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08 July 2015

Hong Kong - HSBC 150th Anniversary 1865 to 2015

The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited 150th Year Anniversary
One Hundred and Fifty Dollars
Dated 2015, AA Prefix
One Hundred and Fifty Dollars
Dated 2015, AB Prefix
One Hundred and Fifty Dollars
Dated 2015, HK Prefix
The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited (HSBC) celebrating its 150th year in 2015 and released a legal tender banknote of $150 to mark this auspicious occasion. The bank first commenced trading in Hong Kong on 3 March 1865. The designs for this new note reflects the city's development over the years with street scenes from the 1950s and the changing cityscape of Victoria Harbour. Needless to say, this is a much better looking banknote than the 2009 Standard Chartered Bank $150 note (celebrating similar occasion). Two millions pieces were issued with 4 prefixes - HSBC, AA, AB and HK. The HSBC prefix note only comes with 4-digit number and it is believed that only 10,000 pieces bearing this prefix. The 2 million pieces comprises of 1.030 million single notes, 90,000 sets of 3-Uncut and 20,000 sets of 35-Uncut sheets. Issue price for the single notes were sold for HK$380; HK$1,380 for the 3-Uncut sheet and HK$23,880 for the 35-Uncut sheet. Special or unique serial numbers for all varieties were also available but these were sold via a bidding process with minimum starting bid; single note starting bid HK$8,888 (total 238 sets with prefixes of HSBC, AA and HK but no AB prefix); 3-Uncut sheets from HK$13,000 (total 50 sets - AA & HK prefixes) and 35-Uncut sheets from HK$68,888 (total 50 sets - AA & HK prefixes). As this is a commemorative note issued with a premium, it is unlikely that you will ever find any of the notes slipped into general circulation. This issue was only made available to Hong Kong residents and each applicant can apply up to 3 single notes plus one 3-Uncut and one 35-Uncut sheet ie a maximum of 5 sets. Application was opened between 5.3.2015 to 21.03.2015 with first delivery on 9.6.2015. This issue was well over subscribed by 4.4 times for the single note, 21.6 times for the 3-Uncut sheet and 64.8 times for the 35-Uncut sheet. Due to such an overwhelming demand, a ballot was held for final allocations to the lucky winners with the results announced on 14.04.2015. At the time of this posting, not all notes have been distributed/collectors by successful buyers yet. The next schedule dates for the collection are on 11-12 July 2015 and 17-18 July 2015. Net proceeds from this issue will be donated to charities such as the The HongKong Bank Foundation, The Community Chest of Hong Kong and other organisations. In today's Hong Kong, HSBC's banknotes have the highest circulations in the territory accounting for more than half the banknotes, followed by Bank of China and Standard Chartered Bank. In terms of assets, HSBC is ranked the second largest bank in the world, only behind the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC).
Footnote: Despite some dealers/sellers claiming that the AB prefix is the replacement note, I do not believe this is correct. Traditionally, HSBC has ZZ as replacement note. However no such prefix has been reported or sighted so far. If there was any replacement prefix for this issue, it would have to be HSBC as only 10,000 pieces issued. Personally, I do not believe any replacement notes were printed but then this is just my opinion only. I believe this issue was printed by Hong Kong Note Printing Limited.

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