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>> Inflation of the Bolivar: Venezuela 2016 Issues

Bio page for Proteus By Proteus on 2017-02-28

Because I have a great personal affinity for South America, it is with some regret, but with a total lack of surprise, that I am announcing Venezuela's new issue of paper money. This new issue, initially dated at August 18th, 2016, is comprised of Bolivares, the national currency of Venezuela, in denominations of 500, 1000, 2000, 5000, 10000, and 20000. The designs will seem familiar as they mimic the previous issue, with some minute changes in design details, a major change in colors, and a huge change in denominations.

Though the inflation of Venezuela's money is absolutely horrific for the country (is inflation ever a good thing?) there is at least one minuscule benefit: at least for a time, it seems like the store owners might be able to put away their weight scales. Inflation in Venezuela has been so terrible that in some instances money is not counted, but weighed!

The banknotes of this issue are not being introduced all in one shot. As of today only the 500, 5000, 10000, and 20000 Bolivares banknotes are in circulation. These are quite readily available on eBay, including sets of the four notes that are circulation at the moment. These current banknotes do have some appeal, though the design is not completely overhauled. The vivid colors do make then an attractive set for paper money collectors.

Members Comments

Bio page for Proteus
Comment by Proteus on 2017-02-28
"What do you guys think about purchasing this set? It is available for just over $80 on eBay. My thoughts are to wait a little bit. The set is still incomplete ( the 1000 and 2000 Bolivares notes are still to be issued) and inflation continues to rise quite quickly, suggesting with quite a high degree of certainty that these notes will become cheaper with time."
Bio page for akaardvark387
Comment by akaardvark387 on 2017-03-07
"I will wait for some time even before buying one of these notes. The inflation is one aspect, since it is almost certain that even with the two missing notes it should soon cost much less than $80. The second aspect for me is that this issue doesn't add anything in beauty. The colors of the first set are much more appealing, at least on pictures. "
Bio page for paxbrit
Comment by paxbrit on 2017-03-07
"I will wait some time, as well. When the first Series was introduced, I shopped around and bought two sets, complete to the top denomination of 100 Bolivares, for the sum of $38.66 apiece. One for the collection, and one to tuck away for appreciation. I can purchase the same set today for $2.99 on Ebay. So the rule for me now, is, don't purchase currency from socialist countries until AFTER the inevitable collapse."

>> Paper Money Shipping and eBay

Bio page for Proteus By Proteus on 2017-01-12

This is a bit of a rant, centered around one of my personal pet peeves. Take it as you will, but I do wholeheartedly consider this issue from the angle of buyer and seller, so please take that into account. After all, at some point in the future I do plan on becoming a seller myself!

Though the vast majority of sellers on eBay do offer reasonable shipping fees (some sellers knowingly taking a bit of a loss on that front), in the last few years I've personally had to pass up on some purchases I would have otherwise made, had it not been for shipping fees. In my case, specifically, I will use the example of purchases being shipped from the US to Canada, as this is my most frequent shipping scenario. Of course, sellers are free to charge what they want, but there seem to be more and more instances, in my case, where a truly unreasonable shipping charge is put forth.

Being the ardent collector I am, this does cause me some frustration. In the last week, I've passed up on about 5-6 fantastic banknotes because of shipping. The two latest examples include a $60 USD banknote (Buy It Now) with a $32.50 shipping charge, and a $42 USD banknote (Buy It Now) with a $41.50 USD shipping charge. Its almost a bit of an insult to see postings like this. So, in some cases I contact the sellers, and for the most part they are very reasonable.

I recently bought a beautiful, though beat up, old Finnish banknote from the late 1800's. The shipping, from Finland, was originally $15 USD. When the auction ended my winning bid was just over the $7 USD mark, and the seller shipped the note for $5 USD, and I am thrilled with the purchase and the sellers willingness to be reasonable. On the flip side, I've also contacted sellers that are charging $20+ USD for shipping for banknotes under $40 USD, asking them for regular shipping (envelope + $1 USD stamp) while mentioning that I have 1100+ feedbacks as a buyer, all positive, and that I live just across the border from the US. Quite a few sellers refuse to budge.

As I've mentioned before, they are free to do so. But they I ask: why even offer shipping to Canada at all? With the exception of very expensive banknotes, it makes no sense and, to be honest, is a bit offensive.

So, I don't mean to sound vengeful, and I do not intend to be as such. I write this as heed to the sellers that practice shipping policies along these lines: there is some consolation, in the fact that I've also recently seen some pretty nice banknotes, some scarce, some in unusually good condition, sell for far far below their usual eBay sales values. Why? Because the seller has eliminated competitive bidding from anyone outside the United States. Just now I watched two $40 USD banknotes sell for under $10 with free shipping within the US simply because international shipping was $20+.

So, I'll sum up this messy rant. Sellers, for everyone's sake, please plan your international shipping accordingly, and be prepared to take minor risks for buyers that present an excellent purchase record. If you do not wish to trouble yourself with international shipping fees, and you are not willing to spend a dollar here and there to facilitate more sales, I suggest you simply not offer international shipping in lieu of exorbitant and inflated fees. Unreasonable shipping can backfire, and it does -- it can completely eliminate competitive bidding, so keep that in mind.

What do you guys think?

Members Comments

Bio page for paxbrit
Comment by paxbrit on 2017-03-07
"Last fall I paid $20 for shipping a note from Canada to the US, but my winning bid was low enough that didn't bother me too much. I received the note THE NEXT DAY, from Ontario to the West Coast, via FedEx Overnight Delivery. Total time in transit, from door to door, was 18 hours and a few minutes. That is just a silly waste of resources and funds."

>> RealBanknotes.com: 2016 Review and Future Plans

Bio page for Proteus By Proteus on 2017-01-01

Well my friends, its been another exciting year at RealBanknotes.com. It is very rewarding watching the site grow, watching our membership expand, and providing paper money collectors with more tools and information via our website -- and yes, it is ours, as it is designed to be a community project, and not just a solo effort. And if it wasn't completely obvious in the past, I am a huge "data geek" and so I keep track of several statistics on the site, and track its growth and progress. As such, every new member, and every new gallery image is just an extra little bit of good news for me, and it seems I've had quite a bit of that in 2016. The following are just a few statistics from 2016, for anyone who cares:

  • catalogue values for the 2016 catalogues for Modern and General issues were entered
  • 1368 new banknotes were added to the site in 2016
  • the gallery garnered nearly 2.5 million views last year
  • 4685 new gallery images were added to the website
  • 22646 eBay sales histories were manually entered, for future use (upcoming feature)
  • we welcomed 261 new members in 2016, with the vast majority joining us after the new version of the website was released
  • added a FaceBook page with regular updates that complement the site

All-in-all, 2016 was the best year yet as the website continues to grow year after year, each year being better than the previous. With the November 2016 update to the website, a lot of changes came about. The site is now mobile friendly, and several tools have been added to everyones account. Among them is the ability to create collections, with the option to add lots of information on the banknotes within a collection, the ability to create multiple collections, a new internal messaging system, and a new article submission system.

As per usual, the plans and ideas for the site definitely surpass the number of hours that I can commit to adding new features and, as usual, features will be added a few at a time, and when time permits. Unfortunately the site is a hobby, and so work still is ahead on the overall priority list. However, we've got something fantastic here (if I may say so myself) and its something that will continue to get better and better. The following are my goals for 2017:

  • add catalogue values for 2017 Standard and Modern catalogues to the site, including new listings
  • bring our membership up to 1000 members; invite your fellow collectors when you can!
  • begin a thorough clean up of the gallery and banknote listings, including corrections of errors
  • add 25,000 eBay sales histories to the database in an effort to progress on a future valuation tool
  • publish at least one article a month on the site
  • improve the banknote search on the website

These goals alone are a massive undertaking, with the maintenance of social media accounts and a massive amount of data entry. There are, however, secondary (bonus) goals for the future, and we'll see how many I can accomplish in 2017.

Amongst them:

  • create and publish newsletters to all of our membership
  • code a script that allows members to recommend awesome eBay deals to others
  • create a contests script that will reward winners with points and/or banknotes
  • create a script that will turn entire banknote collections into PDF books
  • theme support for the website, so that members can choose the way they view the site
  • ... and a lot more.

If you are interested in helping out the website, there are several ways to do so. Keep in mind that all help is much appreciated, and your assistance helps me free up more time to code and make the website more usable and more user-friendly. Here is what I ask of you:

  • if you're not a member, please become one
  • if you know collectors that are not familiar with RealBanknotes.com, please direct them to the site
  • if you have some knowledge that you could share with other banknote collectors about paper money and this hobby, please write and submit an article to the site; don't worry about your English, spelling, or grammar; I realize most of our membership is from non-English speaking countries; I personally edit and correct each article, but all credit will go to you; you will help me meet my news publishing goal, and you will also earn points on the site
  • click on the "eBay" logo at the top of each page before you shop, or use the "Buy Banknotes" link in the navigation if you are shopping for a specific banknote; by doing this you are generating some revenue that pays for the caffeine that fuels my energy and thus my coding capability; THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT TO ME (so thank you for those who do this)

Well, I think that's enough rambling about this and that. Cheers to you all, I wish you a fantastic 2017, happy collecting and I hope to see you all on the site and on the forums.

>> $20 Coupon from eBay (Canada)

Bio page for Proteus By Proteus on 2016-11-25

I don't know how many other countries this extends to, but eBay has some fantastic weekend shopping deals this weekend, including possibly a $20 coupon. Yes, that's $20 free towards a future purchase. Check out some paper money for sale on eBay directly from our Buy Banknotes page, or go directly to eBay yourself. Offer details are straight off of eBay, and are outlined below:

Who's eligible for the Coupon?

eBay members with a registered address located in Canada, and paying with a PayPal account registered with an address located in Canada, are eligible for the Coupon. Limit one (1) Coupon per eligible member. Coupon is non-transferable.

How get the Coupon:

To get the Coupon, eligible members must sign in to their eBay account and make a minimum purchase of $75 CAD (excluding shipping, handling, and taxes) in checkout (single item or cart total) on eBay.ca during the time period beginning on “Black Friday” November 25, 2016 at 00:00:01 EST (12:00AM plus one second) and ending on “Cyber Monday” November 28, 2016 at 23:59:59 EST (11:59PM plus 59 seconds) (the “Qualifying Purchase”). Those who make a Qualifying Purchase will receive a Coupon for a $20 CAD discount off of a minimum purchase of $50 CAD (the “Coupon”). The Coupon will be distributed by December 15, 2016. The Coupon will be valid to redeem beginning on December 15, 2016 at 12:00:01 EST (12:00AM plus one second) and ending on December 22, 2016 at 23:59:59 EST (11:59PM plus 59 seconds). Discount applies to the purchase price (excluding shipping, handling, and taxes) of eligible items on eBay.ca.

Terms & Conditions:

The $20 Coupon will be awarded prior to December 15, 2016 via email and will also be available in the "Messages" tab within "My eBay". Eligible items exclude Coins & Paper Money, Gift Cards & Coupons, and Real Estate. Coupon can be used once per PayPal account within a single transaction (or cart), while supplies last. Coupon is subject to Canadian laws, void where prohibited, not redeemable for cash, has no face value, not applicable to previous purchases, and cannot be combined with any other Coupon or used when paying with an eBay Gift Card. eBay may cancel, amend, or revoke the Coupon at any time. Use of automated devices or programs for Coupon redemption prohibited.

Members Comments

Bio page for Proteus
Comment by Proteus on 2016-12-13
"Got my coupon today! ;) Can't spend it on banknotes, according to the conditions, but I'll figure something out!"

>> Paper Money Quiz #1

Bio page for Proteus By Proteus on 2016-11-09

There are a few things to celebrate at RealBanknotes.com these days. With the latest version of the website, we now have some advanced collection features, a pretty neat (if I do say so myself) layout that works on multiple devices, and a drastic increase in membership. There are also other features on the horizon, but I'll be unveiling them as they come. We have also reached many landmarks in terms of content, but I will leave those details for an upcoming announcement. As for now, one of the challenges will be to provide regular news and articles for one and all. It is a time consuming process that I hope our members will help me with -- very shortly a new feature will be visible on the members page allowing each and every member to submit new content to the site. And while I await fresh news and ideas, I am going to put together a short quiz for banknote collectors. The following is a 8 question quiz to (hopefully) challenge all you banknote collectors.

PS - I would like to mention that these questions were taken from a PDF that did not have any references on it. These questions are not all mine, but I cannot give credit to the author, as the document leaves me no clue to the origin or author.

1. France abandoned its franc unit of currency after it had been weakened by nagging inflation. About that time Charles de Gaulle was recalled to power, ushering in the current Fifth Republic. A new series of currency was then introduced called the “Nouveaux Franc” (New Franc). One Nouveaux Franc equalled 100 of the old ones. During what years was the Nouveau Franc France's sole currency, before it reverted back to the original Franc system?

a. 1950-1952
b. 1965-1970
c. 1957-1962
d. 1958-1960

2. A portrait of Sir Edmund Hillary, the conqueror of Mount Everest, appears on what nation's banknote?

a. New Zealand
b. Australia
c. Nepal
d. Antarctica

3. The Trinidad and Tobago $1 note from the 1985 issue illustrates what native bird on the left front of its design?

a. The cocorico
b. The scarlet ibis
c. The mot mot
d. The bird of paradise

4. Who's portrait appears on the 1949 issue of Philippine Island bank notes?

a. A. Luna
b. Manuel Roxas
c. T. Sora
d. Manuel Quezon
e. All of the above

5. Canada first issued fractional currency in 1870. A shortage of silver coins existed at that time. These notes were meant to be a temporary measure to allow the government to produce enough silver coin to satisfy demand. In what denominations were these fractional notes issued?

a. 25 cent notes only
b. 10, 20 and 50 cent notes
c. 50 cent notes only
d. 10, 25 and 50 cent notes

6. The 1961 issue of New Franc notes for the French Antilles possessions of Guadeloupe, Guiana and Martinique were the product of what issuing authority?

a. Banque Central de la Antilles
b. Institut d'Emission des Departments d 'Outre-Mer
c. Casse Centrale de la France d 'Outre-Mer
d. Institut d'Emission d 'Outre-Mer

7. Tiny multi-colored discs of paper which are embedded into the paper pulp or applied during the drying process when producing bank notes are called what?

a. Dot pixels
b. Ectoplasy
c. Sprinkles
d. Planchettes

8. The abbreviation “M/C” found in catalog bank note descriptions stands for?

a. Mostly cancelled
b. Multi-colored
c. Military counter-stamp
d. Most often collected

Members Comments

Bio page for Proteus
Comment by Proteus on 2016-11-09
"Though I admit this first quiz is not the most difficult, I'm pretty happy that I got 8/8. How did everyone else do?"

>> The Unissued and Unaged Türkmenbaşy

Bio page for Burkina2008 By Burkina2008 on 2016-11-04

Many have heard about him as some kind of a joke or a relic from the soviet period in a land that few could spot on a map.

To be fair Turkmenistan is neither small as a country (it is slightly bigger than Germany) not is it unimportant, as it has the 4th biggest gas reserves in the world. That is maybe one of the reasons why many do not bother with the political state of a population of barely 5 million (officially at least) that keep good economic relationships with both Russia, the US, the Gulf Countries, Turkey and the EU.

A few months ago I was in Ashgabat, the capital of Turmkenistan. As it turns out the city is a joy to behold, full or marble and gold, futuristic buildings and is extremely clean. I would go through the fact that it seems to be completely deserted, that you have a lot of police looking at you as a foreigner, and that you have the feeling that it all looks fake, but I will leave that for a different type of article, because here we are talking about banknotes, and these have evolved into beautiful issues in the short 20 year history of independent Turkmenistan.

turkmenistan warrior on 10 manat banknote

The first issues right after independence in 1993 were not as bad as some of the ex-soviet republics and they already had on their front the self-proclaimed “President for life” Saparmurat Atayevich Niyazov, or Türkmenbaşy as he was known.

turkmenbasy on 10 manat paper money from 1993

You can clearly see that the Turkman was not so young anymore in 1993. With grey hair the 53 year old had already been the First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Turkmenistan since 1985. As with all the ex-soviet republics, the economy took its toll in the 90's and soon the Manat was hit by high inflation rates and as a result new banknotes with higher denominations needed to be issued. This time Türkmenbaşy, at a time where he had already written a book that was obligatory in school, banned ballet, opera and long beards, as well as renaming certain months of the calendar to his name, his mothers name and the name of the book he had written, decided that he should be featured on all the denominations of the national paper money series of Turkmenistan.

turkmenbasy on 5000 manat bright blue paper money from 2006

However, Türkmenbaşy died at the end of 2006 when a new issue of banknotes was already planned. The new series would also have a re-evaluation of the New Manat (worth now 5000 old Manat per New Manat) and a would have a Turkmen warrior on each denomination. With 1, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 Manat banknotes with a new design, a picture came out with a 500 Manat specimen banknote with non-other than Türkmenbaşy on its front. At close to 150 USD, this banknote would represent close to a months salary to the average Turkman, so it was not clear if it would actually be only for intra-bank payments.

turkmanistan 500 manat specimen banknote from 2009 unissued

This banknote represented Türkmenbaşy as looking younger like he had ordered (unconfirmed rumours exist that he decided to issue new banknotes because he decided to paint his hair dark and that was misrepresented in the old banknotes). The reality is that the banknote was never released into circulation. At the beginning it was supposed to make part of the new Manat 2009 series but the new president Gurbanguly Mälikgulyýewiç Berdimuhamedow decided to delay its introduction for the second series of banknotes in 2012. Sadly it was never released and even if the World Paper Money Catalog has it as P-28 and valued at 700 USD in Specimen. I have not found anyone with this note in their collection or even someone that had one in their hands … does this specimen bank note from Turkmenistan really exist?

>> Paper Money: A Short Gallery Tour

Bio page for akaardvark387 By akaardvark387 on 2016-08-01

The design of a banknotes is, technical aspecta aside, a sort of art in-and-of-itself. Banknotes bear portraits of monarchs, or sometimes artists, or proudly display buildings or national artifacts that testify to the history of the issuing country. Sometimes a banknote, not in itself a painting, bears the reproduction of a painting. Banknotes can be small guides to the art galleries of the world. Here we offer a short virtual tour to some European galleries, using the money that has been and can still be found in our wallets as a guide.

Our trip starts in Vienna, Austria, which hosts the “Portrait of a Young Venetian Woman” painted in 1505 by Albrecht Duerer, and is now hosted by the Kunsthistorisches Museum. This painting can be found on the West German 5 mark note from between 1960 and 1990 (Federal German Republic P-18).  This whole series bears imagery from paintings on the front side. The source for the portrait of the 500 mark note is in the same gallery, while for the rest of the series to be seen one has to travel to Kassel, Frankfurt, Berlin or Brussels. But now we depart for Italy ...

german banknote with durer painting venetian woman

In Milan, and more specifically in Pinacoteca Ambrosiana, we can admire the work of Caravaggio, “The Basket of Fruit” from 1599. Its reproduction was shown before the introduction of the Euro on the back side of the 100000 lire note from the 1983 and 1994 series (Italy P-110 and Italy P-117, respectively). In the Pinacoteca a visitor can also see the sketches for the Raphaels “The School of Athens” from 1511, reproduced on the 500000 lire note of the same series (Italy P-118, but for the full sized fresco one would have to drive further to Rome, and more specifically to the Apostolic Palace of the Vatican City. Italian banknotes have presented several other paintings, but we hurriedly depart for Spain.

basket of fruit by caravaggio on italian paper money

school of athens by raphael on italian paper money

In Madrid in Museo del Prado we can see the oil on linen by Francisco Goya “The Parasol” from 1777. This painting was shown on the back side of the Spanish 100 peseta note (Span P-131). Spanish notes from between the 1920's and the 1960's contained on their back sides several reproductions of the paintings but never for a whole series. One has to admit that in comparison to the other European countries Spain has used painting on their paper money more often than other nations. For some shown paintings it would be otherwise impossible for them to be seen, as is the case for the “La Fuensanta” from 1929 – the portrait of an Andalusian woman by Juan Romero de Torres (Spain P-145). Currently this painting is in a private collection, an the last time it changed the owners (in 2007) it was at the expense of 1,173,400 Euros.

spanish bank note with goya painting the parasol

de torres portrait of an andalusian woman on spanish paper money

For the fans of still life art a visit to Musée de l'Orangerie in Paris, France is our next destination. Paul Cezanne’s “Apples and Biscuits” from 1880 hangs there. It was presented on the 100 French franc note from 1997 (France P-158). In the nearby Louvre one can no longer view Eugene Delacroix's painting “Liberty Leading the People” which was partially shown on the 100 French franc note (France P-153). To view this painting one would have to drive further to Lens, but it is time to take a rest.

french bank note with cezanne's painting apples and biscuits

delacrois painting liberty leading the people on french paper money

saint exupery little prince boa constrictor digesting elephantOur virtual tour could end in everyones home library. We are not talking about a painting in the true sense, but rather an illustration from “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. On page 2 of the book the sketch “A Boa Constrictor Digesting an Elephant” is shown – representing the power of the imagination of a child and of a curious and open-minded person. Its reproduction was shown as security feature on the 50 French franc note P-157 of the same series as Cezanne’s painting (France P-157). For a curious person recognising the value of seeing such art and detail could lead to the start of a long friendship with the hobby of banknote collecting.

Members Comments

Bio page for akaardvark387
Comment by Proteus on 2016-08-14
"Very nice article. I would have never known some of these paintings if it was not for my paper money collection."

>> ПET vs. PET: Bosnian Error

Bio page for verbal By verbal on 2016-05-24

Perhaps Bosnia is not the most successful country in the world, but when it comes to the curiosities of currency notes, Bosnia is in the running for world champion. Bosnia has everything: state made counterfeits, banknote denominations with with eleven digits (10000000000 Dinars; as a reference in January of 1993 24 of these notes of 10 billion dinars, ie 240 billion, could buy you one box of matches) and Bosnia even has regular notes with misspelling.

Yep! Banknotes P-61 and P-62 have spelling errors on the reverse. Most have already noticed that there are both Latin and Cyrillic scripts on Bosnian notes. In this respect the 5 Mark note is no different (actually, there is a bit of a difference: on P-61 the Latin script is above the Cyrillic while on P-62 the Cyrillic script is above the Latin). But on both variations, the back side of both P-61 and P-62 features a spelling error in the Cyrillic script. Instead of ПET (П = P as Portugal) they have written PET. It's very easy to overlook this error since the letters E and T are written identically on both the Latin and Cyrillic scripts (if this font is used), so the word still makes complete sense (5) and is spelled correctly - but in the Latin script and not in Cyrillic as it should be. Oops!

bosnia paper money with spelling error

bosnia paper money with fixed spelling

Members Comments

Bio page for verbal
Comment by Proteus on 2016-10-08
"I wonder what kind of process banknote design and initial printing goes through. I would have imagined that there would be many layers of proofing to ensure that the notes does not contain any embarrassing errors ..."

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