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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

17 April 2021

..Solomon Islands - $2 Polymer Specimen CBSI Silver Jubilee Commemorative & $50 Prefix A/25 Both Issued in 2001

Solomon Islands

Central Bank of Solomon Islands (CBSI)
Currency : Dollar (SBD)

Here I posted two specimen notes of $2 polymer and $50 paper banknote both issued in 2001. The two notes that I have posted here are both signed by the Governor, Rick N Houenipwela (tenure 1993-2008) and George Kiriau as Secretary to the Ministry of Finance. These are the only two notes that have been printed with these combinations of signatures in 2001.


This is a 2001 polymer note commemorating the Central Bank of Solomon Islands (CBSI) 25th Silver Jubilee Anniversary 1976-2001. This is the first time that the Solomon Islands has issued a polymer note and these notes were printed by Note Printing Australia Limited (NPA) and as such no replacement notes were printed for this series. 

In 1976, the government passed the Central Bank of Solomon Islands Act and the central bank, Solomon Islands Monetary Authority (SIMA) was established. At the time of the passing of the Act, the country was still under British rule. However, independence came on 07.07.1978. Later more powers and responsibilities were added to the bank and in February 1983 it changed its name to the Central Bank of Solomon Islands. 

Since the establishment of the central bank in 1976, Solomon Islands issued its first banknotes and coins series in 1977. Prior to this, all banknotes in the Solomon Islands were managed by the treasury and in those days banknotes were issued under the name of the British Solomon Islands. 

Whilst this was the first polymer note issued in the country, no further polymer note was issued until in 2018 when the bank released a $40 polymer commemorative note for the celebration of the country's 40th year of independence from the British (1978-2018) and then in 2019, a $5 polymer normal note for general circulation.

For the first time since 1977, the prefix for this series starting with AA01. This is expected given that these notes were printed by NPA.

I also noticed that the colour printed for the vertical serial numbers on the right-hand side of the note is not the same as those printed for the circulating note. The colour for the specimen notes looks like printed with maroon colour and the circulating note is more like in red. Perhaps it's only what I have.

This is a very sweet and satisfying acquisition for me. I have waited for almost 20 years to get this specimen note. Many of these were selling in the 2000s and I didn't buy one as I felt that it was a bit pricey then. Even now, I still think those available in the market are still asking a bit too much. I am not against those dealers who are selling this note expensive. Everyone is in for a profit and there is nothing wrong with that. However, personally I believe this specimen note is not rare because I understand that many of these notes are already in the collector's hand, especially those serious collectors. Prices of banknotes are usually driven by serious and wealthy collectors who can afford whatever the asking price are and just can't wait to get them to satisfy their huge ego. I am sometimes like that too except that I do not have a good bank manager to back me up on this hobby. Needless to say, I am happy to get this specimen note to add to my specimen collections now.

So, was this the only note issued that celebrated the Silver Jubilee of CBSI? Please read more below. 

Two Dollars Polymer Specimen
nd2001, Coat of Arms, artifacts, CBSI commemorative logo
Reverse - Group of men fishing as a team


This was a one off issue of the $50 reprint and was released in 2001. A quick glance and you can almost say that this note is the same as the last issue in 1996 (P22). In fact, this is an upgrade on the design with a flag of Solomon Islands added to the left side of the note. In addition to this, a segmented security thread is also added to the note. This note is basically a reprint of the 1996 issue (P22) with minor upgrades, but why just one note and not others. Obviously central banks usually print new banknotes due to depletion of existing stock. I am asking this question as I have a feeling that this note was printed to complement the celebration of the Silver Jubilee of CBSI. The reason I am saying this is that this note was printed with the letter alphabet A over 25 (A/25 prefix). Why print a single note with such a high prefix of A/25 when the A/1 has not been used until the 2005 series. If this was a normal issue then why didn't they use the prefix of say D/1 as previous $50 issues were printed with the prefixes of B/1 in 1986 and C/1 in 1996. I have not seen any banknotes of Solomon Islands that have a prefix in double digits (except the 2018 $40 commemorative polymer note celebrating the country's 40th Independence anniversary SI/40). So, what's the story here for this 2001 issue then? It is obvious that this note was meant to be for the Silver Jubilee celebration of the central bank and as such the number '25' was printed. I have no concrete proof to back up my story here but unless someone can come up with a better explanation, I will treat this note as another commemorative issue as well.

Fifty Dollars Specimen
nd2001, flag, Coat of Arms, artifacts
Reverse - butterflies, reptiles, giant sea clam

Footnote 👉
Unlike those specimen notes printed before, these two notes were printed with a single word 'SPECIMEN' only instead of two on the front and back. 

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