Mountaineering on banknotes

A few days ago we heard the sad news that Dutch mountaineer Eric Arnold had died while climbing the Mount Everest. He was only 35 years old. The day before he had been finally successful (after 4 failed attempts in previous years) in reaching the summit. During the descent from the top it is believed he died from altitude sickness. Two other people have died from the same climbing group.

Mountains and the people who try to climb them have always sparked people's imagination and admiration. So it's no surprise we can find several of them on banknotes from different countries. The highest of them all, the Mount Everest (although that is up for debate), is on the banknotes of at least three two different countries: Nepal and China and New Zealand.

source -

source -

The last note from New Zealand is of course the Banknote of the Year 2015. It is also one of two notes I could find with an actual climber on it, in this case the famous Sir Edmund Hillary who was the first to climb to the summit of Mount Everest in 1953. Update: you know that feeling when you've always assumed something to be obvious just to find out it's not true? Well... I always assumed the mountain on the 5-dollar note from New Zealand to be Mount Everest since it has Sir Edmund Hillary on it but as Wez correctly pointed out in the comments it's Mount Cook, the highest mountain in New Zealand. 

The other note I could find with mountaineers on it, is the 500-intis note from Peru.

One other mountaineer deserves to be included in this story and that is Sean Prockter from Jasper, Canada. He made the news last year when he was the first person to climb all 7 peaks shown on the Canadian 10-dollar banknote in one season.

© Bank of Canada

Steven | Wednesday 25 May 2016 at 10:58 am | | articles | Two comments

Tea banknotes

Although banknote collecting is my biggest hobby, I do have several other interests keeping me off the streets. Fountain pens and fountain pen ink for instance. I have collected several fountain pens and use them all the time. I just love tinkering with the pens, diassembling them, cleaning them and filling the pens up with all kinds of beautiful new ink colors. For me there's some great satisfaction in finding a beautiful fountain pen, combining it with a gorgeous ink color and writing smoothly with it on a blank piece of paper.

Another 'hobby' is tea. Or not so much a hobby perhaps but definitely something I enjoy very much. I visit a local tea shop regularly searching for new varieties and tastes. Again, I get a huge feeling of satisfaction when I manage to brew a delicious cup of tea from some tea variety I hadn't tried out before.

When having several hobbies it's always nice if these separate worlds collide. I was searching in vain for banknotes with fountain pens on them (if anybody knows any, please let me know) when I did stumble upon banknotes with tea motives on them. Several countries that produce tea have issued banknotes in the past with scenes of tea plantations on them or people picking tea. And of course there are tea pavillions where tea ceremonies are usually held.

Here's a little taste (no pun intended) of my search for 'tea banknotes' after the click.

Read on

Steven | Wednesday 18 May 2016 at 2:40 pm | | articles | Two comments
Used tags: ,

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 | Friday 10 January 2014 at 11:13 am | | articles | No comments
Used tags:

World Paper Money Fair Maastricht 2013 (2)

Last weekend was the bi-annual World Paper Money Fair Maastricht in the lovely town of Valkenburg aan den Geul in the deep, very deep south of the Netherlands. The trip is about 400 km back and forth for me. I've driven those distances before in the USA but 400 km in the Netherlands is quite different from 400 km in the USA. 

I was at the fair for the first time last year but I didn't really enjoy myself then because of all the high prices dealers asked for their banknotes. This year I went with different expectations. I had a clear budget, a goal (new countries) and I was determined to just enjoy the expensive banknotes for their looks and concentrate on the cheaper notes for buying.

This proved to be a succes. The first stall I visited and the first beautiful note I looked at was a whopping €12,000 worth! That note was just a little above my budget so I decided to move on. A few hours later I had bought as many notes as my budget permitted and after a lunch in the beautiful neighborhood I drove back home. I will definitely come back in the spring of 2014!

Steven | Wednesday 02 October 2013 at 09:42 am | | articles | No comments

World Paper Money Fair Maastricht 2013

This weekend I visited the World Paper Money Fair Maastricht in Valkenburg a/d Geul. In short: I liked it a lot and I've bought some great new banknotes. A more extensive review will follow tomorrow!

Steven | Tuesday 01 October 2013 at 09:46 am | | articles | No comments
Used tags:

What will the new 5 euro look like?

Design by Robert GerstetterThat question will be answered next week when on 10 January 2013 the ECB will unveil the design of the new 5 euro banknote. Don't expect to many changes though. As the ECB clearly states on the website for the new Europa series:

Like the first series, the new banknotes will feature the “ages and styles” design and show windows, doorways and bridges.

So in other words: the same (boring) design we have all come to love/hate (choose for yourself). The current banknotes are designed by Robert Kalina of the National Bank of Austria. For the second series the ECB has asked Reinhold Gerstetter to update the design. He is known for his work on the last series of German Marks (example of his 200 Mark, P47) and on the last series of Spanish Pesetas.

But what most people don't know, is that Reinhold Gerstetter has already designed euro banknotes years ago. The contest in which Robert Kalina was chosen as  the winner to design the currect euro banknotes, also had several other contestants. One of them was Reinhold Gerstetter. He designed two different series for this competition. You can find the first series here and the second series here. A funny coincidence: the face of his 5 euro design (photo on the right) shows the image of Europa, which is also the leading theme for the second series of the euro banknotes.

Will the new banknotes look anything like his original design? Probably not, but we'll know for sure next week.

>> Link: All the original entries for the euro design competition in 1996

Steven | Friday 04 January 2013 at 2:48 pm | | articles | No comments

Security features

I've compiled a list of a lot of security feautures which can be found on banknotes these days. These aren't all security features known today but as a first try, it's fairly complete. The list will be updated when possible.

You can find the list here or in the menu on the right under 'help with collecting'.

Steven | Friday 21 December 2012 at 09:30 am | | articles | No comments
Used tags:

Dollars with high denominations

While many people today believe that the U.S. $100 note is the highest denomination, in reality there are 5 notes with higher values: €500, $1000, $5000, $10.000 and $100.000. These are however no longer used. The higher values were once used when there was still a lot of mining for gold in the U.S. To avoid walking around with hundreds of banknotes, higher values were added. The $100.000 note was meant specifically for traffic between banks and was never issued to the public. There are 20.113 of these banknotes with the highest value.

These notes were printed until 1945 and from 1969 the values higher than $100 were no longer being used in daily traffic. The notes which still exist belong to collectors and museum but have still kept their value and you could still use them to pay for things in the United States in theory.

500 Dollar

More pictures after the break!

Read on

Steven | Thursday 29 November 2012 at 3:58 pm | | articles | No comments
Used tags: ,

Sister Sarah

So BanknoteNews has a fun new challenge: identifying who Sister Sarah is on the Bahamas 1/2 dollar note (P42). When I was doing some research on my own collection I too ran into this problem. She is prominently featured on the banknote with her name next to her picture but I couldn't find any information on her.

But the readers of BanknoteNews have apparently found out who she is.  

IDENTIFIED: According to Paul Walters, "Sister Sarah is indeed a real person. I am not sure if she is still living, I don't think she is. She was a prominant figure at the straw market in the 1970s, when the market was located along the dock--before it moved to its present day location on Bay street."

They also found an article mentioning her as a local straw weaver. Has the riddle finally been solved?

Sister Sarah - ©

Steven | Tuesday 06 November 2012 at 2:18 pm | | articles | No comments
Used tags: ,

How do they do it: polymer money

Steven | Thursday 25 October 2012 at 3:47 pm | | articles | No comments
Used tags:

UNESCO sites on banknotes

I read an interesting topic on the members forum of the IBNS. Somebody has a special collecting theme: UNESCO sites on banknotes. UNESCO stands for United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

What are these sites? To quote UNESCO: "The World Heritage List includes 962 properties forming part of the cultural and natural heritage which the World Heritage Committee considers as having outstanding universal value." Countries like to put sites on their banknotes which are the pride of a nation so it should come as no surprise that quite a few of the current 962 sites have ended up on banknotes thoughout the world.

Right now people on the IBNS forum are compiling a list of the sites, so it's 'work in progress'. The list is impressive so far and can be viewed after the click (pick numbers and the exact banknote will be added later by the collectors):

Read on

Steven | Friday 19 October 2012 at 09:33 am | | articles | No comments
Used tags: ,

Post kwijt / gestolen?

Dááág post!Voor het eerst ben ik ook slachtoffer geworden van een mislukte postbezorging. Ik had drie Japanse biljetten aangeschaft via eBay en deze zijn vanuit de Verenigde Staten naar mijn adres gezonden. Helaas zijn ze daar nooit aangekomen. Het voordeel van de aanschaf via eBay en betaling met PayPal is dat je aankoop volledig verzekerd is. Dus na de verplichte wachtperiode van 40 dagen kreeg ik na een mailtje aan de verkoper mijn geld weer volledig teruggestort.

Het was maar drie euro gelukkig maar vervelender vind ik dat Japan nog steeds ontbreekt in mijn collectie. En waar zouden de drie Japanse biljetten zijn gebleven? Ergens in de machine blijven hangen of wellicht bij een vrolijke postbode op zijn schoorsteenmantel? Het kost wat meer maar ik heb toch liever aangetekende post.

Steven | Tuesday 01 May 2012 at 08:06 am | | articles | No comments