Thursday, July 2, 2009

Banknotes of French Indochina

I bought these two pieces of French Indochina banknotes during my recent visit to Vietnam. The currency of French Indochina was introduced between 1880 and 1952 with the unit of Piastre. The French Indochina refers to the French colonial empire at Southeast Asia which consists of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.

The French Indochina currency, Piastre, was commonly used among these three countries prior to their independence. These French Indochina banknotes were issued by Banque de l'Indochine which was established in 1875 to look after the interest of France territories in Asia. It was until 1946 when Vietnam started to adopt its own currency Dong, follow by the Laos and Cambodia introduced theirs namely Kip and Riel in 1952 and 1953 respectively. Initially these local currency are set at par value with Piastre.

Unlike British or American colonial banknotes, French banknote has its unique features. One thing I like the most about these French colonial currency is the beauty of banknotes' colors. French colonial banknote designs are alike with French banknote where they printed colorfully and most importantly it adopted the local culture as their background. There were also multi local languages printed on the back of the banknotes.

1 Piastre

5 Piastre

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

French Indochina 1954 (1 piastre) - Cambodia, Loas and Vietnam

The Institute of Issuance of Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam (Institut D'Emission Des Etats Du Cambodge, Du Laos Et Du Vietnam) issued its own French Indochina banknote after French came back to Indochina in 1951. The institute was suppose to replace the role of Bank of Indochina (Banque de l'Indochina) to issuance the currency in these three nations. However, Bank of Indochina continued to issue Indochina currency until the Institute of Issuance was capable to produce the required amount for Indochina.

This series of 1 Piastre Indochina banknote was issued in 1954. One of the features of these notes is that they were issued by the same institute with the same design on the obverse of the notes. However, the reverse of the notes feature the local building that represent the symbol of each nation. There were three languages (Cambodian, Laotian and Vietnamese) printed on the reverse of the notes. The main nation language for each nation currency was printed in the top middle of the note, whereas other languages were printed on the bottom left and right of the note.

Cambodia - 1 Piastre

Laos - 1 Piastre

Vietnam - 1 Piastre