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Since a very early age I remember taking an interest in paper money. Not the type of interest one would expect of a child, but a keen interest in the depictions, designs, and histories of the banknotes that I both handled and owned. I don't remember the exact year, but I do remember the moment when I decided that one day I would collect paper money as a hobby: I was examining a handful of Canadian banknotes, which I was about to spend on some hockey cards, video games, and candy, and I carefully put a couple of two dollar bills into a side pocket, stowed away as the first banknotes of a future collection.

I no longer know where those two notes are, though I have seen them now and again when I do a spring cleaning of my house. However, in the last four years I have amassed a beautiful collection, and spend a lot of my free time (too much?) writing about and collecting paper money of the world. And although this hobby is a hard sell to friends in my cohort, I have come to know a few members of the online paper money community and a lot of historical, economical, geographical, and architectural knowledge has piled up in my brain as a result of collecting paper money. I have found that this hobby can be profitable, as well as educational, and so I spend a lot of my time and money investing in paper money, and I learn about the world, historical and modern, in the process.

So my experience has been a very positive one, and I originally designed and programmed as an image gallery and encyclopedia of paper money, based on the Krause series of Standard Catalog of World Paper Money (General and Modern Issues). However, the second version of the website also featured some additional information that would be helpful to those who collect paper money as an investment as well, or at least those who are looking for a good bargain online. The second version of the site featured catalog values, as well as some eBay sale values of banknotes, which I find are more accurate than the catalogs. Version 2.0 garnered 2.2+ million banknote views in just 18 months! This site is now version 3.0, and is almost totally different from the original concept. The gallery and listings are there, as are values and sales, but after spending hundreds of hours per year upkeeping the website, I have finally undertaken the enormous project of building not simply a banknote website, but a paper money community where you, the members, get an opportunity to interact with one another, contribute to, and grow the website in size and scope.

I hope you find what you are looking for, and contribute what you have to offer when you are ready. Welcome to our paper money collecting community.

- Proteus (June, 2012)

By akaardvark387 on 2014-01-28

The Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina proclaimed its independence from the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in March and gained international recognition in April of 1992, simultaneous with the breakout of the Bosnian war. During the war plenty of banknotes were issued -- some by the recognized government of the Republic, by some regional authorities, and some by the self-proclaimed “Serb Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina”. Besides these notes, today one can find, both in the Standard Catalog of Paper Money and also on the numismatic market, some banknotes whose authenticity was never confirmed (e.g. P-53, P-54, P-55), and a lot of notes that are counterfeits, mostly being produced several years later specifically to defraud paper money collectors. These counterfeit and fake notes have flooded the numismatic market. Unfortunately, to this day they are offered and sold even by sellers with high seller reputation.

Two such “potentially problematic” notes are the Bosnia and Herzegovina P-1 and P-2 notes. These first banknotes of Bosnia and Herzegovina are the overprinted Yugoslavian notes P-106 (500 dinar) and P-107 (1000 dinar) from the 1st of March, 1990. They are emergency issues that were circulated between May and August 1992, and only in the area of the state capital Sarajevo under  siege by Serb forces. The National Bank of Yugoslavia (NBY) had stopped the supply in May 1992 to the National Bank of Bosnia and Herzegovina (NBBH) with the notes P-108, P-109, P-110 and P-111 (100, 500, 1000 and 5000) of the Yugoslavian dinar (YUN). That caused a shortage of banknotes in circulation, as the introduction of the own Bosnian-Herzegovinian currency was scheduled on the 1st of July, 1992.

Figures 1 and 2

The banknotes P-106 and P-107 were available in the treasury of the NBBH, since there was previously an exchange of these banknotes in circulation in December 1991, when the notes P-105, P-106 and P-107 had been withdrawn and replaced after the declaration of independence by Slovenia and Croatia, two other former Yugoslavian republics. The NBBH decided to use the notes at stand, manually stamping them with one of the six official round seals of the NBBH. Only notes that were previously in circulation have been sealed, therefore there cannot be any note P-1 or P-2 in uncirculated condition.

Among the seals that were used are three smaller overprints (30mm in diameter) for the 500 dinar note, and three bigger overprints (48mm in diameter) for the 1000 dinar note. All of them have the name of the bank inscribed in Latin lettering at left, and Cyrillic lettering at right, with the coat of arms of the Republic centered on the seal (valid until 4th of May, 1992 but then not yet replaced), with numbers 1 or 2 or without them. Any other seal inscription is a clear sign of a fraud attempt – even those by Tuzla Agency for public accounting (Figure 3).  The NBBH was to perform stamping in the Tuzla area, but did not do so at that time.

Figure 3

The notes P-1 and P-2 were circulated until the 25th of August, 1992 and have been replaced by Bosnian-Herzegovinian dinar notes (P-10, P-11, P-12, P-13, P-14, P-15) and Sarajevo coupon issue (P-21 to P-27 for Sarajevo under  siege).  Today, the eBay search “Bosnia p1” or “Bosnia p2” would offer plenty of notes – which contradicts the very short time and small area where they had circulated. Most of those notes would look like the one in Figure 4.

Figure 4

Unfortunately, these notes have mostly the fake seals. The fake stamp for P-2 is easy to spot since the producers had made a grammatical error in the name of the bank in the Latin script. It says “NARODNA BANKA BOSNA I HERCEGOVINE”, which is a false genitive case of the word “Bosnia” – it should be “BOSNE”. This error occurs only on P-2b (number 1 on the seal). Also, the outer rings of the seal have unusually large white space between them, compared to the real seals (see Figure 2). All three real stamps for P-2 have the same form.

The same error is not to be found on the fake P-1 note, but we should observe the dominant one on the market: P-1b. In comparison to the other seals (see Figures P-1 and P-1b), their print is always very clear and precise, what is not the case with hand stamps. Figure 1b shows what P-1b should look like, P-1c is almost the same, while P-1 is different, shown on Figure 1a. My assumption is that here we have another argument for a forgery: the snowflakes on the seal. Below the coat of arms there is a number 1 and a small snowflake. They should be aligned with the vertical axis of the coat of arms. That is not the case here, but is with all the other 5 seals used, as well as with other official Bosnian stamps.


[1] Sulejmanagić, Amer: Monetary Situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina since 1992 until the Introduction of Convertible Marka, Dinar, Nr.22, Serbian Numismatic Society Belgrade, 2007

[2] Viščević, Zlatko: Coins and Banknotes of Yugoslavia, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia, Second Issue, Numismatic Society “Castua”, Rijeka, 2011

By cortes on 2013-07-27

Occasionally I saw these notes on eBay and was intrigued by the issuer name and also by the design. I purchased two of them (50 Kopeks and 1 Ruble denominations) and tried to find the story behind this issue. Below is short summary from different sources (mostly translated from Russian).

In 1895, the Russian government founded the Russo-Chinese Bank (Русско-Китайский банк in Russian) to help Russian capital enter the Chinese market and to finance construction of a Chinese Eastern Railway (in Russian Китайско-Восточная железная дорога, or КВЖД). The Russo-Asiatic bank (Русско-Азиатский банк in Russian) was created in 1910 by merging the Russo-Chinese Bank with the Banque du Nord (a subsidiary of the Societe Generale). The new bank got vast network of branches in Russia from Banque du Nord, and access to Far East markets from the Russo-Chinese Bank. It also holds Russo-Chinese Bank’s rights to the Chinese Eastern Railway. A. I. Pitilov was appointed Chairman of the bank.

In the following years, the Russo-Asiatic Bank became the biggest commercial bank in Russia. In the beginning of 1917, the bank controlled more than 160 companies, including strategic military industry enterprises.

After the October Revolution the bank’s branches on Russian territory were nationalized. However, branches in China continued operations under same name. A. I. Putilov moved from St. Petersburg to China and continued to work as the bank’s chairman.

During the Russian Civil War (1917 - 1922) the Chinese Eastern Railway was an important supply area for the White Army. De-facto it becomes independent territory with Lt. General Horvat as a governor. At the time of civil war the Chinese Eastern Railway area remained relatively stable and peaceful.

In the beginning of 1918, the government of the Chinese Eastern Railway area faced an acute shortage of banknotes. At that time, only banknotes of the Russian Empire were circulating in the area. To solve this problem, the decision was made to issue banknotes from the Russo-Asiatic Bank. In the middle of 1918 banknotes for the total amount of 20 million roubles was ordered from the American Bank Note Company. This amount was divided as follows:

0.5 Rouble (50 Kopek) -- 500,000 Roubles (1,000,000 banknotes)
1, 3, and 10 Roubles -- 7,500,000 Roubles (exact distribution by denomination unknown)
100 Roubles -- 12,000,000 Roubles (120,000 banknotes)

Banknotes were issued by the Harbin branch of the Russo-Asiatic Bank. The printed banknotes arrived in Harbin in the last days of 1918. The issue of new banknotes was announced in the “Amur Outfall” newspaper (original name in Russian “Устье Амура”) as follows:

Harbin, December 30

The Russo-Asiatic Bank issues into circulation U.S. Printend banknotes of 50 Kopeks, as well as 1, 3, 10, and 100 Roubles with signatures of the bank's executive director Putilov and the Genaral Manager of the Chinese Eastern Railway General Horvat, for a total amount of 20,000,000 Roubles; banknotes are fully backed by Russian Empire credit roubles. The bank and Railway Management guarantees free acceptance of these banknotes on par with national banknotes. The order for banknotes was made in September due to an acute shortage of low denomination banknotes.

On these banknotes was the statement that they are accepted at all ticket offices of the Eastern Chinese Railway, as well as in the offices of the Russo-Asiatic Bank in Harbin, Hailar, and Kuanchentszy on par with Russian Empire State Credit Notes.

The high print quality of the notes, their anti-counterfeit features, and the fact that they were backed by the well-known Russo-Asiatic Bank lead to a high level of acceptance by the local population, both Russian and Chinese. All issued notes bear the signatures of Putilov and General Horvat. In addition, all notes except for the 50 Kopek denomination bear the signature of the Bank's Comptroller Pimenov, and the 100 Rouble denomination banknotes had a fourth signature – they were signed by one of six members of the bank's management board. The fourth signature on the 100 Roubles banknotes caused a long delay in putting them into circulation – the process of signing all 120,000 notes took more than two months.

These banknotes were in active circulation in 1919. In the beginning of 1920, the railway administration began to gradually withdraw banknotes of the Russo-Asiatic Bank from circulation. By Order Nr. 170 of the General Manager of Chinese Eastern Railway restrictions on acceptance of Russian Imperial Credit Notes and Russo-Asiatic Bank notes in railway's ticket offices were set. This basically marks the end of circulation for these notes.

Pick numbers for the banknotes:

S473 50 Kopeks
S474 1 Ruble
S475 3 Rubles
S476 10 Rubles
S478 100 Rubles


1. Book By A. I. Pogrebecky “Far East Banknotes during World War and Revolution (1914-1924)” (original name in Russian А. И. Погребецкий “Денежное обращение и денежные знаки Дальнего Востока за период войны и революции (1914-1924)”) (published at;

2. Article “History of Russo-Chinese Bank and Russo-Asiatic Bank” (;

3. Wikipedia (


By Proteus on 2013-07-21

As I organize my paper money collection, I find myself having to flip back to the numbering systems chart at the front of my catalog when I come across middle eastern banknotes.  Though I've gotten quite good at translating the Arabic number symbols, I still have some memory lapses with the Persian or Iranian numbering system.  I am guessing that I am not the only one who has to do this and because quite a few banknote picks for banknotes with Arabic or Persian numerals are determined by date I think that it would be useful to have an article to this effect on the site.

A quick visual of the two numbering systems, against the Western style of numerals is probably the most useful piece of information:

From this comparison chart it is quite simple to translate numerals.  Take the following banknotes as examples:

You can see that the first example has a date of '1939' while the denomination of the second example is clearly '5000'.  You can even determine the serial number prefix and serial number in this way, where necessary.  But in more traditional or strict Muslim countries we come up against something a little different when it comes to dating, because some Muslim countries follow the Islamic calendar.

The first year of the Islamic calendar was in AD622 during the emigration of the Islamic prophet Muhammad from Mecca occurred.  When the Standard Catalog of World Paper Money cites years for these banknotes (as well as this website) each year is designated AH for the Latin 'anno Hegirae'.  Because the Christian and Islamic calendars differ by 622 years, a conversion is necessary to identify some paper money.

In the example above the year is translated to '1432'.  To get the current year according to the Christian calendar just add 579, to get the year '2011'.  In this case this banknote is a 2011 issue from Saudi Arabia.

A question that I often receive is, "Where do I look for the date on paper money with Middle Eastern numerals?"  There is no short answer to this question, as different countries and issuers place their dates in different positions.  However, the trick that I do is as follows:  I look for a sequence of four numbers on the banknote -- no more, and no less.  Quite often these numbers stand out a little, and they are frequently found near signatures if any are present.  Keep in mind that sometimes banknotes are not dated at all.  Also, because paper money is a relatively new phenomenon, Islamic dates should start with '14' or '13' to denominate the first two digits of the AH year, or '19' or '20' which would be the first two digits of the Christian calendar year.

One more note:  a common mistake that I come across in relation to this numbering system has to do with the Arabic numeral for '5' which looks like a zero.  You always have to remember that in Arabic numbering a zero is actually equal to five.  An easy way to help you catch this mistake is to remember that the dot equals zero in both Arabic and Iranian numbering.

If you are having trouble determining dates on paper money, I encourage you to visit us on the Paper Money Forums.  Cheers!


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