Press release: The Paper Currency of Tibet

The Paper Currency of Tibet
A New Book on Tibetan Paper Money
Wolfgang Bertsch: The Paper Currency of Tibet. Gundernhausen near Darmstadt (Germany) and Lalitpur (Nepal), 2012. VI plus 274 pages. ISBN 978-99933-982-7-1

Please support by ordering from Amazon.

Tibetan banknotes were issued between 1912/13 and 1959. The first series of “Tam” notes was printed by hand with woodblocks on handmade paper. The multicoloured 50 Tam notes and the following issues in “Srang” were machine printed on native papers. All Tibetan notes were numbered by hand by specially trained calligraphists.
Owing to their artistic design Tibetan banknotes can be considered as part of Tibet’s cultural heritage.
This book explores the historical background which led to their issue, the way in which they were produced and the merit of their artisic design.

The first four chapters of the book are dedicated to the paper notes which were printed and released in Lhasa and include a catalogue part with estimated values of the different issues and their variants. The fifth chapter is dedicated ot semi-official notes issued by an Eastern Tibetan monastery, while the last chapter is dealing with banknotes which bear both Chinese and Tibetan inscriptions and were put into circulation by Chinese authorities in the former province of Xikang which comprised parts of Eastern Tibet and Western Sichuan. Ten apendices provide further information for the specialist and an extensive bibliography concludes the book.

The book is profusely illustrated; all types of the banknotes and many variants and trial prints are reproduced in colour.

With this comprehensive study of Tibetan paper money the author has in mind both the more academically inclined reader who wants to be thouroughly informed about one fascinating aspect of Tibet’s cultural history of the 20th century and the collector of Tibetan banknotes who wishes to identify the pieces in his collection and find out their approximate market value.


1. The Printing of the the Notes
2. The Ink and the Paper used for the early Banknotes
3. The Seals on the Banknotes in Tam Denomination
4. The 5 Tam Note
4. The 10 Tam Note
6. The 15 Tam Note
7. The 25 Tam Note
8. The blue 50 Tam Note

1. The Multicoloured 50 Tam Note
2. A 50 Tam Notes with additional bogus red seals
3. The Project Regarding the Issue of a Multicoloured 25 Tam Note
4. Trial Prints for the planned issue of 25 Tam Notes

CHAPTER III The 100 Srang Note
1. The 100 Tam Srang Note
1 A. The 100 Srang Note
1 B. Forgeries of 100 Srang Notes

CHAPTER IV The 10, 5 and 25 Srang Notes
1. The 10 Srang Note
2. The 5 Srang Note
3. The 25 Srang Note.

CHAPTER V The Paper Notes of Tashi Dargyas Monastery

CHAPTER VI Banknotes from Eastern Tibet (former Province of Xikang)
1. The Banknotes of the Provincial Bank of Xikang
2. Banknotes of the Farmers Bank with Tibetan Overprints
3. Notes of the Central Bank of China with Tibetan Overprints
4. A Note from Gansu Province with Tibetan Legends
Bibliography for Chapter VI

Appendix I: From a letter by W.G. Surkhang to H. Richardson, dated Seattle, July 19, 1966
Appendix II: Copy of a letter by Wesley E. Needham to Joseph J. Woodburn, Jr., dated Westhaven, Conn., April 4, 1951
Appendix III: Transcription of the gist of an Interview by Wolfgang Bertsch with Gelong Lobsang Dhonden on 27th Nov. 1998 at Dharamsala
Appendix IV: Extraxts from a letter by D.N.Tsarong to W. Bertsch
Appendix V: Market Values of Tibetan Banknotes
Appendix VI: The Dates found on Tibetan Banknotes.
Appendix VII: The Scripts used on Tibetan Banknotes
Appendix VIII: Tibetan Banknotes with Four Additional
Seal Imprints
Appendix IX Artist who designed the 100 srang Notes
Appendix X: Tibetan Rare Banknotes in Public and Private Collections and from Published Sources

Bibliography of Tibetan Paper Currency and related Items

Press release: Notes and Coins of the United States of America Federal Reserve System

US Dollars
Publishing and printing complex InterCrim-press is glad to introduce its new book – Notes and Coins of the United States of America Federal Reserve System.

The reference book includes:
  • Detailed illustrated descriptions of the US dollars in circulation and their security features;
  • Descriptions of coins designated for regular circulation (change) and most popular series of commemorative coins for regular circulation;
  • All types of currency notes (treasury notes, gold and silver certificates, national banknotes, World War II temporary currency, etc.) of The US Federal Reserve System since 1928 and until 2012;
  • All series of the Federal Reserve Notes (from 1928 to 2009) with the description of their design, security features, and distinctive features of the series: 1928-1934, 1950, 1963, 1969-1988, 1990-1995, 1997-2006, the latest NexGen series;
  • Distinctive features in identification design and other security features of US dollar series issued since 1928 until present time. Identification details include the letter denoting a series, the letter and number of Federal Reserve district, the year of issue, control letters of quadrants of printing plate, signatures of Treasurer of the United States and Secretary of the Treasury and other features.
The reference book will be useful for banks and currency exchange office employees, law enforcement experts, and it is an official edition of the Bank of Russia and the Criminal Expertise Center of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs.

Simple structure of material, pithiness, informative and easy-to-use search system will help you to quickly find necessary and detailed information about any banknote you are interested in.

Now you can order Notes and Coins of the United States of America Federal Reserve System and other InterCrim-Press books online with free delivery at

Monumental Money: People and Places on U.S. Paper Money

Monumental Money: People and Places on U.S. Paper Money by Yigal Arkin
112 pages, hardback, 6.5 x 9.5 inches, color illustrations, English, ISBN: 9780615464541, US$17.95 (CAN $19.95)
Arkin Publishing. For details, visit Small Press United from IPG.

Please support by ordering from Amazon.

This hardcover book has an attractive layout with color pictures throughout, covering the banknotes of the United States from the colonial period to present day, although the information is not presented in chronological order. The book starts off examining Federal Reserve Notes, rather than setting the stage with introductory text that puts everything into context.

According to the publisher, “this book is a nontechnical, accessible journey through a dimension of history,” which is certainly true. There are some intriguing anecdotes about and quotes by the people depicted on America’s notes, but the descriptions of these people and the various places which illustrate the notes is cursory. Absent entirely is any discussion of items of interest to collectors, such as security elements, dates, signatures, codes, letters, serial numbers, etc.

If you’re looking for a primer on the banknotes of the United States, including the Confederate States of America, Monumental Money fits the bill. But if you’re a collector interested in the intricacies of the nation’s various issues, the buck does not stop here.

Banknotes of the Ottoman Empire receives IBNS Book of the Year Award for 2012

The International Bank Note Society (IBNS) has this year awarded its Book of the Year, for a book published in 2011, to Devlet-I Aliyye-I Osmaniyye (Banknotes of the Ottoman Empire) by Mehmet Gaciroglu. With splendid competition from the ever-increasing works on paper money, the IBNS is pleased to recognize an outstanding accomplishment.

Please support by ordering from Amazon.

Several reference works on the banknotes of the Ottoman Empire have been written in recent years, but the recently published, award-winning volume by Mehmet Gaciroglu is an impressive contribution to understanding paper money issues in the Ottoman Empire. The distinguished presentation of the book is noteworthy, with its gold title on the dark-coloured cover indicating the quality of the content. Over 340 pages of gloss paper with good quality illustrations, predominantly in colour, continue the impressive presentation.

The merit of the book, however, is in its content. For each denomination identified in the book, descriptions include: the dates of issue, size of the note, the group of issue, signatures, quantity issued, seal used, serial number range and remarks. Where banknotes are illustrated, watermark and signature varieties are adjacent to the banknote; which makes the identification of a banknote very easy for the reader. Values for the notes are given in the grades Fine, VF, XF and UNC, except where the notes are rare and values are sensibly omitted.

A transliteration from Arabic script to modern Turkish script, for both the front and back of the notes, assists readers without the linguistic skills to understand the original text. The Turkish text of the book is complemented with an equal amount of English text, which widens the audience for the book.

Not just a catalogue, the book includes biographies of Sultans and descriptions of the seals used on the notes. Towards the back of the book is a section with colour plates of specimens, essays, artist’s sketches, errors, endorsement stamps and cancellations. Included are the British Gallipoli notes, German legion issues, municipal currencies and local Hebrew, Armenian and Greek issues.

While Banknotes of the Ottoman Empire is deserving of the IBNS Book of the Year, the IBNS gave several Honourable Mentions to other books on paper money published during 2011. These are:
  • Billetes de Chile 1879-2011 by Miguel A.Fajardo
  • Presidency Banknotes of India (1770-1860) by Kishore Jhunjhunwalla and Rezwan Razack
  • New Zealand History Noted – Reserve Bank of New Zealand Bank Notes by Robert Pepping
  • Notafilia y Ciencias de la Salud by Jaime Casas PIa (A.N.E.)
  • Les Eurobillets – 2002-2011 by Guy Sohier
  • English Paper Money – Treasury and Bank of England Notes from 1694 (8th Edition) by Pam West

New catalog, Banknote Register, covers CIS and Baltic countries

Collectors of banknotes from the countries comprising the former Soviet Union will be interested to know about the Banknote Register, a new 420-page hardcover catalog to be published in August 2012. I have seen samples of this Russian-language catalog and must say I am very impressed. The layout is attractive, with full-color images of notes, watermarks, photos of signatories, and magnifications when needed to illustrate varieties. Although I don't read Russian, the content appears very detailed and comprehensive.

Written by D.N. Zagorenko and edited by S.L. Perkhalsky, the Register provides the most detailed information on all emissions of paper money in post-Soviet countries from 1991 up to present. It describes the history of money circulation establishment and development in the new sovereign states. The book gives detailed information on each banknote, its variations and types, commemorative and souvenir issues, security features, designers and signatories, issuing volumes (lettered series), images portrayed on the notes. It will be no exaggeration to say that the author has compiled the best known up to now data, some of which will be published for the first time, and also data unknown to many collectors. This work has resulted in compilation and classification of the most complete information on currency circulation in the post-Soviet countries.

The publication of the Register will, for sure, reduce the number of blank spaces in the history of circulation in CIS and Baltic states. Nevertheless, the author continues searching for materials and communicating with paper money collectors, designers and bankers. We hope that the Register of Banknotes of CIS and Baltic Countries will encourage you as well to study actively the currency circulation in the post-Soviet countries. The author will go on cooperating actively with collectors, researchers, museum workers, economists, bank specialists and laymen, who are simply keen on the history of currency circulation.

The Register presents state compulsory issues of banknotes of 16 countries (15 independent states – former USSR republics + Trans-Dniester Moldova’s breakaway Republic). The sequence of sections (countries) is based on the listing of republics used in the USSR.

Banknote Register. CIS and Baltic countries.
D.N.Zagorenko, 420 pages (full-colour printing). Hard cover with pressed gilding, wrapper. 210 x 300 mm. Russian, Tirage 3000 pieces. US$55,

World Paper & Polymer Uncut Banknote

World Paper & Polymer Uncut Banknote
World Paper & Polymer Uncut Banknote
K. N. Boon, 154 pages, soft cover, 297 x 210 mm, color illustrations, Chinese and English, ISBN 978-983-43313-4-4, US$15,

K. N. Boon's recently published book, World Paper & Polymer Uncut Banknote, is the first catalog devoted entirely to collectors of uncut sheets of notes, and as such it fills an interesting gap in the numismatic field of knowledge.

I had hoped to learn more about how and why uncut sheets are sold to collectors, mailing/storage/display options, deciphering plate and block nubmers, etc. Unfortunately, aside from a few pages of introductory text, there's not much prose in this book, the bulk of which is devoted to depictions of the banknote sheets along with brief descriptions and variety listings. The text is written primarily in English, with some material also in Chinese. For the most part, the English is serviceable, in spite of some typos and awkward phrases.

The banknote listings are segregated by substrate, with paper-based notes appearing first, followed by polymer-based notes at the end of the catalog. I would prefer to see all of the notes of a particular country listed together, but collectors who specialize in polymer issues may appreciate having these notes broken out into their own section.

Within the paper and polymer sections, the listings are organized alphabetically by country, then grouped by denominations (smallest to largest), each in chronological order. Unique note types are assigned their own KNB numbers, with lowercase variety letters appended to distinguish between sheets with different attributes. For example, KNB4a may refer to an uncut block of 4 notes, whereas KNB4b refers to a full uncut sheet of 45 notes. Alas, there are no cross-references to other catalog numbers of the underlying notes.

In most cases, blocks (mini-sheets) or full sheets of notes are illustrated, except when the author wasn't able to obtain such images. In those cases, an individual note is shown instead. I actually prefer this latter presentation because the note's design details can be seen, which is not the case when the sheets are reproduced greatly reduced in size. I hope the second edition of this book will include larger illustrations of the front and back of individual notes to each listing for the best of both worlds. Another improvement would be expanded descriptions of the notes. Many notes lack any descriptions at all, and for those that are described, the text is terse and typically applies only to the front; usually the backs are ignored altogether.

Each listing has columns for Date of Issue, Quantity Issued, Issued Price, and Market Price, with the last two values shown in Chinese yuan (RMB). Market prices are given for almost all listings, but in many cases the other columns are left blank. Hopefully further research will result in this information being added in future editions.

Unfortunately, some unscrupulous sellers cut notes from sheets in an attempt to create "errors" or rare prefix varieties which are then foisted upon unsuspecting buyers. To the author's credit, some listings include warnings about this practice, and some listings also indicate the prefixes found on the sheets, but it's unclear if these prefixes are exclusive to sheets. More detailed prefix information might allow for the easy identification of such doctored notes.

World Paper & Polymer Uncut Banknote is an excellent first attempt to systematically document an area of collecting that has heretofore been largely ignored by other catalogs. Collectors of banknote sheets will most definitely appreciate having this handsome, professionally printed, full-color volume in their reference library.

Press release: Gibraltar's Currency & Banknotes 1898-2011

Gibraltar's Currency & Banknotes 1898-2011
Gibraltar's Currency & Banknotes 1898-2011
by Richard J. M. Garcia, 109 pages, soft cover, 250 x 150 mm, color illustrations, English, ISBN 978-1-919663-09-8, US$24.95 (airmail postage included),

Richard Garcia’s latest book addresses a topic that has never hitherto been studied, that of money in Gibraltar from 1898 to 2011. The choice of dates was deliberate. Gibraltar adopted sterling currency as the only legal tender in Gibraltar in 1898. It was in 2011 that the Gibraltar Government assumed sole responsibility for the design, printing and production of banknotes, taking over responsibilities that until then had been the preserve of a Secretary of State in England. A lot happened in between.

The book is not just about banknotes: it sets out to place Gibraltar’s currency in a social history context, looking at how Gibraltar was changing and developing and how these changes were reflected by our banknotes and coinage. It is the fruit of research in the Government Archives and in the Treasury. It explores a number of areas including:

  • Why Gibraltar adopted sterling currency in 1898. The accepted reason for this has hitherto been that it was the result of the inflation which accompanied the war of 1898 between Spain and the United States. This was not, in fact, the case.
  • Why Gibraltar chose to issue banknotes in 1914, at the time of the outbreak of World War I, and the procedure that was followed in arriving at the design of the banknotes and printing them, without previously having consulted London.
  • The financial crisis that arose on the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936.
  • What happened in Gibraltar during World War II in terms of demand for currency notes in the light of the evacuation, the feared invasion of Gibraltar, and the build-up of troops in Gibraltar.
  • The impact of the Spanish blockade of the 1960s and the eventual closure by Spain of the land frontier with Gibraltar and the withdrawal of Spanish labour.
  • The introduction of decimal currency in 1971.
  • The introduction of Gibraltar circulating coins.
  • The reasons for the subsequent issue of higher denomination currency notes.

There are 52 colour illustrations in the book. The design of the front and back of every design used for a Gibraltar banknote is depicted, including the rare notes of 1914. There is also a complete listing of all 73 currency notes issued by Gibraltar, indicating the date of issue of the note and the signature on it.

The book is a companion to the article written by Richard Garcia and which was published in the Gibraltar Heritage Trust journal, tracing Gibraltar’s currency from 1704 to 1872, when Spanish currency was adopted as Gibraltar’s only legal tender.