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Banknotes and Bureaucratic Bungling

In October of 1965 both Rhodesia and the English banknote printing company Bradbury Wilkinson & Co. (BWC) have received an order to print more banknotes for the Salisbury based board of the Reserve Bank of Rhodesia after successfully printing notes in 1964

rhodesia 10 shillings from 1964 rhodesia 1 pound from 1964 rhodesia 5 pounds from 1964
Original 1964 series of Rhodesian paper money printed by Bradbury Wilkinson & Co.

The order was for £20 million worth of banknotes consisting of 8 million 10 shilling notes, 11 million £1 notes, and 1 million £5 banknotes. The notes were due for delivery second quarter of 1966.

However, on November 11th of 1965 Rhodesia declares independence from Great Britain. On December 3, 1965 the London government moves swiftly to remove the Salisbury board and replace it with one in London. Meanwhile the Salisbury based board continues to operate under the new Rhodesian Government.

The London board allows BWC to fill the order for the banknotes already on order. BWC does this and has the order ready in May 1966. The Salisbury board refuses to pay BWC as it had independently placed an order on April 7 of 1966 with the German printer Giesecke & Deverient (G&D) for a completely new range of banknotes.

A court Injunction prevented G&D from supplying the notes to Rhodesia and they were subsequently destroyed by the printer, in their entirely. No details were ever released as to the designs, denominations, or even colours of this destroyed batch of banknotes. The British government would not give BWC an export licence to ship their notes to Rhodesia either. In turn they were sent to the Bank of England for storage and when they were no longer needed (July 1973) they were all destroyed - save one 10 shilling specimen dated November 5 1965.

Unable to get any notes from a secure printer the Reserve Bank took it upon itself to produce banknotes on their own printing presses. The notes (P27, P28, and P29) are similar to the 1964 series with minor modifications that were done to the Queens portrait, a change in the colour of the serial numbers, and colour changes to the vignettes on the reverse side of the banknotes. Lastly, the dates were repositioned on the notes. These note circulated in parallel with the 1964 series.


All subsequent paper money of Rhodesia was printed by the country's own printing presses, including the second issue which was much like the first. Rhodesia continued to print its own banknotes until it became Zimbabwe.

With the success of this self printed series, dated 1966-1968, when the bank made the switch over to the decimal system in 1970 it looked no further than itself to produce these notes as well. This continued up to 1979 when Rhodesia became Zimbabwe in 1980 and Salisbury was subsequently renamed Harare.

It just goes to show if you want things done right sometimes you have to do it yourself!

More Information About cats25
By cats25 on 2015-03-16

The Color of Money: Recoloring of Banknotes

Paper money, whether currently in circulation or older issues, represent the customs, economy, history, and culture of nations both present and past, and so more often than not a lot of work has gone into their careful design. The issues of security and durability add an extra layer of complexity, and the politics represented are typically things that are to be cared for, but the banknotes themselves should be also easy distinguishable by those who use them, and the criteria for this stipulation is not so easy to define.

The color on the banknotes is one of the most prominent factors for the recognition of a note by an user, and throughout the world quite often people start using the slang word for some denomination based on its color. For example, in the former Yugoslavia the notes P-80 and P-90 were simply called "crvena" -- the red one. At the same time, none of other notes from the same series had a nickname based on color.

The course of history sometimes determines the need to quickly replace a banknote by another of the same denomination, and the simplest way to do so is to recolor the banknote. One example of recoloring due to war a event is described in the article "Malaya Paper Money Issues: 1940-1941". Yugoslavian notes P-105, P-106 and P-107 were analogously recolored into P-108, P-109 and P-110 respectively because of the declaration of independence of Slovenia and Croatia, with a small but significant change of the inscriptions on the back.


Yugoslavia p105: 100 Dinara from 1990 Yugoslavia p106: 500 Dinara from 1990 Yugoslavia p107: 1000 Dinara from 1990
"Original Yugoslavian banknotes p105, p106, and p107".

Yugoslavia p108: 100 Dinara from 1991 Yugoslavia p109: 500 Dinara from 1991 Yugoslavia p110: 1000 Dinara from 1991
"Recolored Yugoslavian banknotes p108, p109, and p110".

But there need not to be a war to warrant the re-coloring of a banknote. The dissolution of a country or peace accords and the introduction of a new constitution can also provide cause for recoloring as demonstrated by the Democratic Republic of Congo banknotes P-87, P-88, P-89 and P-90, which were replaced by identical designs but different colored notes P-91, P-92, P-93 and P-94.


Congo Democratic Republic p87: 10 Francs from 1997 Congo Democratic Republic p88: 20 Francs from 1997 Congo Democratic Republic p89: 50 Francs from 1997 Congo Democratic Republic p90: 100 Francs from 1997
"Original paper money from the Congo Democratic Republic, including p87, p88A, p89, and p90".

Congo Democratic Republic p93: 10 Francs from 2003 Congo Democratic Republic p94: 20 Francs from 2003 Congo Democratic Republic p91: 50 Francs from 2000 Congo Democratic Republic p92: 100 Francs from 2000
"Original paper money from the Congo Democratic Republic, including, from left to right, p93, p94, p91, and p92".

In a separate instance, in order to distinguish the notes of different value the Turkish 5 lira note P-222 was recolored from yellow to dark yellow after two years in use. As it turned out, it was too alike to the 50 Lira note P-225 of the same series.

But what was the reason to change the color of the Croatian 10 Kuna P-29 note into P-36, after just one short year in circulation? It was then a newly introduced issue with a clear color distinction between the values of Turkish banknotes, there was no forgery case; furthermore it was next one to the smallest denominations in circulation (approximately 3 German marks, which is 1.5 Euro today). The reason was not in Croatia itself, but in Germany instead. The Croatian P-29 banknote was too similar to the German 10 Mark note p38a and the German Mark was widely used as reserve currency in Croatia, as well as in the other Yugoslavian successor states. Since it was easy to mistakenly replace a 10 Kuna banknote with a 10 Mark note, the Croatian paper money was recolored to a brown color, and it has remained brown (P-36 and similar P-38 and P-43) up to this date.


Croatia p29: 10 Kuna from 1993 Croatia p36: 10 Kuna from 1995
"Original Croatian 10 Kuna banknote from 1993 p29a at left, with its recolored counterpart p36a from 1995".

German Federal Republic p38: 10 Deutsch Mark from 1989
"The German Federal Republic banknote (p38a) which prompted the recoloring of Croatia p29a".

It is interesting to think of the reasoning behind the original design of banknotes, and perhaps even more interesting to consider their recoloring. With cases such as these, it is easy to imagine the countless number of considerations that have to be taken into account every time a banknote is designed.

More Information About akaardvark387
By akaardvark387 on 2015-02-07

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