, an
important life event, your or your loved one's birthday, perhaps? Hunt that date down! That
can be quite a challenge, can't it?

What's the best way to preserve wealth?

What will the collapse in the value of the dollar mean for the US? It's mainly bad news in
an increasingly desperate attempt to maintain the illusion of prosperity, but some popular
investments - such as
banknotes, gold and silver - will thrive. Still your best investment is
your and your loved ones' health - don't forget to take care of your own self, and your world
bank note collection will be there for you.

U.S. Americans buying Gold? Think again, buy Banknotes instead

Would you consider taking a risk and buying gold (again)? Think twice, read the below
extract from the article and try collecting or investing to (or both) banknotes instead.

"For hundreds of years, much of the world had a single currency: gold. Gold was used as
currency and to settle debts between nations. Paper currencies originated as warehouse
certificates for gold and its cousin, silver.

However, that all changed in 1933, when President Roosevelt ordered all U.S. citizens to
turn in their gold and silver to the government, under threat of a $100,000 fine and ten years
in prison. In effect, Roosevelt seized all of the gold in America (except for rare coins, which
were exempted), and for the next 41 years it was a crime for private citizens to own gold."


Don't Overspend On Goods At Supermarkets - Invest, Collect Bank Notes Instead

Have you ever bought something at a local supermarket or at a mall and thought to yourself:
"This isn't really necessary, but I wanna try it". Trying is legal. Overeating and overspending
is evil, unnecessary. Don't overeat or overspend. Be responsible. Every
time you go to the
store, stop yourself and think: "Is it really necessary for me and/or my family to have this
or to eat this? Do I need two of these, or will we be okay with just one?"
Look at the food
labels as well. Usually foods that contain saturated fat, trans fats and were prepared by
using (partially) hydrogenated oils are unhealthy and can cause disease and even death
in the long run. Those kind of products can shorten your life as the least. If you follow this
advise look how much money and health it saves you. Well, what are you going to do with all
that saved money? Put into savings, let the inflation consume it? Or you could begin collecting world banknotes (paper and plastic currency) which will bring you much joy and a potentially great investment as well.

Collecting just about anything normalizes your blood pressure, makes you more happy.
Becoming and staying happy makes you resistant to some diseases. Don't overeat -
Collect World Banknotes!

So... are Banknotes to you "Art & Collectibles" or just ... "Spendibles"?

Back to Top | Ready to Collect?

Gold vs. Banknotes

Gold is a great investment today, but it's almost too late to invest in gold in 2008, because
the gold has gone up in price so much it nearly hit the ceiling. Gold is great, but it's boring.
Would you rather look at a piece of gold or at a piece of art? Gold can be dug up in a gold
mine, but a bank note is issued and printed in a limited quantity usually by a governmental
entity and it can't be multiplied or dug up more and more. You can't find banknotes on other
planets either. Banknote is harder to preserve intact than gold, therefore scarcity of a
banknote increases faster than gold's. Governments shred, burn and destroy entire prints of
some or most of banknotes making them scarce or rare overnight. Banknotes are light and
easy to handle; gold is heavy, although you can melt gold and make jewellery and other
things from gold; coins for instance. (Most) Banknotes bear serial numbers which makes
them even more unique and attractive not only as an investment, but as collectibles as well.
The scarcity factor, the beauty factor, the educational factor - that's where Banknote wins
versus Gold. What wins you over? Perhaps both? Try diversifying into both: banknotes and
gold. Those two are still more affordable than
immovable property today.

Back to Top | Ready to Invest?

History of Paper Money

The Chinese were the first to invent paper around 100 AD. They were also the first to invent paper money, which in its early form can be traced back to the 7th century.

In the year 812, the Chinese Emperor used it as a temporary solution because
of the copper shortage. This money was called "flying money". It was so popular that by the year 970 it dominated as a monetary unit.

These first bank notes carried a guarantee that it could be traded at any time for coinage. The name of this bank note was "cash".

The oldest existing bank note is the 1000 cash note of the Ming dynasty from the era of the Great War 1368-1398. It is 225 x 340 mm with a pile of coins centrally depicted . The picture was to show people who couldn't read that they could trade the bill in for the depicted number of coins.

When Marco Polo came back from his travels in China (1275-1292), people in
Europe didn't believe that the Chinese used paper for money. Paper money in
Europe came 300 years later. The use of paper money in China stopped in 1455.

The history of paper money in Europe is interesting. It started as emergency
money sustituting for regular money. The first emergency paper bills are from
1483. The first bank notes were printed in the 17th century.

The first European banknotes were printed in Sweden.

In 1644 copper plate money was minted, but besides being very heavy it was quickly devalued because of the 30 Years War (1618-1648).

Therefore, Johan Palmstruch, who in 1657 founded the Stockholms Banco, suggested as a new monetary unit - a temporary "Kreditivsedlar" (credit paper). He printed the first banknotes in 1661.

Unfortunately for Johan Palmstruch, all this came to a bitter end. The bank very quickly got into trouble for printing too many bank notes. Palmstruch was taken to court and was made accountable for damages and was sentenced to prison. Not many Stockholms Banco-Notes remain today and are a rare collectors item.

A battle had raged for decades between the King and the merchants, for control over England's money system. The arrival of William III of Orange in 1688 with his "glorious revolution" heavily financed by merchants tipped the scales in favour for the often spoken wish for an independant credit institute.

Following the suggestion by William Patterson, the Bank of England was founded in 1694. The Bank of England printed "Goldsmithnotes" as promissory notes from English gold smiths for account deposits. The clause "(I) promise to pay the bearer on demand the sum of (...) pounds" (i.e. in gold) originally meant that they could be exchanged for gold, although in practice this was not always possible.

The state received a loan in exchange for the right to print banknotes. In time the Bank of England developed into the most influential bank of issue bank in the world.

One year after the founding of the Bank of England, the Bank of Scotland was initiated. It held the bank note monopoly for Scotland until 1717. Also in Norway, which at the time was a Danish province, in1695 the businessman Thør Møhlen, circulated banknotes (without interest) with the approval of the government. The notes had 5 wax seals. Unfortunately the population didn't find them acceptable and brought them immediately to the bank to cash them in. As a result, Thør Møhlen came into financial difficulty.

It wasn't until 1713 that Denmark began circulating paper money during the war with Northern Ireland. It was also served as a form of emergency coinage and emergency

France also began printing paper money in the year 1703 under Louis XIV. Because of uncertainties connected with paper money, other states waited until the late 19th

One problem with paper money was the paper itself. Several companies experimented with the processing of special paper in the 18th and 19th century.

Information (History of P. M.) from

Back to Top | Ready to Collect?

Recognising Original Banknotes

Recognising Original Banknotes

One of the first steps to proper grading is to recognise the features of an original banknote.

This will allow you to draw certain conclusions regarding the condition. In order to recognize
the features of an original banknote it is necessary to have a general understanding of the
printing processes and the features used in producing banknotes. There are many different
types of printing processes and books have been written on these topics but for the
layperson who is simply interested in acquiring general knowledge, we have drawn some
generalizations to help in this understanding.

Printing Process

The earliest printing process, the woodcut, is produced by cutting away the unwanted part

of a piece of wood. The design that is left in relief is inked up with a roller and transferred to
paper. The design is drawn directly on the wood which is cut plankwise or along the length
of the grain or tree trunk. Cut this way, however, the wood has a tendency to splinter.
Artists discovered that they could avoid the problem by cutting on the end grain of hardwood
blocks, a process called wood engraving. By using a burin, the wood engraver could produce
a wider range of tones than were possible with a woodcut. This process was used on a few
types of early style currency and in certain "emergency" cases where this was the only type
of printing process available.


Lithography was the first fundamentally new printing technology since the invention of relief

printing in the fifteenth century. It is a mechanical planographic process in which the printing
and non-printing areas of the plate are all at the same level, as opposed to intaglio and relief
processes in which the design is cut into the printing block. Lithography is based on the
chemical repellence of oil and water. Designs are done with greasy ink or wax based tools
on specially prepared stones or plates. They are then is moistened with a liquid, which the
plate accepts in areas not covered by the wax. An oily ink, applied with a roller, adheres
only to the drawing and is repelled by the wet parts of the plate. The print is then made by
pressing paper against the inked drawing. Lithography was invented by Alois Senefelder in
Germany in 1798 and, within twenty years, appeared in England and the United States.
Almost immediately, attempts were made to print in colour. Multiple plates were used, one
for each colour, and the print went through the press as many times as there were plates.
The problem for the printers was keeping the image in register, making sure that the print
would be lined up exactly each time it went through the press so that each color would be
in the correct position and the overlaying colors would merge correctly.


The process of intaglio printing was and still is the most popular form used by banknote

printing companies. It is an extremely time intensive process and requires the combined
handiwork of highly skilled artists, steel engravers, and plate printers. Engraved printing
plates are covered with ink and then the surface of each plate is wiped clean which allows
the ink to remain in the "valleys" of the design and letter grooves of the plates. Each sheet
is then forced, under extremely heavy pressure, into the finely recessed lines of the printing
plate to pick up the ink. The printing impression is three-dimensional in effect creating
"mountains of ink" on the banknotes. The height of these "mountains" depends upon the
depth of the grooves that the engravers made on the plates, the quantity and type of ink
used, and the pressure applied to force the paper into the plates. The surface of the note
feels slightly raised, while the reverse side feels slightly indented. This process is called
intaglio printing.

Definition of Original Raised Ink

An original banknote printed using the Intaglio process noted above will have definition of

detail discernable by touch. There will be height to the ink. Different parts of the banknote
will feel more raised up than others due to the fact that the engravers would engrave the
plates at differing depths for different features of the banknote. As time goes by and the
banknote gets circulated more and more, the height of the ink is slowly worn down until the
note finally ends up looking "flat" and loses it's bright colours. If a banknote is washed or
pressed, the "mountains" become flattened and loss of definition is noticeable. A true
original high grade banknote will retain some or all of this original definition.


Counterfeiting banknotes pervades the entire history of paper money. Tools to aid in the

battle against counterfeiting were and remain the finesse and complexity of design and
printing techniques. Coupled with special papers and security features, banknote printing
companies and issuing authorities ensure that their paper money would be very difficult to

The avid collector will encounter forged notes from time to time that even the untrained eye

can detect. There are however examples in history whereby a sovereign nation or country
has produced so-called "perfect" counterfeits of an enemy country. These were normally
created and secretly sent into circulation in order to create inflation with the ultimate goal
being to bring about the economic instability of the adversary. To the collector, identifying
these counterfeits requires great experience.

With modern computers and printers, it has become easier for unscrupulous individuals to

reproduce certain lithographed banknotes that were originally issued without many security
features. As an example, the uni-face 1940 KGVI fractional issues from Mauritius lack
virtually any security features and even the original printing was quite poor in quality.
Original banknotes in Uncirculated condition fetch considerable sums. The combination of
the above factors has resulted in the modern forgery of these banknotes. To all but the
expert eye, they are virtually undetectable.

Security Features

Numerous security features have been used throughout the course of history. Modern

security features are extremely elaborate and utilize certain older techniques coupled with
techniques developed through fantastic technological advances.

Paper Quality

The quality of banknote paper is one of the characteristic features that distinguish a genuine

banknote from a forgery.

Engraving techniques

The process of engraving requires expertise and long hours to produce designs deterring all

but the very devoted forger.

Watermarked paper

Watermarking is the addition of a design or portrait put onto the paper using a special

technique. The image is visible only when the paper is held against the light.


Serial numbers are printed horizontally and vertically with assymetrical fonts and different

colours to make them more difficult to counterfeit. They are also printed with special inks
which penetrates the paper. As a result, the trace of the numbers can still be seen under
ultra-violet light if the numbers were to be tampered with.

Latent Image

This security feature is based on the optical effect produced by light when introduced to

special arrangement of plastic lines printed by intaglio technique. The picture becomes
visible only when the note is held at the eye level in a horizontal position against a source
of light.


Part of the background of banknotes contains micro-lettering which can be viewed under a

magnifying glass.

Signatures and Dates

Combinations of different signatures and dates creates other variables adding to security.

See-through Features

Visible from both sides of the note, they are readily identifiable see through window features

even under low light conditions. This security feature is currently only being used on
Polymer notes.

Security Strip

A security thread is clearly visible when the banknote is held against the light. The thread

is incorporated into the paper across the full width of the banknote and sometimes contains
the microtext. A security thread may be metallic.

OVD - Optically Varying Device

Clearly visible optical shifts are generated when the note is tilted to the light.

Use of Polymer (plastic) for Banknotes

Becoming more popular due to the difficulty of forging as well as the superb strength and

lifespan of the polymer notes.

Synthetic Fibers (threads) in the Paper

Usually visible colour threads added to the paper. More recently, fluorescent fibres in red,

blue and green embedded in the banknote paper, only visible under ultraviolet light.

Shadow Image

A contrasted image appears when the banknote is held up to the light.

Invisible Fluorescent Printing

Invisible under normal conditions, elements of the design will fluoresce when seen under

ultra-violet light.

Anti-Scanner/Copier Patterns

A coloured foil design is hot-stamped onto the paper and is over-printed in using a

lithographic technique. When photocopying is used to reproduce the note, a black spot
appears in place of the foil.

Back to Top | Ready to Collect?

Handling of Banknotes

Handling Banknotes
Most banknotes you will handle will be made of some sort of paper. Although a number of countries nowadays are adopting a polymer substrate (type of plastic), the vast majority of banknotes available to the collector will be made of paper in one form or another.

Clean hands are essential to prevent undue oils and dirt transferring to the paper.
Ensure that there are no fans or breezes nearby which may blow the banknote from your hands. There should be no food or beverage in the nearby vicinity. There have been many cases of someone removing a banknote from a
holder and then a third party ends up accidentally spilling something which stains the banknote. This is of particular concern at busy show bourses where the normal hustle and bustle of patrons may create this scenario. Removing the banknote from its holder or sleeve should be done with care. Once out of the holders, simply treat the banknote with care however not so gingerly so as to drop it. Lightly feeling the surface of the note can tell you a number of things.

Once you are finished handling the banknote, place it back into its
holder. This should be done with the utmost care as this is when most banknotes become torn or creased. If you are viewing a dealer's banknote and are having any type of trouble getting it back into the holder, it is always better to hand the banknote and the holder back to the dealer and allow them to complete the task.

By virtue of its nature, a piece of paper money has a limited life expectancy, which is directly proportional to the amount of handling it receives.

From Printer to Bank to Wallet or Your Collection

The handling of a banknote used to begin at the printers with a manual counting of the sheets both prior to printing and then again prior to cutting. This is now done mechanically with little to no evidence of handling.

In the very early years of banknotes, the actual cutting was done by hand which is noticeable by varying margin sizes of many countries banknotes.

After cutting, the banknotes were recounted, stacked and bundled. Bundling was accomplished by a variety of different methods and often created marks on the edges of the banknotes in the bundles (or bricks) as well as the banknotes on the top and bottom of the stacks.

The bundles are then stacked and either stored or shipped to the appropriate issuing authority. Storage was not always done in climate-controlled environments and in certain countries the effects of the natural environment are noticeable on the banknotes. This is particularly noticeable in banknotes from countries with a tropical climate. While in storage vaults, banknotes were often counted regularly for auditing purposes. They were normally kept in their respective bundles and often only random bundles were counted, however in the case of certain issuing authorities all bundles were regularly counted which created "counting creases" on these banknotes. If a banknote made it this far without traces of handling, these counting creases were often the first visible signs of handling manifested.

Upon requisition by a bank or bank teller, the banknotes would be further counted, usually more than once, before being released to the general public. Certain countries issued banknotes that were quite large which necessitated folding by the tellers in order to fit them into their boxes or drawers. Even if a teller did not need to fold the notes, it was certainly a necessity for a customer to fold the banknote to fit it into their wallet or purse. Banknotes from these countries are extremely difficult to find without varying degrees of folds in even the cleanest, crispest banknotes put away during that time.

Modern equipment and machinery has created a process whereby a banknote may now remain virtually untouched and pristine until the moment a bank teller hands the banknote to a customer.

The above steps relay the difficulties that collectors of old notes /
times had in
obtaining truly UNC notes. Many other factors, unrelated to grade, created
additional obstacles for the early paper money enthusiast including economic
factors, the relative unpopularity of collecting paper money in those days, the
stigma attached to paper money in relation to precious metals with intrinsic value,
not to mention the fact that paper money was almost always worth more than
coins and very few individuals could actually afford to "save" a piece of paper money.

When we die, our bodies turn into soil, which feeds trees, and when paper is made
from those trees some of that paper goes to produce paper money (bank notes),
banknotes you collect. Therefore please respect each other and let's respect the
bank notes we collect and take a good care of them.
Banknotes Are Us.

Pelaporan Kegiatan Lalu Lintas Devisa Oleh Bank No. 2-28-DSM Tgl 21 Desember 2000

Lampiran SE.BI No. 2/28/DSM tgl 21 Desember 2000


Search results


Bookmark and Share

Facebook Comment

Info Archive

Sultan Sepuh XIV Pangeran Raja Arief Natadiningrat :

"Kami berharap, negara ini tidak melupakan sejarah. Dulu sebelum kemerdekaan Bung Karno meminta dukungan keraton untuk bisa membuat NKRI terwujud, karena saat itu tak ada dana untuk mendirikan negara. Saat itu keraton-keraton menyerahkan harta yang mereka punya untuk kemerdekaan negara ini,"