This is a commemorative collector note of 5000 won issued in 2017 commemorating the 100th Birthday Anniversary of the late Kim Jong-Suk (김정숙/金正淑) who died in 1949. Kim Jong-Suk was the first wife of Kim Il-Sung (1912-1994) who ruled North Korea from 1948 to until his death in 1994. Based on this new issue, it would have suggested that Kim Jong-Suk was born in circa 1917. However various searches on the Internet have suggested that she may have been born in 1919. Most people would have agreed that she died when she was in her late 20s, however the circumstances as to how she died was not clear.
Is this a collector series note printed with 7 zeros but without the usual words "견본" (sample/specimen) printed across? It is not clear if any normal serial numbered notes have been issued for circulation. More importantly, are these notes legit or just a novelty printed for whatever celebration they wanted it to be? If this is the case, who printed them? There must be a simple explanation why these notes are all printed with zeros. The design of this note is the same as the one that first issued in 2014 (P67 dated 2013) except that the following commemorative texts are printed on the watermark area - 항일의녀성영웅김정숙동지탄생100돐기념 (basically translated as; The heroine of anti-Japanese, heroine Kim Jong-Suk's 100th birthday).
HK$100 commemorative banknote issued on 20.12.2017, celebrating the bank’s 100th year of service in Hong Kong. This note is printed with the date 24.09.2017.
*Front: The design of this Commemorative note features the BoC Tower in Hong Kong, which is also an iconic landmark in Hong Kong, the old BoCHK branch, the image of the Great Wall of China, and the BoC HQ in Beijing. The design also features the Chinese famous ancient building pillar joint/support which has been proven for thousand of years in withstanding earthquakes no matter how strong it was. These ancient pillar joints were built without any nails or screws (assembled like a jigsaw puzzle) and still can be seen in many famous old buildings around China today. The note is also printed with the Commemorative tests in Chinese "中國銀行在港服務壹佰週年" (Bank of China 100th Year of Service in Hong Kong).
*Back: Victoria harbour showing on both sides viewing from Victoria Peak with the Bank of China Tower clearly standing out from the view. Where is Two International Financial Center tower? Image of the bank's logo and surrounded by 11 smaller logos of it's subsidiaries are also added to the design to the note. Image of newspaper advertisement of the bank first opening for business in Hong Kong.
Signature: Chief Executive Yue Yi (appointed since 06.03.2015)
A total of 5 million notes printed and issued in 3 formats; -
Single folder set – 2.90M at HK288 per set;
3-in-One uncut sheet = 300,000 sets at HK$988 per set; and
30-in-One = 40,000 sets at HK$13,888.
Total sets issued = 3.24M
Prefixes issued Single: None, AA, AB, BC, HK & HY
Prefixes issued 3-in-One: None, AA, AB, BC, HK & HY
The above were opened for pre-order between 28.09.2017 to 18.10.2017. Unfortunately, like all previous banks commemorative banknotes issued in Hong Kong, the offer was only applicable to those who are residing in Hong Kong. Successful buyers were announced on 01.11.2017 with payment due by 21.11.2017. The note is then available for collection between 20.12.2017 to 31.12.2017.
In addition from the above, 388 sets (single, 3-in-1 & 30-in-1) with special or lucky numbers were sold via public auction. The bidding period was opened between 20.10.2017 to 08.11.2017. The minimum bid price ranging from HK$5,000 (single note) to HK$60,000 per set (30-in-1 uncut sheet).
BOC donated all the net proceeds from the above sales to various charity organisations in Hong Kong.
One Hundred Dollars
The Bank of China first set up their first sub-branch in Hong Kong on 24.09.1917 with less than 10 employees. In 2001, the BoCHK was formed following the merger of 9 other banks namely, The Kwangtung Provisional Bank (1905*?), Sin Hua Bank Limited (1947), The China & South Sea Bank Limited (1934), Kincheng Banking Corporation (1917*?), The China State Bank Limited (1938), The National Commercial Bank Limited (1946), The Yien Yieh Commercial Bank Limited (1915*?), Hua Chiao Commercial Bank Limited (1962) and Po Sang Bank Limited (1949). The merger was approved by the Hong Kong Legislative Council. Today BoCHK it is the second largest commercial bank (after HSBC) in Hong Kong, employing more than 12,000+ staffs looking after more than 300 branches all over Hong Kong.
* (?) - Year originally established in China. I have no info as to when were these banks first commenced trading in Hong Kong.
In case you are wondering, here are the top 10 banks in Hong Kong (2016 ranking);
HongKong & Shanghai Banking Corporation - Est.1865;
Bank of China (Hong Kong) - Est.1917;
Hang Seng Bank - Est.1933;
Standard Chartered Bank Hong Kong - Est.1859;
The Bank of East Asia - Est.1918;
Industrial & Commercial Bank of China - Est.2005;
DBS Hong Kong - Est.1999;
Wing Hang Bank - Est.1937;
Nangyang Commercial Bank - Est.1949;
Citic Bank International - Est.1989.
i) The notes were all sold at a premium as mentioned above. Unlike some of the previous issues, many of these notes are available in the market selling less than the issued prices. One of the reasons is that collectors in Hong Kong and China, and to some extent, including few other South East Asian countries, dislike collecting banknotes with serial number containing the digits of 4s and 7s. This is more of superstitious than any other reasons. To the Cantonese in Hong Kong, the #4 is sounded like death and the #7 is sounded like a male private part. Price guide printed in China also detailed price differences with the Chinese notes. This is sometime hard to avoid as in every 10 notes, there is a 4 and a 7. You will also find that a solid 4s is usually fetch a lower premium than any other solid notes. The other reason is that this is a rather large issue and too many available in the market. More importantly, I believe this issue was not as successful as those previously issued. Those who bought them thinking of making a quick profit finding themselves holding the notes with weak demand and as such cashing them in to cut their losses. Whether the issue price has any impact on this, I am not sure but then this is the fifth commemorative note issued in the territory and perhaps collectors may find the novelty fated out by now.