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09 March 2020

Hong Kong, Standard Chartered Bank (Hong Kong) Limited - 2018 Series Full Set $20 to $1000

中華人民共和國香港特別行政區
Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR)

渣打銀行(香港)有限公司
Standard Chartered Bank (Hong Kong) Limited* (SCB)
Currency : Dollar (HKD)

In July 2018, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority and the three note-issuing banks in Hong Kong announced the new series of banknotes. This is the latest series of Standard Chartered Bank's banknotes, with the first note, $1000 issued on 12.12.2018. This series comprises of 5 notes. The notes were released in stages between 2018 and 2020. Despite this series were released in 3 stages, all notes are dated 1 January 2018. Standard Chartered Bank has been issuing banknotes since 1860s (then under the name of The Chartered Bank of India, Australia and China).

The general themes of this series are; -

Front : SCB Head Office building;
Back : The city’s rich natural and cultural heritage;
$20 – Dim sum and tea culture (yum cha);
$50 – Hong Kong butterflies;
$100 – Cantonese opera;
$500 – Hong Kong UNESCO Global Geopark;
$1000 – International financial center.

This is the first time in the history of Hong Kong banknotes that the themes on the reverse side of the three note-issuing banks' notes are the same for each denomination, albeit difference designs. Unlike the previous series, there are no description texts printed on the back of the notes.

The designs on the front are almost all the same (except for the Dynamic Shimmering Pattern and underprint) and on the back, they are printed with the following images;-
$20 - waiter serving tea to diners (yum cha) (143mm x 71.5mm);
$50 - butterfly (148mm x 74mm);
$100 - Cantonese opera (man and woman performing) (153mm x 76.5mm);
$500 - hexagonal rock formation (158mm x 79mm);
$1000 - Hong Kong skyline (financial center) illustrated by binary numbers - 1 & 0 (163mm x 81.5).

It has been reported that the notes are manufactured with a thin a transparent protective layer on it which will prolong the life span of the note by up to two more years. It is believed that banknotes issued by Standard Chartered Bank represents approximately 15%+ of the total banknotes issued in Hong Kong.

In a change from the traditional horizontal design, the reverse side of the new banknotes is vertically orientated.

Of the three banks in Hong Kong, only the Standard Chartered Bank's notes are signed by two bank executives. I believe the signatures on these notes belong to: -

Ms Mary Huen Wai Yee - Chief Executive Officer
Mr Hau Yee Mann - Chief Financial Officer

Twenty Dollars
Dated 2018, Standard Chartered Bank Building, tea leaves (Dynamic Shimmering Pattern)
Reverse - waiter serving tea to diners (yum cha)
Fifty Dollars
Dated 2018, Standard Chartered Bank Building, butterfly (Dynamic Shimmering Pattern)
Reverse - Blue-Spotted Crow butterfly, larva, pupa
One Hundred Dollars
Dated 2018, Standard Chartered Bank Building,Yueqin (musical instrument - Dynamic Shimmering Pattern)
Reverse - Cantonese opera performing at the Xiqu Centre at Tsim Sha Tsui
Five Hundred Dollars
Dated 2018, Standard Chartered Bank Building, rock columns (Dynamic Shimmering Pattern)
Reverse - hexagonal rock formation
One Thousand Dollars
Dated 2018, Standard Chartered Bank Building, Bauhinia flower (Dynamic Shimmering Pattern)
Reverse - Hong Kong financial center illustrated by binary numbers - 1 & 0, Star ferry
Together with the two other banks (The HongKong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited and Bank of China (Hong Kong) Limited) that issue banknotes in Hong Kong, the new HK$1,000 banknotes was issued on 12.12.2018 while the HK$500 entered into circulation on 23.01.2019. The HK$100 was released on 03.09.2019 and the remaining two notes, HK$50 and HK$20 banknotes were made available on 13.01.2020. The existing series of banknotes remains legal tender in Hong Kong and continues to circulate along with the new series.

These notes were printed by Hong Kong Note Printing Limited (HKNPL - 香港印鈔有限公司). The printing plant is located in Tai Po Hong Kong. The Hong Kong Government in 1996 bought over the printing plant from De La Rue Group (UK). Since then, the Hong Kong Government holds 55% of the shares in this company. The remaining 45% are owned by China Banknotes Printing and Minting Corporation (15%) and 10% each for the three note-issuing banks in Hong Kong.

Note * - since 1 July 2004

08 March 2020

Hong Kong, Bank of China (Hong Kong) Limited - 2018 Series Full Set $20 to $1000

中華人民共和國香港特別行政區
Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR)

中國銀行(香港)有限公司
Bank of China (Hong Kong) Limited* (BoC)
Currency : Dollar (HKD)

In July 2018, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority and the three note-issuing banks in Hong Kong announced the new series of banknotes. This is the latest series of Bank of China's banknotes, first issued in 2018 ($1000 on 12.12.2018) with all notes dated 1 January 2018. This series was released in stages between 2018 to 2020. The general themes of this series are; -

Front: Bauhinia flower, floral emblem of Hong Kong and Bank of China (HK) Tower
Back: The city’s rich natural and cultural heritage;
$20 – Dim sum and tea culture;
$50 – Hong Kong butterflies;
$100 – Cantonese opera;
$500 – Hong Kong UNESCO Global Geopark;
$1000 – International financial Center.

This is BoC fourth series of Hong Kong banknotes. The bank's first series was released on 01.05.1994. The other two series were first dated 2003 and 2010.

Bank of China (fourth Series)

$20 – Tea set (143mm x 71.5mm);
$50 – Butterfly with flowers (148mm x 74mm);
$100 – Female Cantonese opera (153mm x 76.5mm);
$500 – Coastline, hexagonal rock formation (158mm x 79mm);
$1000 – two human heads with binary and globe brains (163mm x 81.5mm).

BOCHK’s new series of HK dollars banknotes feature a bauhinia flower, the floral emblem of Hong Kong, and the city’s landmark Bank of China (HK) Tower on the front panels in a brand new pattern. On the back panels are five major design themes: Tea Culture, Ecological Conservation, Cultural Heritage, Natural Scenery and a Smart Metropolis. The new banknotes showcase Hong Kong as a city of East and West, a blend of old and new, and a place enriched by the beauty of nature and humanity.

This is the first time in the history of Hong Kong banknotes that the themes on the reverse side of the three note-issuing banks' notes are the same for each denomination, albeit difference designs. Unlike the previous series, there are no description texts printed on the back of the notes.

In a change from the traditional horizontal design, the reverse side of the new banknotes is vertically orientated. In addition, BOCHK has blended traditional design artistry with modern printing technology to create these delicate banknotes in bright colour tones.

It has been reported that the notes are manufactured with a thin a transparent protective layer on it which will prolong the life span of the note by up to two more years. It is believed that circulation of banknotes issued by Bank of China represents approximately 25%+ of the total banknotes issued in Hong Kong.

Signature : Gao Yingxin 高应新 (Chief Executive)

Twenty Dollars
Dated 2018, Bank of China (Hong Kong) Tower, Bauhinia flower, tea leaves (Dynamic Shimmering Pattern)
Reverse - tea leave, tea set, dim sum
Fifty Dollars
Dated 2018, Bank of China (Hong Kong) Tower, Bauhinia flower, butterfly (Dynamic Shimmering Pattern)
Reverse - butterfly feeding on flower
One Hundred Dollars
Dated 2018, Bank of China (Hong Kong) Tower, Bauhinia flower, Yueqin (musical instrument - Dynamic Shimmering Pattern)
Reverse - Cantonese Opera female singer with Chinese fan
Five Hundred Dollars
Dated 2018, Bank of China (Hong Kong) Tower, Bauhinia flower, rock columns (Dynamic Shimmering Pattern)
Reverse - Hexagonal Rock Columns
One Thousand Dollars
Dated 2018, Bank of China (Hong Kong) Tower, Bauhinia flower (Dynamic Shimmering Pattern)
Reverse - two human heads with binary and globe brains
Together with the two other major banks (The HongKong and Shanghai Banking Corporation and Standard Chartered Bank Limited) that issue banknotes in Hong Kong, the new HK$1,000 banknotes was issued on 12.12.2018 while the HK$500 entered into circulation on 23.01.2019. The HK$100 was released on 03.09.2019 and the remaining two notes, HK$50 and HK$20 banknotes were made available on 13.01.2020. The existing series of banknotes remains legal tender in Hong Kong and continues to circulate along with the new series.

These notes were printed by Hong Kong Note Printing Limited (HKNPL - 香港印鈔有限公司). The printing plant is located in Tai Po Hong Kong. The Hong Kong Government in 1996 bought over the printing plant from De La Rue Group (UK). Since then, the Hong Kong Government holds 55% of the shares in this company. The remaining 45% are owned by China Banknotes Printing and Minting Corporation (15%) and 10% each for the three note-issuing banks in Hong Kong.

Note* 12 September 2001

07 March 2020

Hong Kong, HongKong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited - 2018 Series Full Set $20 to $1000

中華人民共和國香港特別行政區
Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR)

香港上海滙豐銀行有限公司
The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited* (HSBC)
Currency : Dollar (HKD)

In July 2018, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority and the three note-issuing banks in Hong Kong announced the new series of banknotes. This is the latest series of HSBC's banknotes, first issued in 2018 ($1000 on 12.12.2018) with all notes printed with the date of 1 January 2018. This series was released in stages between 2018 to 2020. The general themes of this series are; -

The city’s rich natural and cultural heritage;-
$20 – Dim sum and tea culture;
$50 – Hong Kong butterflies;
$100 – Cantonese opera;
$500 – Hong Kong UNESCO Global Geopark;
$1000 – International financial Center.

The main feature on the front design on all the notes is the Lion head (Stitt) sculpture which is stationed outside the bank's head quarter in Hong Kong. The lion sculptures have been a distinctive landmark in its own right in Hong Kong, Shanghai and London offices as well. To the local in Hong Kong, HSBC is also sometime referred to as the Lion Bank 獅子銀行, because of the lion sculptures.

There is an interesting story to tell for the two lions sculptures. These two lions are nicknamed after two bank former employees, namely Alexander Gordan "Stephen" (mouth opened) and Gorden Holmes "Stitt" (mouth closed). The lions were designed by Henry Poole in England in 1921 and shipped to the Shanghai office in 1923. They were so popular among the locals that two more were commissioned for the new Hong Kong head office when it was opened in 1935. "Stephen" was the Chief Manager of Hong Kong and "Stitt" was the Shanghai office manager (Stephen's successor). During the Second World War, these two lions were looted by the Japanese military and shipped to Japan with the intention to use it as scrap metal. Fortunately this did not happen and in 1945, the lions were returned to Hong Kong after they were spotted by an American sailor at the Osaka dockyard. Based on the designs of this series, only "Stitt" is depicted on the front of the notes. "Stitt" (together with "Stephen") first appeared on the HSBC 1972 banknote of $100. 

The image of "Stitt" printed on this series are not all the same. If you look at the design, "Stitt" is turning from left to right on each note, turning at a pace of say 45 degrees angle per note, ie starting with 0 degree ($20); 45 degrees ($50); 90 degrees ($100); 135 degrees ($500) and 180 degrees ($1000).
"Stitt" turning from left to right (courtesy of HSBC)
Front : Lion head (Stitt);
$20 – Tea gathering (143mm x 71.5mm);
$50 – Butterfly and flowers (148mm x 74mm);
$100 – Cantonese opera (153mm x 76.5mm);
$500 – Hexagonal rock columns (158mm x 79mm);
$1000 – Financial metropolis (163mm x 81.5mm).

This is the first time in the history of Hong Kong banknotes that the themes on the reverse side of the three note-issuing banks' notes are the same for each denomination, albeit difference designs. Out of the three banks that issuing banknotes in Hong Kong, for this 2018 series, only the HSBC notes are all printed with the description texts on the back designs, in both Chinese and English.

In a change from the traditional horizontal design, the reverse side of the new banknotes is vertically orientated.

It has been reported that the notes are manufactured with a thin a transparent protective layer on it which will prolong the life span of the note by up to two more years. In Hong Kong, more than 50% of the circulations of banknotes are issued by HSBC.

Signature : Peter Wong Tung-Shun (Chief Executive)

Twenty Dollars
Dated 2018, Lion head (Stitt), tea leaves (Dynamic Shimmering Pattern)
Reverse - 一家茶敍 Tea Gathering - young child pouring tea for the elder generations (yum cha)
Fifty Dollars
Dated 2018, Lion head (Stitt), butterfly (Dynamic Shimmering Pattern)
Reverse - 舞蝶花間 Butterfly resting on China Rose Hibiscus flower
One Hundred Dollars
Dated 2018, Lion head (Stitt), Yueqin (musical instrument - Dynamic Shimmering Pattern)
Reverse - 梨園粵韻 Cantonese Opera - a loving couple meeting in a Chinese garden
Five Hundreds Dollars
Dated 2018, Lion head (Stitt), rock columns (Dynamic Shimmering Pattern)
Reverse - 六角石柱 Hexagonal Rock Columns at High Island Reservoir East Dam with two hikers, White-bellied Sea Eagles
One Thousand Dollars
Dated 2018, Lion head (Stitt), Bauhinia flower (Dynamic Shimmering Pattern)
Reverse - 金融都會 Financial Metropolis (panoramic fisheye view of Hong Kong financial center), Lion Rock background
Together with the two other major banks (Standard Chartered Bank (Hong Kong) Limited and Bank of China (Hong Kong) Limited) that issue banknotes in Hong Kong, the new HK$1,000 banknotes was issued on 12.12.2018 while the HK$500 entered into circulation on 23.01.2019. The HK$100 was released on 03.09.2019 and the remaining two notes, HK$50 and HK$20 banknotes were made available on 13.01.2020. The existing series of banknotes remains legal tender in Hong Kong and continues to circulate along with the new series.

These notes were printed by Hong Kong Note Printing Limited (HKNPL - 香港印鈔有限公司). The printing plant is located in Tai Po Hong Kong. The Hong Kong Government in 1996 bought over the printing plant from De La Rue Group (UK). Since then, the Hong Kong Government holds 55% of the shares in this company. The remaining 45% are owned by China Banknotes Printing and Minting Corporation (15%) and 10% each for the three note-issuing banks in Hong Kong. 

Interesting Fact:
When Hong Kong was under the British rule, the spelling of the territory was in one word ie Hongkong. Despite the government changed this to a two-word name (ie Hong Kong) on 03.09.1926, the bank retained the single word spelling in it's own name ie Hongkong.

Note * - since 1993 the HSBC bank's name includes the word "Limited"

07 December 2019

North Korea - 5000 Won 70th Year of Diplomatic Relationship between China and North Korea 1949 - 2019

조선민주주의인민공화국
Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)

Central Bank of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

This 5000 won note was issued to celebrate the 70th Year of Diplomatic Relationship between China and North Korea 1949 - 2019. The diplomatic relationship between the two countries started on 06.10.1949.

The design on this note is the same as those last issued but with the following commemorative text added to the watermark area;

조중외교관계설정 (Diplomatic Relations Establishment)*
70 돐 / 周年 (70th Year Anniversary)
1949-2019
中朝建交 (China-DPRK diplomatic relations)

On the right it also has the following Korean character printed in red;
기념 - ginyeom/commemoration

Five Thousand Won
Dated 2019
Reverse
Footnote *: the above translation from Korean to English may not be completely accurate.