|Who, Where, What & How
in the World of Banknotes
| Introduction to
Bank Note Collecting
| Ways to Collect
World Paper Money
| World Currency
| How to Invest and
Promote Using Banknotes
| Gold vs. Banknotes
| History of Paper
| Handling of
Bank Note Collecting
say when one collects something it's a sign of
Most of us use banknotes every day without a
second thought, but how often do you look at the
contents of your wallet closely, using a
magnifying glass or a more complex device? After
a close inspection of a banknote, seeing all the
richness of information a currency banknote
provides, many people become interested in
becoming banknote collectors.
Collecting world paper money let's you travel all
around the globe without leaving comforts of your
home. When you collect world paper money you
explore different cultures, places, countries and
continents, get to know many famous people, learn
about nature, animals, birds, rivers and lakes
that are plentiful in seven continents of our
Earth. Collecting world paper money teaches you arts,
geography, history, foreign languages even
politics. Once you assemble, diversify and
maintain your world currency banknote collection,
you kind of become a stockholder of the entire
banknotes strengthens world currencies, helping
world economies and cultures to prosper.
paper money collecting is an exciting hobby which
many thousands of people all over the world enjoy
so much. If you are new to this beautiful hobby
of collecting truly fantastic, magical
collectibles ever collected in the world from all
the mysterious countries and places on our Planet
Earth, I hope this web site will provide everyone
with amazingly beautiful images and all kinds of
interesting, most intelligent and useful
information on many thousands of magical,
enigmatic and truly marvellous banknotes from all
over the world and will teach you how to collect,
what to collect and how to enjoy it.
People started systematically collecting paper and plastic bank
notes quite recently. Although collecting of
paper money was going on for a long time, but
that was done only on a very small scale. Only in
late 1950's paper money collecting became more of
a global phenomenon. By 1920's paper money began
to be issued by significantly more countries
around the world and in early 1960's practically
the whole world was using paper money for buy or
sell transactions between people, businesses etc.
As a result more and more people started
collecting paper money as beautiful collectible
items, for an investment or both. These days
collecting world notes is growing very strong and
very fast. There are millions of paper money
collectors all over the world and every year new
ones join in. Knowledge abounds with a multitude
of general and specialised catalogues covering
notes of all modern and no longer existing
countries. Prices and value of collectible paper
money grows steadily and better notes now bring
much higher prices than before making an idea
of investing in banknotes as well as collecting
Various countries of the world have their own
words for "paper money". These are
translations of words "banknotes" and
"paper money" into some world
French: Billets, Papier Monnaie;
German: Banknoten, Papier Geld;
Italian: Cartamoneta, Banconota;
Japanese: Shihei, Okane;
Lithuanian: Banknotai, Popieriniai Pinigai;
Russian: Banknoty, Bumazhniye Deñgi;
Spanish: Notas de Banco, Papel Moneda.
Click here to view the list of
countries of the world, both modern and those
which do not exist anymore and even those which
have reunited or have split apart.
There are other uses for paper money, usually
called banknotes, other than spending,
collecting or investing. One of those uses is to
create paper money art.
Banknotes are meant to
be collected, not just spent... Designing,
issuing and collecting world banknotes
world currencies, helping world economies and
cultures to prosper.
art, human activities, customs, history,
education, folklore, architecture,
are elements of
a spirit, vibe, energy, soul, the feel, the aura,
ambience, genius loci, the atmosphere of a place.
The more of it all is there, the stronger the
spirit of the place becomes. And the younger a
person is, the easier they detect and absorb all
the good information into themselves.
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|Ways to Collect World Paper
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
|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
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.
The 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 $1 and $10 each and
Always try to buy two of each identical
banknotes, so you can always replace a damaged
one, enframe it or use the second one to trade
with other collectors.
Did you notice that two banknotes which appear to
be similar can have two or more 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
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
- 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
- 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
- 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. Most world banknotes are burned by their governments to get rid of old obsolete
paper money and thus making many remaining
banknotes scarce or even rare.
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
Afterall, collecting banknotes may bring you
happiness and good luck.
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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.
- is a name for a silver dollar.
AUKSINAS (Lithuania) - means "golden"
or "gulden". Auksinas derives from the
Lithuanian word "Auksas" which means
Rica, El Salvador) - derives from last name of
Christopher Columbus - Cristobal Colon.
DRACHMA (Greece) -
"shield", referring to the coat of arms
on the original coin.
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
Rex, which means "King of the
Franks", - the title given to kings of
France in the 1300s.
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".
Slovakia) - means "crown".
KRONA (Kroner, Kronor) (Iceland, Sweden, Norway
etc.) - means "crown".
KUNA (Croatia) -
"marten". Marten skins were used as
KWANZA - derives from Cuanza,
the largest river in Angola.
LIRA (Lire) (Italy,
Turkey) - from the Latin word libra, which means
MALOTI (Kingdom of
Maloti is plural for Loti, currency of Lesotho,
a kingdom in Southern Africa.
PESETA (Spain) -
"little peso", and was created in the
18th century as a "companion" coin to
the Spanish peso.
PESO (Mexico) -
"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.
Arabia) - borrows its name from the Spanish real, meaning
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". Another
version of the story behind the name rupee
is that it derives it's meaning from Sanskrit words
rupyakam, where raupya means
"silver" and rupyakam means
"coin made of silver".
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.
TENGE (Kazakhstan) - means
"a set of scales".
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) -
Historical World Currency Names and Countries of
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|How to Invest and Promote
|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. Have you ever thought
about buying an extra house or a parcel of land
just for investment purpose? STOP & THINK.
How about those high property taxes that you will
get charged every year? Home insurance anyone?
Severe damage done by renters? Can you take your
home with you when you move? By investing in a
collection of world banknotes you can avoid all
those costs and troubles.
Invest in World Banknotes. Investments in
collectible currency (banknotes) and collecting
in/of world banknotes is HOT and has been going
on for decades. Why investing in banknotes is
hot? Because banknotes (paper and plastic money,
current and old currency) have a collectible
value which a lot of times increases with time.
Investment in banknotes is probably safer than
investment in stocks, gold or even in real estate.
Thoughts for 2019-2020 - USD, GBP, EUR are more
or less stabilized yet inflation is in full
swing. The best you can do to beat the inflation
and to prevent your savings from this painful
devaluation is to invest in world banknotes. Your
foreign vacation became so much more expensive
now and every 1000 of your savings just years ago
became so much smaller this year. Not if you kept
your money invested in a carefully selected
collection of banknotes. By not investing in
collectible banknotes you not only lose big
percentage of your savings, but you also lose
more of possible gain totalling in a (possible)
loss of up to 150% or more. 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 an
equivalent in another hard currency unit) or more
yearly. Anything significantly less than those
figures would probably be considered as
N.B.: Never underestimate your country's
economy's ability to reinvent itself after a
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! 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 too
small or too big. The more you spend on your
banknote collection, usually the more you should
expect to gain from it in the future. Go for at
least a 15 year investment goal, possibly a
longer term (20-30 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 of collecting and for an 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
Some banknotes (have) 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.
Why banknotes are the most popular investment
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
Since there seems to be no gold left at the Federal
it makes sense to buy as many of a variety of
collectible banknotes (currency) as one can. Gold
seems to have such an insignificant value,
despite the market speculation in gold, that even
the United States Federal Reserve Bank got rid of
it, as it seems.
Don't wait any longer. Collect as many variety of
banknotes as you can afford, now.
How To Lose Weight by Collecting World
Rule # 1: Replace sodium, trans fats, saturated
fats and partially hydrogenated oils in your food
with vegetables, minerals and supplements.
Replace sweet and sweat drinks with spring 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, looking up into the sky more
often 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
time, 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?
Are banknotes to you art and collectibles or
What would 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
usually pay off. 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 to enjoy. Collecting just about anything
normalizes your blood pressure, makes you more
happy. Becoming and staying happy makes
you resistant to some types of diseases. Eat with
moderation - Collect World Banknotes.
Notice: The above article is a mere opinion and
not any kind of financial advise.
North 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
Some people think that Gold is Money, but it
seems that it is not.
"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."
Human activity creates soul of a place.
Financial activity creates an economy.
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|Gold vs. Banknotes
||Gold is said to be a
great investment today, but it's almost
too late to invest in gold in 2018+,
because the gold has gone up in price so
much it nearly hit the ceiling. Gold is
thought to be 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.
Banknotes are related to Consumer
Spending, which is more important than
gold. Governments shred, burn and destroy
entire prints of some or most of
banknotes making them scarce or rare
|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? Try diversifying into both:
banknotes and gold. Those two are
still more affordable than immovable property today.
|This website is
made available with the understanding that it has
been prepared for informational purposes only and
the Provider or Author is not engaged in
rendering legal, accounting, financial or other
professional services. The information at this
website is not intended to create, and visitation
of it does not constitute a lawyer-client
relationship, accountant-client relationship, or
any other type of relationship. If legal or
financial advice or other expert assistance is
required, the services of a competent
professional person should be sought. The
Provider or Author disclaims all warranties and
any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as
a consequence of the use and application, either
directly or indirectly, of any information
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|History of Paper
||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
money was called "flying money". It was
so popular that by the year 970 it dominated as a
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
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
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
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 goldsmiths 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
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 money.
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 century.
One problem with paper money was the paper
itself. Several companies experimented with the
processing of special paper in the 18th and 19th
Information (History of P. M.) from
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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
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
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
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
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
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
Banknote Building in Kaunas, Lithuania
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 reproduce.
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
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
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
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.
The quality of banknote paper is one of the
characteristic features that distinguish a
from a forgery.
The process of engraving requires expertise and
long hours to produce designs deterring all but the very devoted
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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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
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
From Printer to Bank to Wallet or Your
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
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
we die, our bodies turn into soil, which feeds
trees and plants, such as cotton, and when paper
is made from those plants, some of that paper
goes to produce paper money (bank notes; notes
issued by banks), the banknotes that you and I
collect. Therefore please respect each other and
let's respect the banknotes we collect and take a
good care of them.
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