Friday, January 30, 2009

World Polymer Banknotes 2nd Edition


This is the 2nd edition of World Polymer Banknotes inherited from its 1st edition which was published in year 2005. The 2nd edition was published in June 2007, two years after its first publication by Eureka Metro Sdn Bhd. Updated from its previous edition, this guide book has provided information of polymer banknotes that covers 27 countries with the illustration of more than 200 high quality images with over 200 full color pages.

This is definitely a comprehensive guide book for polymer banknote collectors. It has equipped with useful information such as date of issuance, background or history of the banknote, the description of the banknote, its printer and size of the banknote. It also comes with a price guide for collectors reference.

Another interesting feature of this guide book is that it has received a runner-up award of The Best Public Education Program Category of the International Association of Currency Affairs during the Currency Conference in Bangkok in year 2007. Of course, it is truly an appreciation to three authors of this guide book Mr. Peter Eu, Mr. Ben Chew and Mr. Stane Straus.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Malaya Banknote - 20 Cents 1941 & 1942 King George VI

The Board of Commissioners of Currency Malaya issued several types of Malayan currency from 1940 to 1942. A complete set of notes with the denomination of 1 cent, 5 cents, 10 cents, 20 cents, 50 cents, 1 dollar, 5 dollars, 10 dollars, 50 dollars, 100 dollars, 1000 dollars and 10000 dollars were issued in 1941 and 1942.

Among these currency, those with denomination lower than 50 cents were printed without serial number. Despite these lower denomination notes were printed with same printer i.e. Thomas De La Rue, several variety observed in this series of note.

The 20 cents King George VI note has two different varieties namely variety "a" and variety "b". These two variety notes could only be observed if you take a closer look at the Jawi scripts printed in the bottom left of the note. Noted that the variety "b" has two additional dots compare to variety "a" as highlighted in red below.


20 Cents 1941 & 1942 King George VI variety "a"

20 Cents 1941 & 1942 King George VI variety "b"

Besides 20 cents note, other variety of notes also discovered in 5 cents, 10 cents and 50 cents of this series. These varieties are not limited to the Jawi scripts, they appeared in King's uniform too. Of course, the value of these notes are different and they are very much depending on their scarcity in the market.

Sawarak Banknote Issued in 1919

This is a unique piece and extremely rare of $1 Sawarak banknote issued by Sawarak Government Treasury on 1 July 1919. It was printed in uniface with the portrait of Charles Vyner Brooke by Perkins, Bacon & Co. Ltd London. Charles Vyner Brooke was the third White Rajah of Sarawak.

The 1 Dollar Sarawak note issued in 1919 with the portrait of Charles Vyner Brooke

This series of note consists of three denominations namely 1, 5 and 10 Dollars. All these notes were signed by various hand signatures and the serial numbers were printed in red. Indeed, these notes were inherited from its previous series which feature the portrait of Charles Johnson Brooke between 1894 and 1917.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Sungei Buloh Leprosarium Settlement Banknote

As we all know, most of Malaysian Banknotes were issued by the British Government prior to independence and the role of issuance currency has been taken over by Bank Negara Malaysia in 1967 with the issuance of 1st Series of Malaysian Banknote. However, Do you aware that there were settlement notes issued for Sungei Buloh Settlement?

Indeed, the Sungei Buloh Settlement notes were issued in denomination of 5 Cents, 10 Cents and 1 Dollar in 1935 and 1936. They were to be used within Sungei Buloh Settlement as Sungei Buloh was a leprosarium back then. These notes were printed by the Survey Department, Federated Malay States.

The obverse of 5 Cents Sungei Buloh Settlement issued in 1936

The obverse of 10 Cents Sungei Buloh Settlement issued in 1936

The obverse of the $1 Sungei Buloh Settlement note valid for goods worth within the Sungei Buloh Settlement only

Sungei Buloh was established by British government in 1930 as a one of the largest and most modern leprosarium in British Commonwealth. It also became a treatment and research center for the disease. It was also known as one of the designated area to establish the self-contained community for patients whom could live humane surroundings while under medical supervision.




Layout of Sungei Buloh Settlement in 1932. Photo from International Leprosy Association

Today, Sungai Buloh has became one of the fastest growing town in Klang Velley. Obviously, one of these rapid changes is that the residents of Sungai Buloh no longer use this Sungai Buloh Settlement note within their community to buy goods. However, these notes now have became the goods of many collectors.

Malaya Banknote - King George VI 1940 & 1941

The Board of Commissioners of Currency Malaya had issued two different notes of $1 and $5 (same design but different color) in 1940 and 1941. The $1 and $5 of 1940 issuance notes were printed in green and blue colors respectively. However, the $1 and $5 of 1941 issuance reversed the color of the its original design which made the blue color to $1 and green color to $5 instead. What would the British did that?

Indeed the British intentionally reversed the color of these two notes because it was believed that the German force had capture the shipload of $1 and $5 printed in 1940 during the war in Europe. Other source mentioned that an English merchant fleet carrying the shipment of the Malayan currency notes of $1 (green) and $5 (blue) issued in 1940 was sunk during the World War II. The immediate response from the British back then was to declare obsolete to these two denominations of currency. These notes are not for legal tender and circulation by the British Government.

It was until 1941, the new notes of $1 and $5 printed in reserve color of its original design was then re-introduced and widely circulated in the peninsular. Therefore, many of the Malayan notes we seen today are printed on 1 July 1941. Those Malayan notes printed on 1 January 1940 were relative rare and have higher collection values.


The original issuance of Malayan $1 note in 1940 was printed in green color

The revised issuance of the Malaya $1 in 1941 adopted the blue color

Sunday, January 4, 2009

3rd Series - RM10 with Shadow on Portrait

It was highlighted by one of the collectors . The 3rd Series of RM10 has a shadow printed on Yang Di-Pertuan Agong's portrait. Interestingly, I check across all other denomination notes within the same series, none of them has this "obvious" shadow as printed in RM10 note (take a piece of RM10 note and have a closer look). Could it be the over-printed color that unintentionally spilled over during the printing process? Or could it be a feature that created purposely? Nevertheless, this is not an error note and many of us even not aware of this over-printed color issue.

An over-printed color or shadow on RM10 note

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Portrait of Queen Elizabeth II

Malaysia was under the colonial of British prior to its independence on 31 August 1957. One of the Malaysian banknotes issued prior to 1957 was of the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II and it was depicted on the Malaya and British Borneo currency issued in 1953 by the Board of Commissioners of Currency Malaya and British Borneo. These notes was circulated and used in Malaya, Singapore, Brunei, Sarawak and North Borneo.

$1 currency issued by Board of Commissioners of Currency Malaya and British Borneo on 21 March 1953.

Besides Malaya and North Borneo, there are total of 33 countries have had featured the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II in their currency prior to their independence. Among these countries are Australia, Bahamas, Belize, Bermuda, British Caribbean Territories, British Honduras, Canada, Cayman Islands, Ceylon, Cyprus, East African Currency Board, East Caribbean States, Falkland Islands, Fiji, Gibraltar, Great Britain, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Jersey, Malta, New Zealand, Rhodesia, Scotland, Solomon Islands, Trinidad and Tobago, Hong Kong, Jamaica, Mauritius, Rhodesia and Nyasaland, Saint Helena, Seychelles and Southern Rhodesia.


$1 Currency issued by Government of Hong Kong on 1 July 1955

1 Pound currency issued by Government of Fiji on 1 December 1961


Queen Elizabeth II was born on 21 April 1926 in London, England. She is the Queen of Britain and Northern Island and Head of 15 States of 15 other Commonwealth countries. She is also the Head of the Commonwealth and Supreme Governor of the Church of England. She was proclaimed as Queen of Great Britain on 6 February 1952 after the death of her father, King George VI.

To many collectors, the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II sounds extremely familiar to them. For those whom have yet to have any Queen Elizabeth II portrait banknotes, I think you are still long way to be classified as a banknote collector. You should have at least one piece of Queen Elizabeth II portrait banknote in your collection throughout your collection life if you want to be a genuine collector.