Monday, December 29, 2008

Iran 500 Riyal

I got this Iranian 500 Riyal note when I was in Iran in March this year when I attended the Asia-Pacific Housing Ministers meeting in Tehran. In fact I got the entire Islamic series as well as the Pahlavi series. I could not get the pre Pahlavi series as they were too expensive.

However this Islamic series is interesting. I don't think there is any other currency in the world showing a group of people praying be it Islamic or otherwise. Though this 500 Riyal note is not worth much as the Iranian currency has weakened since the days of the Shah of Iran.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Russia 500 Rubles 1997

Continuing my series of 500 unit notes of many countries. This 500 ruble note is from Russia. I was in Moscow in 2007 leading the Brunei MOF team negotiating for a treaty with Russia. That was the third round - the first two were in Brunei. I have to admit then I was not expecting to go to Moscow. Most times, I am able to complete a negotiation by two rounds at most but Russia was slightly different. Anyway, it gave me and my team a chance to visit Moscow and not that many people had that opportunity.

When we arrived at the hotel, there was not much hassle at the airport, our passports were taken from us. Russia has a policy where every visitor had to be registered and you cannot go out without your passport (most important rule). So for the next few hours while the hotel was arranging for our registration with the local authorities, we were holed up at the hotel. As soon as we got our passports back, we went out to see what Moscow was like.

Anyway, their currency was just like any other currency and the 5 pieces that I have are used notes which I saved up from the trip. This one is 500 rubles and the largest note then was 5000 rubles. I didn't remember buying much in Russia other than a nice carved wooden chess set from Ukraine or something. Moscow was full of buildings - old ones. But the most memorable was being taken on this ship cruising the Moscow River and to see the famous Russian ballet show. A visit to Moscow hold special memories.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Cambodia 500 Riel 1970

I found another old 500 note in my currency notes collection. This one is from Cambodia bought by my sisters when they went to Angkor Wat. I was once in Cambodia attending an ASEAN meeting but at that time, I was not into notes collection and I only used US Dollars there.

This particular 500 Riel note is quite old (around 1970) and no longer in use. But it had an interesting painting and not many countries have paintings on their currency notes. The interesting bit about Cambodia is that by 1975 when Khmer Rouge ran the country, the country did not use money. It was not until 1980 when Cambodia was taken over by Vietnam did the country has money again.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Singapore Ship Series $500

Talking about 500 note, I had a rare surprise last month. Over the last few months, I had asked my banker nephew to keep a lookout for paper notes. One day he text me and send a photo image of this $500 Singapore note which had come through its branch and asked me whether I would like to have it. Would I?!

I certainly would. I dropped at his bank in lunch time, handed him $500 worth of Brunei money and got the $500 Singapore note. It is not a good note though but a used one and I would grade it around F/VF. But it is certainly a rare example of a Singapore ship series note making the rounds in Brunei. This one will certainly not be returning back to the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Yemen 500 Riyal

When I posted the Qatar 500 Riyal yesterday, I remembered this Yemeni 500 Riyal which I got when I was in Singapore recently. I was at a money changer when I saw this 500 Riyal in his glass cabinet and asked whether I could buy it. I can't remember what the cost was but it was relatively cheap and I managed to buy it. The colour and design really reminded me of that Qatari 500 Riyal. What do you think?

Monday, December 22, 2008

Qatar Riyal 500

My DM went to Qatar in November and I asked his PA to get me Qatar's 500 Riyal note. When I went to Qatar in January earlier this year to lead the negotiation team for Brunei-Qatar Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreement, I forgot to save the 500 Riyal note. I think I did but I had to pay for something on the last day and I had to use it.

This time round, I made sure that I got the 500 Riyal note which is worth just slightly more than B$200. The note is a polymer and had a small window in the middle of it. This is like the new Qatari 100 Riyal note.

The Qatari notes have a special place in my life. It was the last country I went to as a Ministry of Finance official. The day after I arrived back in Brunei, I was promoted to my current job.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

China FEC 100 Yuan 1980

I purchased this very recently through ebay. This is a 100 Yuan Foreign Exchange Certificate (FEC). In the days when the Yuan was not allowed to be change in the open market, foreigners going to China had to buy this FEC note from the government thus paying whatever official exchange rate that was in force at that time. It also limited the holder to shopping at certain places only. This FEC note is now very very difficult to get.

In fact when this note came out in ebay, I did not win the auction as the price went beyond my limit. But I was surprised when the owner gave me a second chance offer because he said he had another note available and I had to pay him my highest bid. I did that. When the note arrived, I realised that I had struck lucky. The original note that was on offer was actually a 1990 version thus had a catalogue value of around 400 Yuan. But the one that I got was a 1980 version and had a catalogue value of 900 Yuan! I am using a Chinese notes catalogue which I bought when I was in China recently. The book is in Mandarin and I can't read it but I know enough to know where the prices are. Now I feel guilty whether I should tell the owner...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Disney Dollars

Every now and then to calm my nerves trying to win bids for Brunei dollars and stamps on ebay, I would go and bid for the Disney dollars. Disney dollars are more fun and less stressful. The above are the ones released for 2008 and in time for Disney's 80th Anniversary. Disney dollars are reasonable but the older ones are rising in prices. What are Disney Dollars?

Disney Dollars were released to the public on May 5th., 1987. Disney Dollars came in one and five dollar denominations from 1987 thru 1989. Starting in 1990 they added the Disney ten dollar bill. Disney Dollars are redeemable for goods or services at the Disney theme parks, Disney cruise ships, and the Disney stores.

Disney Dollars are printed in "A" dollars and "D" dollars. The "A" Disney Dollars created for Disneyland in Anaheim, California, the "A" refering to Anaheim, and the "D" Disney Dollars for Walt Disney World in Orlando Florida. Starting in 2005 Disney Dollars are also available as "T" dollars. Also In 2005 , Disney offered a Fifty Disney Dollar bill that was designed by Disney master artist for 39 years, Charles Boyer for Disneyland's 50th Anniversary Celebration. Charles Boyer also personally signed a select number of these. In 2007 "E" & "F" prefix Disney Dollars were added.

Disney Dollars are beautifully printed in bright, vibrant colors. The intaglio printing process used to print Disney Dollars allows you to "Feel The Steel" on the paper, as banknote engravers would say. Disney Dollars are much sought after collectables by Disney collectable fans.

New Disney dollars have been produced every year since 1987 except 1992, 2004 and 2006. Disney Dollars can be exchanged dollar for dollar with US currency. The Disney Dollar is a source of revenue for the Walt Disney Company as it is assumed a certain number of Disney dollars will never be redeemed, and will be gobbled up by collectors.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Rare Brunei's 6 cents stamp

Over the last week, I have been tracking and bidding on this rare 6c Brunei stamp Japanese Occupation. Yesterday I lost it. My final bid was GBP400, the winning bid was GBP411, I think.

This is one of the last four Brunei stamps which I am trying to get. These are the highest values of the entire Brunei collection. This 6c stamp only comes out once in a blue moon. Scott listed it at around USD775. The next time this comes out, I am not going to play nice.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Singapore's $10,000

For those who kept with my other blog would have known that I have spent the last 6 days in Singapore. And numismatically, it was worth the 6 days. I managed to get a few notes especially older Brunei and a number of other notes as well. But I thought the one I posted above takes the cake.

This is a Singapore $10,000 genuine specimen note. The only difference between this one and the one in circulation (if you can find any) is that this one has the word specimen on it. According to my numismatic dealer, this note was available for $180 when it first came out. Of course, it is not $180 anymore when I paid for it.

According to my dealer too, apparently some of these specimen notes were taken to one country and over there they managed to wipe off the word specimen and then changed each note for an actual $10,000. I have never heard of this story but if this is true, I am not surprised that the story was not publicised. No one wants to look like a fool and at the same time no one wants many people to find out that these $10,000 specimen notes are actually worth something more than the original price of $180.

On a separate note, if you were to find a Brunei $10,000 specimen note, how much do you think you would have to pay for it? Well, the price on ebay is at least $10,000.