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09 May, 2018

Swaziland - 10 Emalangeni Vision 2020 Hybrid

Umbuso weSwatini
Kingdom of Swaziland

The is a 10 Emalangeni Hybrid note printed by Giesecke & Devrient Germany. The design on this note is the same as previously issued except that the colour has changed from predominately blue to green. In addition to this, it has also added the text of "VISION 2022" printed vertically to the right of the note on the front and back. The tiny yellow donuts or circular dots which are printed on previous issues are also missing on this new note. This note is printed with the date of 6.9.2017.

The Vision 2022 is the wishes the King to see Swaziland becoming a first world nation by 2022. A first world nation is usually defined when a country is fully developed or industrialised. Swaziland is currently classified as a third world nation. In fact all the countries in the African continent are third world nations.

The front of the note features King Mswati lll and on the back with 9 females dancing in traditional costumes.

Ten Emalangeni
Dated 2017

01 March, 2018

Mauritania - 2013 Hybrid (2011-2015 Series)

Two Hundred Ouguiya
Dated 2013, P17, Numeral ٨٧٩
 Five Hundred Ouguiya
Dated 2013, P18, Numeral ٦٢٠
These are two Hybrid notes both dated 28.11.2013. Unlike previous issues, each note is printed with three Arabic Indic numeral on the from in vertical format, just to the right of the security thread. I am not sure why these are added to the design as each note (including the 100 Ouguiya) are also printed with these numbers and all are not the same. Are these numbers related to the printing plates or all notes printed with the same year have the same numbers?

Watermark: Portrait of an old man.  

19 January, 2018

Malaysia - 60th Anniversary of the Signing of the Federation of Malaya Independence Agreement 5.8.1957, Hybrid Note

World Records Breaking Banknote
Malaya/Malaysia (since 1963)
60th Anniversary of the Signing of the Federation of Malaya Independence Agreement

Two commemorative legal tender notes (releasing on the 25.01.2018) celebrating the 60th Year of the Signing of the Federation of Malaya Independence Agreement 1957-2017. The two notes are RM60 and RM600 and were launched on 14.12.2017 by the Agong (King) of Malaysia, Sultan Muhammad V at the Museum at the Art Gallery, Bank Negara Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur. The independence agreement, dated 05.08.1957, was signed by the Malay Council of Rulers from the nine States, namely Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Perak, Perlis, Selangor and Terengganu together with the representative of Queen Elizabeth ll, Sir Donald MacGillivray, who was then the High Commissioner of the Federation of Malaya. The agreement was signed at the British Commissioner's residence in Kuala Lumpur, which then led to the independence of the Federation of Malaya on 31.08.1957.

The two notes are printed on Durasafe Hybrid materials, a composite of paper and polymer substrate. Both notes are sold with a premium and were made available to the public in 3 varieties, through a pre-order arrangement which was opened between 29.12.2017 to 19.01.2018. A small quantity of these notes with special or popular serial numbers will be sold via public auction on 10.03.2018.

60,000 pieces of RM60 single note at RM120 each;
6,000 pieces of 3-in-One uncut sheet at RM500 each; and
6,000 pieces of RM600 single note at RM1,700 each.

Based on the above, it would be reasonable to say that a minimum of 61,800 notes of RM60 printed. As this is not a large issue, it would be interesting to see if any replacement notes are printed too. All notes are printed with special letter prefix of MRR followed by 7 digits number. I believe MRR stands for Majlis Raja-Raja or Council of Rulers.

The designs
14-pointed federal star(i) (featured on the royal headgear), the royal throne surrounded by a victory wheat wreath, portraits of 15 Yang di-Pertuan Agong positioned in a horse shoe shape, who have reigned since independence (1957) till the present day, starting from top L to R - Abdul Rahman(ii) of Negeri Sembilan (1957-1960), Hisamuddin(ii) of Selangor (1960), Putra of Perlis (1960-1965), Ismail Nasiruddin of Terengganu (1965-1970), Abdul Halim(iii) of Kedah (1970-1975), Yahya Petra(ii) of Kelantan (1975-1979), Ahmad Shah of Pahang (1979-1984), Iskandar of Johor (1984-1989), Azlan Shah of Perak (1989-1994), Ja'afar of Negri Sembilan (1994-1999), Salahuddin(ii) of Selangor (1999-2001), Sirajuddin of Perlis (2001-2006), Mizan Zainal Abidin of Terengganu (2006-2011), Abdul Halim(iii) of Kedah (2011-2016) and Muhammad V of Kelantan (since 2016). The term for the rotating Agong is fixed for 5 years. The note is also printed with the year dates of 1957-2017.

(i) 11-pointed federal star between 1957-1984; (ii) died in office; (iii) the one and only Sultan who had served two terms (5th & 14th Agong); Note: It's too long to have all the Sultan's full names listed here. I believe only four Sultans are still alive today from the above listing.

Six Hundred Ringgit (front)
Dated 2017
Reverse - s/#s MRR 0002476, 2477, 3433
Portraits of the all nine Rulers (Sultans/Raja) signing the Federation of Malaya Independence Agreement, Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj, the First Prime Minister of Malaya declaring independence, the National Palace, Perdana Putra (Federal Government office), the Parliament building (August House) and the Palace of Justice which represent the four pillars of the nation: the institution of the Monarchy, the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary respectively.

Sixty Ringgit
Dated 2017
Information Card - Bahasa Malaysia
Information Card - English
The nine Rulers who signed the agreement were (from L-R, top to bottom):-
*Pahang - Sultan Abu Bakar Ri'ayatuddin Al-Muazzam Shah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Abdullah Al-Mutasim Billah Shah (1932-1974);
*Negeri Sembilan - Yang Di-Pertuan Besar Tuanku Abdul Rahman ibni Almarhum Tuanku Muhammad (1933-1960). 1st Agong 1957-1960;
*Selangor - Sultan Hisamuddin Alam Shah ibni Almarhum Sultan Alaeddin Sulaiman Shah (1938-1942, 1945-1960). 2nd Agong 1960;
*Kedah - Sultan Sir Badlishah ibni Almarhum Sultan Abdul Hamid Halim Shah (1943-1958);
*Kelantan - Paduka Sri Sultan Sir Ibrahim IV Petra ibni Almarhum Sultan Muhammad IV (1944-1960);
*Perlis - Tuanku Syed Harun Putra ibni Almarhum Syed Hassan Jamalullail (1945-2000). 3rd Agong 1960-1965;
*Terengganu - Sultan Ismail Nasiruddin Shah ibni Almarhum Sultan Zainal Abidin III (1945-1979). 4th Agong 1965-1970;
*Perak - Sultan Yussuf Izzuddin Shah ibni Almarhum Sultan Abdul Jalil Karamatullah Nasiruddin Mukhataram Shah Radziallah (1948-1963);
*Johor - Sultan Sir Ibrahim Al Masyhur ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Abu Bakar Al-Khalil Ibrahim Shah (1895-1959) represented by his son, Crown Prince Ismail Al Khalidi ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Ibrahim Al-Masyhur (Sultan 1959-1981).

The signing of the agreement was based on seniority of the each Ruler and despite the Sultan of Johor was the most senior Ruler then (62nd year as Sultan), his State signed last as he did not attended the signing ceremony and instead represented by his son, the Crown Prince. At the time of the signing, the Sultan of Johor was residing in London, England. Also been the most senior Ruler, it was also reported that he rejected the offer to head the first Agong of the newly independent nation citing old age (84 years old in 1957) and at that time, he was more interested in enjoying "retirement" in England. He died two years after independence. Many historians would agreed that this was the right choice for him not to accept the first Agong role, as he was very pro British then and at one time openly expressed his view against seeking full independence from the British rule in Malaya. If he had accepted this position, his portrait would have appeared on all Malaysia banknotes issued since 1967.

The next most senior Ruler was the Sultan of Pahang but he was unsuccessful in securing the minimum votes of 5 to install him as the first Agong of Malaya. It appeared that this Sultan of Pahang was not a popular person among the other Rulers. Beside missing the first opportunity, he was not elected by his peers for the same post when it became vacant in 1960 (twice), 1965 and 1970. He died in 1974. The first Agong position went to the Ruler of Negeri Sembilan, Tuanku Abdul Rahman.

This is the first time in Malaysia banknotes history since 1967 that the portraits of all Agong (past and present) are printed on a single banknote. Since 1967, all banknotes have been just printed with the portrait of the first Agong, Tuanku Abdul Rahman of Negri Sembilan.

The RM600 note is a very large size note measuring 370mm x 220mm. This is even larger than an A4 size paper, and almost the size of a standard western rectangular kitchen chopping board. The RM60 note is measured at 162mm x 84mm. The Governor's signature is Muhammad bin Ibrahim, who was appointed to the role since 01.05.2016.

1) This note is celebrating the Signing of Federation of Malaya's Independence Agreement. The key word here is Malaya and therefore it has nothing to do with the two other States of Sabah and Sarawak which joined and formed Malaysia in 1963;
2) In my opinion, the two colours of these Green and Gold do not go well together. They should have just printed this completely in yellow after all this is also one of the royal colours for most Rulers, if not for all;
3) This is a historical event and as such the design should also incorporate all 11 State Crests, just like those Malayan banknotes issued in the 50s and 60s. However I do acknowledge that some of the State Crests have changed since independence. Whilst the design on the front looks nice, unfortunately I can't say the same for the back. Perhaps a group historical photo of all rulers and the Queen's Representative would be a better choice, but then they may not want any foreigner appearing on their banknote either. The other option would be to print the map of Malaya in the middle and then surrounded by the nine Rulers signing the agreement. The national flag is also missing from the design;
4) Move over the Philippines 100,000 Piso dated 1998 P190 (size 330mm x 220mm). You are no longer the largest banknote ever issued. This 600 Ringgit is now the mother of all Kings size banknotes;
5) I always asked this question. As these are commemorative notes issued with a premium and will not be seen in general circulation apart from changing hands between dealers and collectors. Therefore why print them on Hybrid material, a mixture of paper and polymer? Why do they need this note to have a longer life span than those traditionally printed on cotton based paper notes? Same goes to non circulating commemorative notes printed in polymer too! Why? Unless such notes are meant for general circulation, and if not then why spend extra costs in producing them when we all know that such note will never get to see the day light again once acquired by collectors;
6) Malaysia demonetised the two highest denominations of 500 and 1000 Ringgit on 01.07.1999 following the Asian Financial crises (AFC). AFC was started in July 1997, first in Thailand and later spread to other countries like Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore and even as far north as South Korea. The AFC weakened the value of the currencies of all these nations affected and in order to control the outflow of capital that may further impacted the Ringgit value, the government demonetised the two highest notes and at the same time making the Ringgit currency not negotiable outside its boarder. As this 600 Ringgit is a legal tender banknote, this is the first time since 1999 that a banknote issued with the face value higher that 100 Ringgit as legal tender, even though we do not expect anyone in the right mind to pull it out from their wallet/purse and do some shopping with it. But despite saying this, you will never know as "some mothers do 'ave 'me!"

Footnote: The above are my own personal opinion, and info posted here may not be entirely correct and for that I apologies for any errors, if any. If any readers think that I have made any errors here, please post your comments here.

13 January, 2018

Armenia - 500 Dram 2017 Commemorative "Noah’s Ark" Hybrid Note

The Republic of Armenia
Noah's Ark Commemorative

A commemorative note of 500 Dram released on 22.11.2017. This note commemorates Noah's Ark and is issued in a folder format. The banknote has been printed on Hybrid material - a high quality composite substrate based on a cotton paper, which is covered with thin polyester layers on both sides. The note also has a transparent window. Front: Images of Reliquary with a fragment of Noah’s Ark and Monastery of Etchmiadzin (Mother of See Holy Etchmiadzin in Vagharshapat), Mount Ararat on the background. A free flying dove holding an olive branch in it's beak, signifying that dry land had was sighted. Both the watermark and the transparent window has the image of Noah's Ark.
Dated 2017
 Back: Images of Noah and his family with domestic and wild animals around them, with an eagle flying above them. The eagle is the national bird of Armenia. The back ground is Mount Ararat.
Security Features: Watermark, Security Thread, Transparent Window, Intaglio Printing, Microtext and Microimages, UV Feature, Kinegram and Optically Variable Ink. Signatures: Central Bank of Armenia, Bank Chairman (Բանկի նախագահը) – Arthur Javadyan; and the Minister of Finance (Ֆինանսների նախարար) of Armenia – Vardan Aramyan. Serial Prefix: ՆՏ (NT). NT stands for "Noyan Tapan" (Noah's Ark in Armenian) Issued Date: 22.11.2017 Quantity: 300,000 pieces issued in an informative folder Size: 140mm x 76mm Imprinter: Giesecke & Devrient GmbH Issue Price: 1,700 Dram each Initial Restriction: 2 sets per person at the bank As this is a numismatic product issued with a premium, it is unlikely the banknotes will been seen in general circulation. 
Front Cover
My personal opinion: - I am not here to promote the Noah's Ark story. I have nothing against the story and whether you believe this or not is entirely up to you. As a collector, I am happy to see this commemorative issued.