What follow is Volume Five of several in an on-going series – this one featuring currencies no longer in circulation for one reason or another including the fascinating Japanese Peso issued in The Philippines, as well as artifacts from Colombia, Nigeria, Brasil, Laos, Bulgaria and possibly other locales.
Spiel: Once upon a time… humans moved away from bartering things and services on an ad hoc basis and came up with a default transaction medium which became known as money. First coins (well, maybe something before, likely made of clay) denominated by an arbitrary, yet commonly agreed-upon, value – often made of metals which were deemed to be rare/shiny/valuable.
Then after (perhaps admitting the arcane value of metals and needing something handier to tote around) eventually created paper bank notes – first with value attached to aforementioned shiny metals, then again arbitrarily assigned a transactional value by central banks and governments.
To me, this is neither here nor there, i really don’t have an opinion about the “importance” of money. Indeed, if you value such “wealth” so much, go forth and acquire in exchange for your time, talents or conniving – or simply create your own currency, print it and rally folks to desire it as a means of exchange. This is commonly done in form of community notes, “virtual” currencies (often managed by Blockchain tech), or even various commercial operations making notes, coupons or points systems.
My point in sharing this is: Very often, these banknotes – both contemporary or deprecated – are lovely specimens of design art and printing technology (granted the reason is usually to thwart counterfeit versions polluting the general population’s trust in the monetary system). Note: Collecting and studying banknotes is called notaphily.
Note: the 200 (old) Bulgarian Leva shows the portrait of Georgii Dimitrov On the back side of the 200 BGL bill is a scene of farm workers harvesting tobacco.
I very much enjoy the loveliness of printing “things on substrates” – the values to me are non-important (aside when i need to purchase eggs and bacon) but rather the artistic-ness and the totems decided by a society to represent their culture/country (often historical figures of various repute, significant events, important buildings or cultural motifs) are a source of endless curiosity.
Additionally, the stories the bills imbue, often soaked quite literally into the fibres, as well as the journey the note took to your hand or pocket and/or the travel one undertook to acquire… are what sparks my interest. As such, i gather these notes, photograph for the historical record and my own amusement and, evidently, to share with you.