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Total commemorative banknotes issued is under 1,500 pieces. If you have achieved any figures close to this, then you are doing extremely well, as many of the older commemorative notes are hard to find even in poor conditions.

Opinion: Many collectors of commemorative banknotes would have come across with those Somaliland sets overprinted with gold and silver texts with the following wordings - 5th Anniversary of Independence 18 May 1996 [Sanad Gurade 5ee Gobanimadda 18 May 1996]. I believe these are "home made" (or fake) and not authorised by the central bank. My argument is simple. No central bank would have issued an overprint commemorative banknote that the texts are so large that it would cover the two signatures on the note as well as part of the serial numbers. Even if these are genuine notes, then these could be issued as souvenir sheets and not as legal tender. As I said before, this is my opinion. If you have paid top dollars for these, please think about my argument. There is always a sucker around the corner, including me of course!

All comments are most welcome but it has to be subjects related to banknotes or banknotes collection. If not, it will not be approved. Thanks

20 October 2021

..Algeria - 2000 Dinars 58th Anniversary of Independence Dated 2020

الجمهورية الجزائرية الديمقراطية الشعبية
 (People's Democratic Republic of Algeria)

بنك الجزائر
(Banque D'Algerie)
Currency - Dinar (DZD)
The Algeria War of Independence against the French colonial rule started on 01.11.1954 and ended on 19.03.1962 when the then French President Charles de Gaulle finally agreed to have a series of negotiations with the National Liberation Front, who has been fighting against the French since 1954. The negotiations let to two referendums and on 05.07.1962, Algeria finally obtained its independence from the French. Algeria had been occupied by the French since 05.07.1830 (132 years of French rule).
Whilst this note was released on 18.03.2021, the celebration was for the country's 58th Anniversary of Independence which was in 2020. The banknote is dated 05.07.2020, which is also the 58th anniversary of independence.

The designs of this commemorative banknote, on the front, features the six Algeria Heroes of Independence, the leaders of the Front de Libération Nationale (or National Liberation Front - FLN) in the War of Independence. They are: Standing L-R: Rabah Bitat (b.1925-2000), Mostefa Ben Boulaïd (b.1917-1956), Mourad Didouche (b.1927-1955) and Mohammed Boudiaf (b.1919-1992);
Seated L-R: Krim Belkacem (b.1922-1970) and Larbi Ben M’Hidi (b.1923-1957).
The image of these six people came from a photo taken together just before the revolution outbreak on 01.11.1954. As you can see, three died before Algeria achieved its independence and only one died of natural cause in the year 2000, at aged 74. The rest died horribly either in the hand of their enemies or from someone they trusted with their life.

Mostefa Ben Boulaïd - killed in the blast of a parachuted French radio (assassinated, 39yo);
Mourad Didouche - killed in action at the Battle of Douar Souadek (28yo);
Larbi Ben M’Hidi - captured and executed by the French (34yo);
Rabah Bitat - natural death (74yo);
Mohammed Boudiaf - assassinated by a bodyguard in Annaba Algeria (73yo); and
Krim Belkacem - assassinated in a hotel room in Frankfurt Germany (48yo).

After independent, Rabah Bitat went on and served as interim President of Algeria on 27.12.1978, following the death of President Houari Boumediere (b.1932-1978). Mohammed Boudiaf became the Chairman of the High Council of State (Head of State) from 16.01.1992 until 29.06.1992 when he was assassinated.

In addition to the six national heroes, the note also features the mountain ranges of Bouzegza, Aures and Kherrata on the background and the Sanctuaire des Martyrs (Martyrs Memorial) in Algiers on the right. The Martyrs Memorial was built in 1982 to commemorate the Algerian war against the French and was unveiled on the 20th anniversary of Algeria's independence. The image of this feature is printed on a rolling colour effect. This monument was the main feature on the 200 dinars banknote issued in 1983.
On the back, it features the Foggara, an underground water conduit system of Beni Fought in Adrar, and a Numidian mausoleum in Imedghassen.

It has been reported that this note was locally produced at the new plant in Sidi Moussa, in northern Algeria.
Governor (right) - Rothom Fadhili (since 2020)
Secretary to the Currency and Credit Council (left) - Salah Eddine Taleb
Dimensions - 159mm x 72mm
Watermark - Amir Abd el-Kader ibn Muhieddine (b.1808-1883)
Two Thousand Dinars
The six national heroes of Algeria Independence

Rabah Bitat - natural death (74yo);
Mostefa Ben Boulaïd - killed in the blast of a parachuted French radio (assassinated, 39yo);
Mourad Didouche - killed in action at the Battle of Douar Souadek (28yo);
Mohammed Boudiaf - assassinated by a bodyguard in Annaba Algeria (73yo);
Krim Belkacem - assassinated in a hotel room in Frankfurt Germany (48yo); and
Larbi Ben M’Hidi - captured and executed by the French (34yo);
Foggara, an underground water conduit system of Beni Fought in Adrar, Numidian mausoleum in Imedghassen

Do you know the story behind a banknote? Collecting them is fun. Knowing the story behind it is even more interesting.

08 September 2021

..Cuba - 500 Pesos Dated 2019 500th Anniversary of the Foundation of Havana Commemorative

República de Cuba
(Republic of Cuba)

Banco Central De Cuba
(Central Bank of Cuba)
Currency - Peso (CUP)

November 16th, 2019, marks the 500th anniversary of the foundation of the city of San Cristóbal de La Habana by the Spaniard Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar (Conquistador 1465-1524). As part of the celebrations for the 500th Anniversary, a new 500 pesos banknote is issued to commemorate this special occasion.

On the front, it depicts the portrait of Ignacio Agramonte (b.1841-1873), a Cuban revolutionary. The commemorative text of "Anniversary 500 Foundation City of Havana, 16/11/1519" is printed in the center of the note.
Aniversario 500 Fundacion
ciudad de la Habana
An image of the La Giraldilla is also printed between the commemorative text. The La Giraldilla is a weather vane and for more than three and a half centuries overlooked Havana's harbour from the top of the Castle of the Royal Force (Castillo de la Real Fuerza) in the city's old quarter.  
The note is also printed with the year date of 2019. 
Five Hundred Pesos
Dated 2019, Ignacio Agramonte (b.1841-1873)

On the back, it illustrated a gated building (El Templete) built on the original site of the city's foundation in 1519 and below with the following commemorative texts are added - EL TEMPLETE (1828) - SITIO FUNDACIONAL DE LA HABANA (1519) (El templete (1828) - Foundational Site of Havana 1519).

There are not many countries around that world today that still designs/print banknotes with white edges both front and back. Current series of Cuban pesos are all designed in this manner. Apart from the front of this note, the back is basically printed on mono colour.

The Cuban pesos are a closed currency even though it has an exchange rate of 25 pesos to one US dollar. The Cuban peso is not negotiable outside its territory and as such it's worthless except to collectors. Also, according to the Cuban laws, it is illegal to take Cuban pesos out of the country.

President - Irma Margarita Martinez Castrillon (tenure 2017 - 2020)
Dimensions: 150mm x 70mm

El Templete

Cuban banknotes are now harder to find due to the current United States trade embargo against the country. US citizens are allowed to visit Cuba albeit some restrictions applied. The United States embargo against Cuba started since the 1958 and it is now over 63 years. I remembered that I used to be able to buy Cuban banknotes but over the past few years, they are now less appearing especially those newer issues. Same goes to banknotes of Iran and North Korea too.
This note is printed off center and it also has the cutting cup mark on the top edge where the security thread is. Cutting cup mark is very common for paper notes. Some collectors do not like this and I believe some dealers/sellers tried to iron them and flatten it out as much as they can, which is not a good thingy to do. So if you insist on not have a note with cutting cup mark, you have been warned 😋 

04 September 2021

..Turkmenistan - 1, 5, 10, 20, 50 & 100 Manat 25th Anniversary of Country's Neutrality Commemorative

Republic of Turkmenistan
Türkmenistanyň Merkezi Banky
(Central Bank of Turkmenistan)
 Currency - Manat (TMT)
This is a full set of six commemorative notes reportedly issued on 12.12.2020. These notes were issued to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Day of Neutrality, first adopted via a United Nation Assemble Resolution 50/08 on 12.12.1995. Turkmenistan has also adopted this day to express the country's neutrality in the Central Asia region. Technically there are about 19 countries that are considered to be neutral. These countries are - Austria, Costa Rica, Finland, Ireland, Japan, Liechtenstein, Malta, Mexico, Mongolia, Moldova, Panama, Rwanda, Serbia, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Vatican City. Honestly, in my opinion, some of these countries should not be considered as a neutral nation.

The designs on these notes are basically the same as those first issued in 2009, but modified to include the commemorative logo for this issue. 
On the front of the notes are printed with a portrait of a famous Turkmen, the State Emblem and the map of Turkmenistan. On the back it depicts a building/monument. All notes are also printed with the Turkmen text of - XXI ASYR - TURKMENIN ALTYN ASYRY, literary means THE XXI CENTURY - THE GOLDEN AGE OF THE TURKMEN. Previous issues are also printed with the same text on the back of the notes too. 
This set of notes are all dated 2020.
The currency of Turkmenistan is called Manat. It was first introduced in 1993 soon after gaining independent of the Soviet Union. A manat is subdivided into 100 tenge. The name manat derived from the Persian word, 'munat' or the Russian word 'mohema', which literally means coin. Apart from Turkmenistan, the currency of Azerbaijan is also called manat. 

Chairman - Merdan Annadurddiyev (Annadurdiyev), appointed since January 2015.
1 Manat - 120mm x 60mm
5 Manat - 127mm x 63mm
10 Manat - 133mm x 66mm
20 Manat - 139mm x 69mm
50 Manat - 144.5mm x 72mm
100 Manat - 151mm x 75mm

One Manat
Dated 2020, Togrul Beg Turkmen (b.990-1063), Emblem, Map
Turkmenbasy Halkara Deniz Porty (International Seaport at the Caspian Sea), Turkmen Alem 52०E (satellite)

Five Manat
Dated 2020, Soltan Sanjar Turkmen (b.1086-1157), Emblem, Map
Bitaraplyk Binasy
Ten Manat
Dated 2020, Magtymguly Pyragy, Emblem, Map
Turkmenistanyu Merkezi Banky (Central Bank building)
Twenty Manat
Dated 2020, Gorgoly Beg Turkmen (heroic legend), Emblem, Map
Ruhyyet Kosgi (Palace for Official events, Government functions, International meetings)
Fifty Manat
Dated 2020, Gorkut Ata Turkmen. Emblem, Map
Konstitusiya Binasy (Constitution Monument)
One Hundred Manat
Dated 2020, Oguz Han Turkmen, Emblem, Map
Oguzhan Koskler Toplumy

In one of the reports, it has been said that the symbol of the year "Turkmenistan - the homeland of Neutrality" depicted on the reverse side of the new banknotes was made using rainbow printing. Honestly, I have no idea what was this about nor I can see this on the back of the notes. 
All banknotes of the Central Bank of Turkmenistan series of 2009, 2012, 2014 and 2017 continue to be legal in the country.
We do not get much news about Turkmenistan in my part of the world. However, after doing simple research on the Internet, it is interesting to find out that getting a visa to visit this country is not an easy task. Turkmenistan is not a rich country but rich in natural gas. They have so much reserve that the government provided free gas and electricity to the people of just over 6+ million from 1993 to 2017. As the gas and electricity were free, many people would just leave the heaters on 24 hours, especially when it is cold. The streets in Turkmenistan are very quiet, very similar to North Korea. Whilst North Korea is a poor country with very little natural resources, I am not sure why the people in Turkmenistan are not venturing out more often? It is also reported that the country is know for it autocratic government? Turkmenistan gained independent in 1991 from the Soviet Union, and ruled by Saparmurat Niyazor (President for life). He was the President from 1990 to until his death in 2006.

19 August 2021

..Transnistria - 1 Ruble 30th Year of Financial System of Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic (PMR)

 Република Молдовеняскэ Нистрянэ
Приднестровская Молдавская Республика
(Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic)

Transnistrian Republic Bank
Currency : Ruble (RUP)

Here is another commemorative overprint note of one ruble. This note was reportedly issued on 01.04.2021, celebrating the 30th year of the first Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic's bank. The designs of this note is the same at those previous notes issued in 2012 (dated 2007), but with the commemorative text and logo added to the watermark area on the right-hand side of the note. There are no changes to the design on the back. As usual, only 2,500 sets were issued and again, I do not have information as to what was the official issue price for this set.

This is the 17th series of commemorative notes have issued since 2009. In all, 24 commemorative notes have been released and it seems that there is no end in sight to this kind of commemorative issues. 

Like those previously released, the commemorative text printed on the note, read as follows:-

Финансовой Системе ПМР
(Financial System of PMR )
One Ruble
Russian General Alexander Vassilyevich Suvorov (b.1730-1800)
Kitskansk Bridgehead memorial or Chiţcani monument in Chitcani

Front Cover
Inside Cover

Russian General Alexander Vassilyevich Suvorov (b.1730-1800)
Kitskansk Bridgehead memorial or Chiţcani monument in Chitcani
Previous issues:

All commemorative banknotes issued since 2009;-
2009 - 15th Year of National Currency (1);
2014 - 20th Year of National Currency (4);
2015 - 70th Year of Victory in World War Two (2);
2015 - 25th Year of Transnistria Republic (4);
2017 - 100 Years of the Great October Socialist Revolution (2);
2017 - 100th Year of KGB/State Security Bodies (1);
2017 - 100 Years of Police Force (1);
2017 - 100 Years of Armed Force (1);
2018 - 100 Years of Border Troops (1);
2019 - 30 Years of the Soviet Troops withdrawing from Afghanistan (1);
2019 - 75th Anniversary of the Liberation from Nazi Invaders (1);
2019 - 75th Anniversary of Jassy-Kishinev Operation (1);
2019 - 25 Years of National Currency (1);
2020 - 75 Years of the End of World War Two (1);
2020 - 30th Year of the Formation of Transnistria (1).
2021 - 30th Anniversary of the First PMR Bank (1).

15 August 2021

..Macau, Banco Nacional Ultramarino - 10 Patacas Year of the Rat 2020

(Região Administrativa Especial de Macau da República Popular da China)
(Macau Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China)

(Banco Nacional Ultramarino)
Currency - Pataca (MOP)
This is the latest issue and the ninth note of the Chinese Zodiac series of banknote of 10 patacas, first started in 2012 with the Year of the Dragon. In 2020, Chinese New Year was celebrated on 25.01.2020 and was the Year of the Rat. According to the Chinese Zodiac cycle, the Rat is the first animal listed on the 12 year cycle. According to the Chinese, those who were born in the Rat year are generally considered to be forthright, honest, easy to get along, hard working, thrifty and generous too.
In addition to Banco Nacional Ultramarino (BNU), the Bank of China also released one for the same series. Only two commercial banks in Macau have the licenses to issue legal tender banknotes. BNU has been issuing banknotes in Macau since the beginning of the last century whilst the Bank of China first issue banknotes in 1995.
Like those previously Chinese Zodiac banknotes series issued, registration for the notes started on 22.03.2021 until 09.04.2021. The announcement for the release of these two notes was made on 12.03.2021. Only those who were residing in Macau can apply for the notes and each application is restricted to 25 pieces each per bank. The notes were released on 04.05.2021. Apart from the two issuing banks, the notes were also distributed via 7 other commercial banks in Macau. Closing date for the collection was on 23.07.2021.
Like those previously issued, the design on the front, is the Rat Zodiac and also the Chinese Zodiac in Chinese with all 12 animals. The Chinese auspicious word 福 (Fu/Luck) is also printed on the top right-hand corner. On the back, it depicts the bank's main head office building in Macau with the image of the front entrance to the A-Ma temple (媽閣廟) together children celebrating the Chinese New Year and lighting fire crackers. On the left is the image of a Rat Zodiac in reverse. 
The A-Ma temple is a historical building and is a very famous temple in Macau. This temple was built in 1488 and is located in Sao Lourenco in the southwestern of the Macau peninsular. In 2005, it became one of the designated sites of the Historic Centre of Macau.
The design for this note is very much the same as those released by Bank of China. The only differences are the bank's name and their respective brand logo, the Head Office building in Macau and the signature printed on the note. At a quick glance without looking at the name of the bank or brand, both notes look almost identical. 

Signature - the note is signed by two Administrative Council members but I do not know who they are.
Dimensions - 138mm x 69mm

Ten Patacas
Dated 2020, Year of the Rat
Banco Nacional Ultramarino Head Office building in Macau, A-Ma temple (媽閣廟) together children celebrating the Chinese New Year and lighting fire crackers. On the left is the image of a Rat Zodiac in reverse

Official announcement:
Online registration for the exchange of the Rat and Ox Zodiac banknotes and the 20th Anniversary of the Return to the Motherland of Macao banknotes commencing next M
onday March 12th, 2021 The joint online registration for the exchange of the Rat and Ox Zodiac banknotes, together with the previously issued 20th Anniversary of the Return to the Motherland of Macao banknotes, will commence next Monday. The tentative exchange quantity for the Rat and Ox Zodiac banknotes of each Issuing Bank is 25 pieces, making a total of 100 pieces of the two types of Zodiac Banknotes from the two Issuing Banks. On the other hand, the tentative exchange quantity for the 20th Anniversary of the Return to the Motherland of Macao banknotes previously issued by each Issuing Bank is 3 pieces, making a total of 6 notes from the two Issuing Banks. Each Macao resident can only conduct a single registration for the exchange of the two types of Zodiac banknotes and the 20th Anniversary of the Return to the Motherland of Macao banknotes, with no provision for the separate exchange of any one type of note. Depending on the final number of registrants, the actual quantity to be exchanged may be adjusted and will be announced after the end of the registration period. Starting from 9:00am on 22 March 2021 and until 6:00pm on 9 April 2021, residents holding valid Macao identity cards can log onto the joint registration system of the two Issuing Banks via the website of Monetary Authority of Macao (https://www.amcm.gov.mo/static/banknotes/terms_pt.html) to conduct a one-time online registration. Apart from the two Issuing Banks - Bank of China Macao Branch (BOC) and Banco Nacional Ultramarino (BNU), residents can also select other exchange locations including the selected branches of Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (Macao) Limited, Tai Fung Bank Limited, OCBC Wing Hang Bank Limited, Luso International Banking Limited, Banco Comercial de Macao, China Construction Bank Macao Branch and China Guangfa Bank Macao Branch. While registrants should retain their registration records, they can also log onto the online registration system for inquiry of their confirmed registration details. The exchange period is between 4 May 2021 and 23 July 2021. Registrants should bring along their valid ID card and proceed in person to exchange for the notes at the chosen location on the selected day. In respect of the note exchange conducted by authorized representatives, the latter will need to bring along his/her original ID card and submit the following documents: 1. Representative’s photocopy of ID card bearing his / her signature; 2. Authorization form downloaded from AMCM’s website signed by the registrant; 3. Registrant’s photocopy of Macao ID card bearing his / her signature. At designated branches of BOC and BNU, assistance will be provided to the elderly for the conduct of the online registration process. For enquiries, please call our hotline: 2856 5071 / 2856 5072, or browse our website (https://www.amcm.gov.mo/static/banknotes/terms_pt.html).
Lunar Chinese New Year 12-year full cycle

23 January 2012 to 9 February 2013 - Dragon
10 February 2013 to 30 January 2014 - Snake
31 January 2014 to 18 February 2015 - Horse
19 February 2015 to 07 February 2016 - Goat
08 February 2016 to 27 January 2017 - Monkey
28 January 2017 to 15 February 2018 - Rooster
16 January 2018 to 04 February 2019 - Dog
05 February 2019 to 24 January 2020 - Pig
25 January 2020 to 11 February 2021 - Rat
12 February 2021 to 31 January 2022 - Ox
01 February 2022 to 21 January 2023 - Tiger
22 January 2023 to 09 February 2024 - Rabbit