Sunday, June 5, 2011

Banknote of the Month - June 2011

Country: Northern Ireland (UK)
Issuer: Bank of Ireland, Belfast
Denomination: 100 Pounds Sterling
Date: March 1st, 2005
Type of Note: Private banknote, "payable to bearer on demand", backed by UK/British Pounds on deposit.

This week I have yet another note from Northern Ireland - I am really on a kick with these because there are so many different varieties.  This particular note is a fairly recent 100 Pounds from the Bank of Ireland, Belfast.  It is a private bank which has an arrangement with the Bank of England to emit its own banknotes, backed by Pound Sterling.  The reason I think it is so attractive is that it incorporates a colorful and vibrant design with traditional and officious appearance.  Modernity and tradition do not have to be mutually exclusive.  The six crests/shields near the top are a great touch and in general I think its a very tasteful banknote (even if it is still just un-backed fiat paper, haha).

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Mystery Symbol on my $100 FRN

Can anyone help identify this character and its purpose?  I found it on the back of a $100 US Federal Reserve Note.  It would appear to be either Chinese or Japanese, though I suppose Korean is also a possibility but probably less likely.  There are no barriers to the comment section (haven't had any spammers, yet *fingers crossed*) 

UPDATE: I have received the following responses from various people on silver and coin forums:

#1 "The character is either Chinese or Japanese kanji (which is based on the Chinese language).  In China or Hong Kong, the way its stamped in red and enclosed within a circle implies its a business brand or mark.  The character itself appears to be a family name 'Wen/Wing', but is oddly proportioned and cannot be easily identified.  Stamps like that are associated with old family businesses owned over a number of generations."

#2 "Looks like the Chinese character for vegetable or dish but some strokes are too straight for a 100% identification. This note must have passed through a Chinese restaurant."

#3 "Federal Agents have been known to use these symbols when tracing money laundering. The Chinese symbol is less likely to raise suspicion."

#4 "What you have there is a modern day "Chop mark".  The Chinese use to put chop marks on old silver coinage, like the Spanish pillar dollar etc."

#5 "My partner is Chinese she said it means "Glory". It's a Chinese character."

#6 "(T)hat is simplified Chinese, so it must be someone from mainland China stamped on it. HongKong and Taiwan use 榮 vs. 荣  My guess is somebody just stamped his/her family name on the note."

And my personal favorite, although it is a joke:

#7 "The symbol means 'property of the PRC'." HAHAHAHA