Friday, October 31, 2008

The Value of Japanese Occupation Banknotes

I was asked by a collector on the value of Japanese Occupation Banknotes (JOB). As most of us are aware, these JOB have not commercial value. One of the main reasons is that the number of issuance of these notes was unknown. Some have quoted that billion of JOB had been issued during the war time. The exact number of issuance remains unknown to many of us. From what we understand, only small portion of these notes were printed with serial number. Majority of the notes were printed with only the block letter i.e MA, MB etc. How many copies did the Japanese print out for each block letter? The question can only be answered by the Japanese. Moreover, these notes also lack of security features. No watermark was used and no signature or date of issuance recorded on these notes. Some of these notes even printed on the low quality paper. This has resulted many of the notes that we see in the market today are the RE-PRODUCTION copy.



The Malayan $5 Japanese Occupation Banknote printed with serial number.

Nevertheless, these notes have their historical values and stories. I remember a story told by an old folk many years ago. During the end of the World War II in 1945, the Japanese notes were no long valid as they had surrender themselves to the Allies force after the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Many of the folks in rural area were not aware of this incident. They were cheated by traders from town whom used these Japanese notes (already invalid after the war) to purchase their agriculture products such as padi, corns etc. In return, they had received tonne of Japanese money which later turn up to be worthless and useless. That is why these invasion notes can recall many old folks' painful memory during the war time.

This photo shows the Japanese Occupation Banknotes were littered on the street in Rangoon, Burma in 1945. Source from Wikipedia

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Propaganda Issues on Japanese Invasion Banknotes

Propaganda banknote is a conserted set of messages overprinted on a banknote that aimed to influence the opinion or behaviour of a large group or people. It was widely used during the World War II as a psychological tool. Many of these propaganda banknotes were prepared and disseminated by British Army through the aircrafts during the war time.

The obverse of the Malayan 10 Dollars Japanese Occupation Banknote with a diagonal propaganda message

The reverse printed with a propaganda message in three languages : Malay, Jawi Script and Chinese

The Malayan 10 Dollars Japanese Occupation Banknote was imitated and prepared by the British as a propaganda leaflet that dropped by the war aircraft over Malaya peninsular and Singapore in early 1945. This banknote has a diagonal propaganda message overprinted on the obverse of the note. It was printed in Malay language and read as "WANG JEPUN AKAN MATI BERSAMA2 JEPUN" or translated to English, "Japanese money will die together with the Japanese". The reverse of the note was printed with a propaganda message in three languages namely Malay, Jawi Script and Chinese. Translated to English, it reads "Today Japanese Money is no longer recognised in Burma, but the original British notes in Burma are the only legal tender. When British return to Malaya their notes will become valid again as usual. The original British Money will be valid forever. The Japanese notes will perish together with the Japanese."

The Malayan 5 Dollars Japanese Occupation Banknote printed with "WAR SOUVENIR"

There are also a number of other Malayan Japanese Occupation Banknotes that printed with the words "MALAYAN / WAR SOUVENIR" in red on the top and bottom of the 1 Dollar, 5 Dollars and 10 Dollars notes. In the middle of these notes were printed with the words "MALAYAN VJ" and "Grim Memories of 1941 - 1945" in red. It is learnt that these notes were printed at the end of the war.

The Malayan 1000 Dollars Japanese Occupation Banknote overprinted with 1946 calender

Besides, there are notes in 1000 Dollars that found with overprinted with 1946 calender from January to December in red covered the full obverse of the note. This is another kind of War Souvenir notes printed during the end of the war.

In conclusion, money isn't just a medium of transaction for goods and services. During the war time, it was used differently by the military as a propaganda message to spread information and influence a large number of people to achieve their war agenda. For a collector, these notes not only have their historical value but commercial value as well.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Japanese Invasion Banknotes of Philippines

There are three types of Japanese Occupation Banknotes issued by the Japanese during the occupation in Philippines since 1942. The first series consists of seven notes and they are issued in the denomination of 1 Centavo, 5 Centavos, 10 Centavos, 50 Centavos, 1 Peso, 5 Pesos and 10 Pesos. All these notes bear a block letter of P that represents the Philippines.

The First Series of Philippines' Japanese Invasion Banknotes
1 Centavo

5 Centavos

10 Centavos

50 Centavos

1 Peso

5 Pesos

10 Pesos

The second series of Philippines' Japaneses Occupation Banknotes has has total of 4 notes. They are in denomination of 1 Peso, 5 Pesos, 10 Pesos and 100 Pesos only. This series of note has depicted the Rizal monument vignette on the obverse of the notes. Rizal monument was a tribute to the Philippine's national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal. Some of these notes were introduced with the serial numbers and others were printed just with two letter blocks i.e. PA, PB etc.

The Second Series of Philippines' Japanese Occupation Banknotes
1 Peso

5 Peso
10 Peso


The third series of this Japanese Invasion Notes were printed with higher denomination resulted from the severe inflation. These notes were released in 100 Pesos, 500 Pesos and 1000 Pesos. The 1000 Pesos note was printed in smaller size than others and low quality paper was used.

The Third Series of Philippines' Japanese Occupation Banknotes
100 Pesos



500 Pesos

1000 Pesos

EZ-Link Cards With Orchid Series Banknotes

Ez-Link is so common used by most of the Singaporean for their daily trips on MRT, LRT or buses. Middle of last year, the Singapore Mint launched its first ever limited edition of Orchid Series Currency Notes Ez-Link cards. The splendour of the nine different orchid hybrids in the first series currency notes is beautifully captured in this set of specially created ez-link cards.

The Orchid Series Currency Notes is the first series of banknotes issued for circulation between 1967 and 1976 in Singapore. It is synonymous with Singapore’s formative years and the prominent orchid motif on the notes is a most apt reminder of our efforts in promoting ourselves as a “Garden City”.

The Orchid Currency souvenirs were first launched in the form of CashCards to overwhelming response in 1998. The series was sold out barely a few months after the first set of CashCards was launched. To date, these CashCards are still highly sought after by collectors. To commemorate the 10th year anniversary of the launch of the Orchid Series Currency CashCards, The Singapore Mint has produced a set of Orchid Series Currency Notes ez-link Cards.

Meticulously replicating the elegance and beauty of the orchids depicted on the notes, the ez-link cards would definitely help to educate the younger generation about an era in our history that they have little or no knowledge about. Both young and old can now own something relating to our currency legacy.

For more information, please visit the Singapore Mint.

A complete set of Orchid Series Banknotes of Ez-Link cards

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Japanese Invasion Banknotes of Indonesia

Netherland East Indies or Dutch East Indies was the Dutch colony which was later known as Indonesia after the World War II. During the occupation of Japanese military administration in March 1942, a new currency was introduced to replace the local currency - Dutch Gulden. 1 Dutch Gulden is divided into 100 Cent.

The first series of Japanese Invasion notes introduced in Dutch East Indies was similar in design with those issued in Malaya or Burma. These notes were bearing the letter "S" and they were printed in Dutch language. There were total seven notes issued in the denomination of 1 Cent, 5 Cents, 10 Cents, 1/2 Gulden, 1 Gulden, 5 Guldens and 10 Guldens.

The second series of Dutch East Indies' Japanese invasion note was released in 1944. As part of the Japanese strategy to keep control of the country and to promote the Asian nationalism, the local language version of Gulden - Roepiah was adopted in the later release notes. Concurrently, the Dutch wording "De Japansche Regeering" was replaced with local spelling "Pemerintah Dai Nippon". These notes were issued in 100 and 1000 Roepiah.

The third series consists of seven notes and they were printed with the wording "Dai Nippon Teikoku" means the "Empire of Greater Japan" or "大日本帝國". These notes were issued in 5 Cents, 10 Cents, 1/2 Roepiah, 1 Roepiah, 5 Roepiah, 10 Roepiah and 100 Roepiah. Unlike the previous released notes, this series of notes has blended local culture into the note's design. Personally, I think this series is more presentable and meaningful compare the others Japanese Invasion notes.

First Series of Dutch East Indies' Japanese Invasion Banknotes

1 Cent

5 Cents

10 Cents

1/2 Gulden

1 Gulden

5 Gulden

10 Gulden

Second Series of Dutch East Indies' Japanese Invasion Banknote

1000 Roepiah


Second Series of Dutch East Indies' Japanese Invasion Banknotes

1/2 Roepiah

1 Roepiah

5 Roepiah

10 Roepiah

100 Roepiah