One of the countries that I collect more thoroughly is Angola. This is due not only to the design of the banknotes but also because of my Portuguese identity. If you look into the banknotes that Angola has nowadays, they are far from beautiful and have had the same design for the last 30 years. Fortunately, and although the value of the modern currency has not improved much, the designs of Angola under Portuguese rule were a bit better in their design. One of the most beautiful notes of my collection is Angolas 100 Angolares from 1951 (p85). Before we go into the details of the design, I'd like to mention that unfortunately the photo of my banknote is not the best and I only have it in VF condition, but lets discuss the colonial policy of Portugal in the 50's first.
At a time when all of Europe was facing de-colonization (mostly French Africa where some colonies were already independent) Portugal, a poor dictatorial regime far from the center of Europe was still considering all its African "possessions" as mere provinces of the whole country. Actually propaganda from back then was making us believe that the country was far bigger than it really was and from the picture below you can clearly see how ridiculous and preposterous most of it was. The map below is titled “Portugal Is Not A Small Country” and tries to argue that the whole territory of the empire would be bigger than Spain, France, the United Kingdom, Italy and Germany combined.
But not all of the regime was oblivious to the changes and the banknote is actually a good example of this slight change of policy. If in the past banknotes from Portuguese colonies would picture conquerors and animals, this series (1951) tries to include some characters in them. In the case of Angola p85 we have D. Francisco Inocêncio de Sousa Coutinho, which was governor of the Angolan Portuguese possessions from 1762 to 1772. This aristocrat was one of the first governors that tried to develop the provinces into something more than simply lands for the extraction of minerals and the slave trade. He was also one of the first men to expose the deplorable conditions of the black community in Angola, who were basically slaves of Portuguese settlers, with no basic rights in territories where war between tribes and harsh conditions were the norm.
Nevertheless this was still just a hidden colonialism tactic and if you see the symbols on the banknote as well as the back, you can clearly see what the regime still thought about the colony. On the front center part of this banknote you still find the coat of arms of the Kingdom of Portugal during the golden XVI century and in the back an image of an aristocrat with some maps talking with another aristocrat while the black population is depicted naked either looking in wonder at the Portuguese, and used to carry maps around and working on a fortification.
The situation got a bit better in the following decades with the Portuguese population also questioning their presence in Africa, which back in the beginning of the 70's was consuming a large portion of the countries resources for a war on 3 different fronts as the only European country still with large possessions in Africa. With the 25th April 1974 revolution, which ended the longest dictatorship in Europe, one of the first priorities was to give independence to all remaining African colonies that belonged to Portual. This process was far from perfect but better than many expected.
We all buy banknotes on Ebay, so why do we need to see an article about how to do what we already do? Well, you may not be using the Ebay features to your advantage, or, heaven forbid, spend too much money for the goodies you want. You can start keeping 10% to %30 of your money in your pocket, or even better, get more nice banknotes, if you follow the pertinent 'how to' below. We all know what Ebay looks like and does, so no pictures to waste bandwidth and no long intro to the features.
Buy It Now! BIN is general higher-priced material offered to and purchased by people who can't wait for an auction to end, or perhaps care what they spend, including me if I want to complete a Series or pick up a certain note. It is a good tool to find that Wesayso Republic 5 Pazooza note in the cleanest XF to UNC condition you can find, though, and I use it myself. As long as I'm checking the Auctions listings first, and using it for certain notes to complete a Series or some such, BIN is a very acceptable source of your collection, especially with higher priced material. Some caveats, beware of high 'sucker' pricing, and do be aware that graded material is going to cost double the price of the same note at auction. Do use the Sort by Price (low or high, your choice), and view your material carefully. Also, do look for the 'Make Offer' choice, and do make an offer instead of just paying full freight. You will save between 7% and 26% on your purchase, if you offer is accepted or you accept the counteroffer. At least that's my statistics over the past year. The dollars amount to over $400, which I have but into a few more banknotes or just not spent. Either way, I'm ahead, and you can be too. I've only had one offer rejected, the vendor just thought $5 off a $40 note was too much too bear. His loss.
Auctions are where the fun, and the effort, is at. It's also where the savings in your collection dollar lie, so use it as your main source of banknotes. So you're in the Auctions, looking at France and Nouveaux Franc notes as you typed in your search bar, and you see 243 auctions. I sort by price (lowest first, of course, beer budget, champagne taste !) and start looking for a nice clean copy of something I don't have. I'm an AU-UNC collector, but lately have gotten some good deals on VF-XF and XF-AU notes in nice clean condition, with complete enjoyment once they arrive. This is due to retirement and price, but not a real relaxation in standard. This is what I tell myself, anyway. So, sort your 243 auctions, take a general look, and add any number of them to your Watch List. Put all you want in there, take you time and look 'em over. Using the Watch List feature will save you looking at the same dross in the Auction listing the rest of the week, so use it. Do not bother considering to bid with any vendor with less than 98% positive feedback, unless he's a newbie and you can see he's trying hard. Do check the negative feedback, one buyer ordered 23 notes from a vendor I know, and gave 23 negatives for a single wrong note sent out by the vendor. You can ignore that ratio, but do look for complaints about overgrading, cleaned and pressed notes, all the stuff we don't like. (my next article is about doctored notes, so realize my hypocrisy knows no bounds). Now take you Watch List, sort by ending soonest, and decide which notes to consider for a bidding round. This is your chance to look hard at photos, descriptions, the note itself, so don't rush. Now comes the fun part. You can either be physically present at you computer on the close of the auctions, or you can use an algorithm to place proxy bids in your absence at the final moment of the auctions. I prefer to be there, myself, but the automated bidders have a lot to recommend themselves. Did you notice I did not say go to your first auction and place a bid? That nice UNC from Columbia with a $0.99 open? Surely I can just bid a couple of bucks and get my name on the board, then I'll come back later, you're thinking, right? Don't do it. Never, ever, ever do this. All you're doing is wasting time, and bidding against yourself when you return at closing time. Let the other guy chase being the highest bidder with $4.25, or $65.50, whatever, if you are in the first rounds you are just losing money. You will also avoid shill bidders and the 'recreational bidder' by not opening your bids early. The recreational bidder is the guy who just adds a dollar or two to a someone else's top bid, just to play with it. A dollar or two isn't much, but they add up. Don't give 'em a break, or a bid to play with.
Wednesday evening, it's finally here, the first couple of auctions on your list. You're at the computer, ready to go. And now it's showtime, or almost. Now the auction is nearly over. There is 8 minutes to go, and the six prior bidders are quiet, but the action is going to be in the last minute. Do be sure you are logged in and ready to bid, that lapse can be fatal to a purchase. (Don't ask me how I know this.) Showtime is soon, but not yet. Look at your note, and figure how much you want to pay for that note, and type your bid in the bid window. Do not yet place the bid, you've got eight minutes, right? Patience is a virtue, and bidding against yourself is a sin. You've already done all this homework, hopefully, or you can just price by 'feel', your choice. Everything works. I ignore postage fees in my bidding if it's under a certain amount, say $3 or so. Attending a local show costs me $20 in gas and another $15 in a meal, and I still might not get the note I'm bidding on. So just figure the price of the note. I use the catalog, values on Ebay, (including BIN), and Realbanknotes.com for my price guides. This is part of your Watch List research, you've got a day or two, or a week, before the auction ends to do some homework.
The 8 minutes is now 3 minutes, and your bid is typed in the window and you're ready to hit the 'Confirm' key, sending your legal bid to Ebay. Not yet, keep waiting. If you really, really, want this note, go ahead and raise your bid to any level you want, but I generally don't do that, just stick with my top price and a bit. Whatever, just keep waiting. At less than 1 minute, get ready to pounce. This is called 'sniping'. You are silent, hidden, with your finger on the button. You are One Bid, One Note. A killer in concealment. At ten to fifteen seconds, no more than 4 or 5 seconds, hit your 'Confirm' button and send your bid. Ebay will now sort out all the amounts and submittal times and declare the winner. You stand a very good chance of being the winner. Winning bids are one advance over the next lower bid. You will never win any auction paying more than a few bucks over the next bidder. If you bid $53.46, and the lower bid is $53.45, you will be top bid at $53.46, but in general the advance rules hold and pennies won't count, important as they may be. Let's be honest, you will lose to a higher bid, or an identical bid made before yours. That's fair, nothing to cry about. You can't win them all. But, I guarantee you, you will win more than you did before, and more importantly, you will have spent the least amount of money in doing so. Most other bidders are bargain hunters just like you, only a few are 'any price' bidders, so just be $2.50 ahead of the next-high bidder and you've got that Wesayso Republic note with the smiling President-for-Life portrait for your collection. Congratulations !
I've just started buying graded notes from select eras and countries, and can tell you the difference in cost between BIN and my 'snipe' can be 70% in cost. I like putting that money I saved into another nice note for the collection. Or maybe go out for a good dinner, always a positive activity, even for us nerd-like anti-social banknote collectors. ( I have yet to meet a collector who wasn't an outgoing nice person) You will save, over time, between 10% and 30% of your collection budget. Consider your time to be that money, we all want to be able to buy more banknotes.
A final word about Buy It Now, BIN. Do examine the offers for the 'Make Offer" option. Then do make an offer instead of paying full freight. You will save between 7% and 26% on the asking price, according to my own statistics of last year. That amounts to over $400 in money saved for me, which I plow back into more banknotes for the collection or just save it up for later. I'll have a little put aside for that upcoming Wesayso Republic note with the black margins commemorating the recent death of the President-for-Life, something to look forward to. I have had only one Offer rejected, then vendor just thought $5 off a $40 note was too much to bear. His problem, not mine. So do use the feature. If you have to Buy It Now, go right ahead, but Make Offers where you can and save a buck or two.
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.
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?
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:
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:
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.
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:
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.
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.
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?
2. A portrait of Sir Edmund Hillary, the conqueror of Mount Everest, appears on what nation's banknote?
a. New Zealand
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
8. The abbreviation “M/C” found in catalog bank note descriptions stands for?
a. Mostly cancelled
c. Military counter-stamp
d. Most often collected
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?