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Member Profile: contarius


My 'first banknote' was a Zaire 50 Makuta note showing Mobutu (Pick 17). I was left with it in my wallet after backpacking around Zaire in 1983. It was then worth about 1 cent, and it was only there because there was literally nothing I could buy with it, not even a banana at a street stall. I was surviving on about $3 a day, and would have spent it if I'd had the chance.

I only succumbed to banknote collecting during an extended trip to south-east Asia in 1994. Really, I was just bored and looking for something stimulating to pass my time. Japanese Invasion Money was cheap and interesting, as were US military payment certificates from the Vietnam War era, and then there were these wonderful British colonial notes from the Straits Settlements and Malaya. And so it started...

My favourite countries now are, perhaps unsurprisingly, Thailand, Straits Settlements and Malaya/British Borneo. In fact, I like most British Commonwealth stuff, providing it has a portrait, especially the earlier monarchs, KGV and KGVI, though I can't afford the rarer notes. Banknotes from the Belgian Congo also have a strange fascination, no doubt because of my backpacking trip. I don't tend to collect stuff newer than about 1980, except in specific cases, and the bulk of my collection is pre-1960.

I pulled out of collecting for ten years - from 2000 to 2010 – partly because of the number of forgeries and manipulated/ restored notes turning up even among 'reputable' dealers and the realisation that there were 101 other ways to waste my time.

Then, for some deeply disturbing reason related (no doubt) to serious flaws in my personality, the birth of my first daughter prompted me to jump on the waterslide again, and so here I am... I'm currently trying to reduce my addiction, or should that be affliction, and have considerably reduced my eBay purchasing, but still keep my eye out for scarcer notes and bargains, mostly off-eBay.

Country: Great Britain
Member Since: 2013-02-01
Status: Member
Total Points: 763

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