Europe

Press release: The Banknote Register 2nd edition

The Banknote Register 2nd editionbr-photo2
The Banknote Register: CIS and Baltic Countries
1991-2016, General Issues
Second edition (English)

Author: Dmitry Zagorenko (IBNS #11608, General Secretary of the Russian Chapter of IBNS).
Editor: Dmitry Litvak (IBNS LM #204, President of the Russian Chapter of IBNS).
Format: A4. Weight: 1,5 Kg.
Hard cover with pressed gilding and book jacket band.
344 full-color pages (paper 115 g/m2).
16 Chapters (Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Lithuania, Moldova, Transnistria, Latvia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Armenia, Turkmenistan, Estonia).
Edition: 1000 pieces.

The Banknote Register provides the most detailed information on all emissions of paper money in post-Soviet countries from 1991 to present. It describes the history of money circulation establishment and development in the new sovereign states. The book gives detailed information on each banknote, variations and types, commemorative and souvenir issues, security features, designers, signatories, serial prefixes, images portrayed on the notes. It will be no exaggeration to say that the author with the help of collectors and staff of national banks has compiled the best known up to now data, many of which will be published for the first time, and also data unknown to many collectors. This work has resulted in compilation and classification of the most complete information on currency circulation in the post-Soviet countries.

The publication of the Register will, for sure, reduce the number of blank spaces in the history of circulation in CIS and Baltic states. Nevertheless, the author continues searching for materials and communicating with paper money collectors, museum workers, designers and bank specialists and laymen. We hope that the Register of Banknotes of CIS and Baltic Countries will encourage you as well to study actively the currency circulation in the post-Soviet countries.

Promo-video: https://youtu.be/O33FxdonxS0
Official website: http://banknote-register.com

For a $7 discount off the list price of $62, use the coupon code "BanknoteBook" when ordering the book by email.

Registered shipment to any country in the world is $22, so the total discounted cost is only US$77.

Isle of Man Paper Money

Isle of Man Paper Money cover
Isle of Man Paper Money
Pam West and Alan Kelly, 420 pages, soft cover, 147 x 210 mm, color illustrations, English, ISBN 9780954345747, €24 (plus shipping), Pam West, British Notes, PO Box 257, Sutton, Surrey SM3 9WW. Tel: 0208 641 3224, www.britishnotes.co.uk, pam@britishnotes.co.uk

Reviewed by Jonathan Callaway (full disclosure: a contributor to this catalog)

You do not have to be a collector of Isle of Man notes to recognise the contribution this book makes to our understanding of the notes issued on this small island in the Irish Sea, part of the British Isles geographically but not part of the United Kingdom politically.

Pam West and Alan Kelly have reviewed and catalogued every example of paper money ever issued on the Isle of Man. There have been earlier catalogues but none is as comprehensive in its coverage and this is the first one to provide a complete pricing guide.

The book opens with an extensive introduction chapter contributed by Jonathan Callaway covering not only the historical background but also a brief outline of the currency history of the Island. The first section of the catalogue proper covers the many early 19th century card money issues which were abolished in 1817. Many new discoveries have been listed and many new images of these rare pieces are included. The authors have trawled not only institutional collections on the Island and elsewhere but also gained access to the leading private collections.

The next section deals with the first banknotes proper on the Island, starting in 1788 and covering the early issues ahead of an Act of the Tynwald (i.e. the Isle of Man’s own parliament) in 1817 which set out the Isle of Man’s first regulations for banknote issuance. The ensuing chapter covers firstly the various private banks licensed to issue notes under the 1817 Act. Once again many previously unknown notes have been found and illustrated. The chapter then goes on to cover the Isle of Man’s first joint stock banks. These better capitalised banks did eventually drive the private banks out of business but not without a few casualties of their own. There are potted histories of each one including the ill-fated Bank of Mona which abruptly ceased trading when its Scottish parent collapsed catastrophically in 1878. Each bank’s note issues are carefully set out with every signature variety described and illustrated. Proofs and essays are also listed and where possible illustrated.

The complex history of Dumbell’s Bank comes next, again with illustrations of a number of very rare notes and a fully detailed listing of the bank’s issues. This bank failed in 1900 and creditors got just 12s 7½d (63p) in the pound although the note holders were paid out in full – hence fully issued notes are rare today.

The final note issuing bank to be established on the Isle of Man was the Isle of Man Joint Stock Banking Company Limited, in November 1865. The bank’s issues are covered with the same degree of detail as previous issuers but there is more – when Waterlow & Sons Ltd took over the printing contract in 1927 they used the positional plate letters seen on all the notes they produced. Here the book sets out the plate letter sequences in remarkably full detail. A total of 530,000 £1 notes were printed by Waterlows with one master plate for each side of the note, each with four impressions on it. Each impression was given its own plate letter and the book lists in full the complex pattern of plate letters, prefixes and dates. The original master plates were re-engraved in 1952 and each of the four impressions given a new plate letter. On top of this there were frequent signature changes and again these are set out in complete detail. For specialist collectors this is as good as it gets! Waterlow also printed 7,200 £5 notes for the bank between 1927 and 1960. Such a tiny print run required just one plate for each side but there are still five date and signature varieties to collect despite the fact that 2,600 of these notes were never issued.

In 1896 saw the first of the English banks arrive to offer the local banks serious competition. Four English banks eventually issued their own notes. These issues are popular with many collectors due to the fact that they are the only banknotes any of these banks ever issued; they were unable to issue notes in England itself due to a different legislative environment and the dominance of the Bank of England. Once again the book does not let collectors down and provides every level of detail on type, variety and signature changes through to 1961 when the Tynwald withdrew the right for commercial banks to issue their own notes.

The book next devotes a long chapter to the Internment Camp issues from both World Wars. As a small island located midway between Britain and Ireland, the Isle of Man was deemed to be an ideal location to intern ‘enemy aliens’ during both global conflicts. These were civilians originally from the countries the United Kingdom found itself at war with. Many of the camps issued their own ‘currency’ in the form of vouchers and canteen tickets. The many issues are covered here in unparalleled detail with many issues recorded and illustrated for the first time. A wealth of new information is offered and much fascinating background is provided on the camps themselves.

The final third of the book focuses on the issues of the Isle of Man Government – a much loved and widely collected series which has been running for over 50 years and still going strong. All these beautiful notes carry a portrait of H.M. Queen Elizabeth II and the many varieties and signature changes are naturally covered in the full detail we have come to expect. Nearly every known proof, specimen and colour trial is illustrated and once again a lot of new information has been unearthed for collectors to enjoy.

‘Isle of Man Paper Money’ covers well over 200 years of paper money history in its 412 pages. It achieves a level of detail few catalogues can aspire to and will stand for many years as the definitive guide to the Isle of Man’s paper currency issues. The book is beautifully produced and all illustrations are in full colour. This reviewer cannot recommend this book enough. It would grace the shelf of any paper money enthusiast and surely whet the appetite of anyone who has yet to start collecting these fascinating and lovely notes.

Catalogue of Greek Paper Money 1822-2002

Catalogue of Greek Paper Money
Catalogue of Greek Paper Money 1822-2002
Evangelos Fysikas, 400 pages, soft cover, 230 x 150 mm, B&W illustrations, Greek/English, ISBN-13 9789609363327, €34 (plus shipping), http://greeknotes.blogspot.gr, greeknotes@gmail.com

Reviewed by Owen W. Linzmayer

Kudos to author Evangelos Fysikas for having created a wonderfully accessible and detailed specialized catalog covering Greek notes issued by various banks from 1822 until the 2002 introduction of the euro.

The chapters are broken up by issuer, with the notes presented chronologically, and then by denomination. While the descriptions of the notes’ imagery and designs are very bare bones, the listings do contain details of importance to specialized collectors and generalists alike, including printer, dimensions, introduction/withdrawal dates, and watermarks. Instead of prices, the catalog shows rarity ratings (1-9) for four grades of condition (F, VF, XF, UNC). This is sure to disappoint collectors hoping for guidance with valuations, but by eliminating prices, the catalog won’t appear obsolete if the market changes drastically, which is not out of the question given Greece’s recent economic troubles.

Each chapter begins with a fair amount of introductory text in Greek followed by English translations which are remarkably clear and unambiguous. I appreciate the historical background contained in these sections, helping explain why notes were issued as well as describing the differences between the many issues.

My biggest disappointment with this catalog is the use of black and white illustrations which simply don’t do justice to the beautiful color notes. Also, a fair number of the earlier, rarer notes are not illustrated at all. Another disappointment is a lack of Pick numbers in the main listings. Fortunately there is a cross-reference table in an appendix, but that’s not nearly as convenient.

For any serious specialized collector, Catalogue of Greek Paper Money is a must-have reference, if for nothing other than the appendices which succinctly list every note variety by date, prefix and serial number ranges, and signatures.

Coins and Banknotes of Yugoslavia, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia

Coins and Banknotes cover
Coins and Banknotes of Yugoslavia, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia
Zlatko Viščević, 1173 pages, soft cover, 192 x 120 mm, black and white illustrations, Croatian and English, ISBN 978-953-56890-0-3, US$52 / €40 (free shipping), kin2.orders@gmail.com

Download the free sample chapter: Coins and Banknotes of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.

Reviewed by Owen W. Linzmayer 7962

As author Zlatko Viščević mentions in the introduction to his impressive new catalog, collecting banknotes from the area of the former Yugoslavia can be quite challenging due to the large number of notes issued over the years. Compounding the problem is the Serbo-Croatian text on these notes and the complicated history of the region, both of which may be unfamiliar to many collectors. This new catalog doesn’t attempt to explain the tumultuous politics of the past three centuries, but is an invaluable addition to the reference library of anyone who specializes in collecting notes from this part of the world.

The first edition of this catalog was published in 2007. The second edition covers regular and commemorative notes issued in the intervening years, goes into greater depth in the descriptions, and now also includes special, fantasy, and private issues. In short, if you already own the first edition and like it, you’ll definitely want to buy the much-improved and expanded second edition.

Coins and Banknotes’ title spells out exactly what’s inside. The first half of the book is devoted to coins, the second half to notes, with chapters for the seven countries in each section. Within the chapters, the coins and notes are listed chronologically by denomination, which makes it easy to locate a particular piece and track changes over time, but at the expense of presenting complete families with common or complementary designs.

Each note type listing contains the denomination, catalog number, cross-references to Pick numbers and other specialized catalogs, reduced-size illustrations of the front and back, description of design elements and security features, and finally a list of varieties, with checkboxes for tracking your collection. Each variety is assigned a six-level rarity rating, and has values in euros for up to four levels of condition. Some notes also have auction results at the bottom of the page, though the values and results don’t always agree. Occasionally there are inset illustrations of details which determine varieties. These are useful in most cases, but sometimes the differences aren’t obvious due to the small size or lack of color in their reproduction.

Specialized collectors will appreciate the comprehensive lists of prefixes, as well as the inclusion of specimen and replacement notes in the variety tables, not to mention the assortment of “irregular issues” (color trials, partial proofs, etc.) and private/fantasy notes covered separately. While there isn’t much explanatory text regarding these issues, anyone interested in pursuing further research can consult the bibliography of source books and web sites at the end of each chapter.

The longer passages of prose in the catalog are presented in both Croatian and English, but the descriptions of the notes and their varieties are in Croatian only, which is a little frustrating if you care about such details and don’t want to rely upon Google Translate. Fortunately the English text everywhere else in the book is good enough that it’s easy to overlook the minor typos and understand the gist of the intended meaning.

One complaint I have about the catalog is its size. This is a bulky, compact tome measuring a whopping 55 millimeters thick, and heavy enough to break a toe if dropped on a foot. I would have preferred the coin and banknote sections split into two separate volumes, both printed in a larger format. As it is, the small black and white illustrations don’t do justice to the beauty of the notes, and the tiny text is hard to read if your eyesight isn’t perfect.

With this second edition, Zlatko Viščević has created a solid reference for collectors of notes of Yugoslavia and its constituent republics from 1849 to 2011. Coins and Banknotes delivers a dense helping of numismatic information at price that can’t be beat.

Press release: Gibraltar's Currency & Banknotes 1898-2011

Gibraltar's Currency & Banknotes 1898-2011
Gibraltar's Currency & Banknotes 1898-2011
by Richard J. M. Garcia, 109 pages, soft cover, 250 x 150 mm, color illustrations, English, ISBN 978-1-919663-09-8, US$24.95 (airmail postage included), braid@gibtelecom.net

Richard Garcia’s latest book addresses a topic that has never hitherto been studied, that of money in Gibraltar from 1898 to 2011. The choice of dates was deliberate. Gibraltar adopted sterling currency as the only legal tender in Gibraltar in 1898. It was in 2011 that the Gibraltar Government assumed sole responsibility for the design, printing and production of banknotes, taking over responsibilities that until then had been the preserve of a Secretary of State in England. A lot happened in between.

The book is not just about banknotes: it sets out to place Gibraltar’s currency in a social history context, looking at how Gibraltar was changing and developing and how these changes were reflected by our banknotes and coinage. It is the fruit of research in the Government Archives and in the Treasury. It explores a number of areas including:

  • Why Gibraltar adopted sterling currency in 1898. The accepted reason for this has hitherto been that it was the result of the inflation which accompanied the war of 1898 between Spain and the United States. This was not, in fact, the case.
    • Why Gibraltar chose to issue banknotes in 1914, at the time of the outbreak of World War I, and the procedure that was followed in arriving at the design of the banknotes and printing them, without previously having consulted London.
    • The financial crisis that arose on the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936.
    • What happened in Gibraltar during World War II in terms of demand for currency notes in the light of the evacuation, the feared invasion of Gibraltar, and the build-up of troops in Gibraltar.
    • The impact of the Spanish blockade of the 1960s and the eventual closure by Spain of the land frontier with Gibraltar and the withdrawal of Spanish labour.
    • The introduction of decimal currency in 1971.
    • The introduction of Gibraltar circulating coins.
    • The reasons for the subsequent issue of higher denomination currency notes.

There are 52 colour illustrations in the book. The design of the front and back of every design used for a Gibraltar banknote is depicted, including the rare notes of 1914. There is also a complete listing of all 73 currency notes issued by Gibraltar, indicating the date of issue of the note and the signature on it.

The book is a companion to the article written by Richard Garcia and which was published in the Gibraltar Heritage Trust journal, tracing Gibraltar’s currency from 1704 to 1872, when Spanish currency was adopted as Gibraltar’s only legal tender.

The Standard Catalogue of the Provincial Banknotes of England & Wales


The International Bank Note Society (IBNS) has awarded its 2011 Book of the Year, for a book published in 2010, to The Standard Catalogue of the Provincial Banknotes of England & Wales by Roger Outing. The announcement was made at the Annual General Meeting of the IBNS in Memphis, Tennessee, USA in early June.

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Already considered an essential guide for collectors of English and Welsh paper money, Roger Outing’s book covers a wide range of bank note and banking information. While the book carries on the pioneering work of Geoffrey Grant’s The Standard Catalogue of Provincial Banks and Banknotes, there is much more to Mr. Outing’s work. The main section of the new work is an alphabetical listing of issuing banks by town, which also incorporates the multi-branch joint stock banks. This is followed by a full listing of the London private and joint-stock banks; most of which never issued banknotes, but the comprehensive coverage is a boon for bank historians, as well as collectors of cheques and other financial ephemera. A further section lists all non-bank issuers by town of origin – mostly collieries, ironworks and the like, which issued notes in the early years of the nineteenth century. The final section covers Skit Notes, an area not previously researched in detail. Skit Notes were often prepared for advertising, entertainment or political purposes, and quite often were designed to look similar to genuine notes. While only items issued prior to 1900 are included, there are still details of some 63 ‘issues’.

The Standard Catalogue of the Provincial Banknotes of England & Wales is an impressive work – not only is the information of great value, it is very well presented. A large format, hard-back publication of 520 pages, with over 850 colour illustrations, the book has been prepared to a high standard by its publishers – Token Publishing of the United Kingdom. This catalogue and price guide is a wonderful example of the investment of time and effort into the research of paper money and the IBNS congratulates Roger Outing on a valuable achievement and contribution to the world of paper money.

Austrian Papermoney after 1759


Katalog der österreichischen Banknoten ab 1759 (Austrian Papermoney after 1759) by Johann Kodnar and Norbert Künstner
384 pages, soft cover, 210 x 147 mm, color illustrations, German with English translations, self-published by Kodnar and Künstner, ISBN 978-3-200-01957-7

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This paperback is the best specialized catalog covering all the banknotes of Austria. This second edition was published in 2010 and vastly improves upon the first edition by stretching coverage all the way back to 1759 and up through the euros in 2002. Also new in this edition are specimens and additional variations, making it the single best source for information on all Austrian notes issued for general circulation as well as specialized issues and unissued designs.

Much of the new material covers the early notes which collectors rarely see in person due to their extreme scarcity. I appreciated the explanation and inclusion of “formulares,” which were issued from 1762-1849 to serve the same purpose as specimens, but overprinted with a large X on different paper from the actual notes, or with design elements omitted. From 1880 onward, Austria used specimens instead, and both are thoroughly documented in this catalog.

For the most part, the layout features one note per page, with the front and back of the note appearing in full color, along with its nominal value, year (not the full date) of the note, a very terse description of the front and back design, size in millimeters, watermark, name of designer, dates in circulation, and value in euros for four grades of condition. The note images are detailed and printed on high-quality coated stock, making for an attractive book. I would have appreciated more detailed descriptions of the people, places, and objects depicted on the notes and their significance to Austria, as well as additional information on security features and signatories.

Breaking up the data on various issues are introductions written in German which help put the notes in historical context. There are cross references to English translations which appear at the back of the book. The English text is rather good, with only minor awkward phrasing that belies the translation from another language. More troubling is that the blocks of English text are not in chronological order, which can lead to confusion if read consecutively. In the next edition I would like to see the German and English appearing side-by-side along with the notes described. I’d also recommend against renumbering the notes again, although I can understand the authors’ desire to start fresh assigning numbers from the very beginning given that the coverage went from 150 types in the first edition to 269 in the second edition.

The back of the book has two things I particularly like. First, it’s full of advertisements from dealers who specialize in banknotes from Austria and the region. Many of these dealers were not ones with which I was already familiar, so they may prove to be useful sources in the future. The other feature I like is the 20-page section containing thumbnail images of the fronts of all the notes and their valuations. This can be used as a quick-reference guide to notes in your collection or on your want list.

Everyone with a serious interest in Austrian notes should own this catalog which is well worth the cost of just under US$30.

Catalogue of Polish Banknotes


Katalog Popularnych Banknotów Polskich (Catalogue of Polish Banknotes) by Andrzej Fischer
90 pages, paperback, 150 x 205 mm, color illustrations, Polish, ISBN 83-88352-07-5

This new catalog was published in 2010 and covers banknotes issued in Poland from 1914 until 2009, including Danzig and German occupation notes. It is written entirely in Polish without translations, which isn't much of a loss because there is not a lot of text. The format of the book is pretty basic, with color illustrations of fronts and backs of notes, dimensions, dates of issuance, very brief descriptions including watermark and serial number, and values. This catalog is primary useful for identifying and valuing notes, not learning the historical background which puts Polish notes into perspective.