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Which country has the most different types of banknotes?

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Trung Quoc Don
Joined: 14-Dec-2017
Posts: 45
Hello everyone,

I recently came across this quote from Bob Reis (Anything Anywhere): "I had written in a World Coin News article that Mexico has been one of the great coin issuing countries of the world. It has been no slouch in paper money either. Starting in the 19th century there has been a very large number of local and central government notes issued. Let me think... Probably Russia is #1 in paper money types, then China, then maybe the USA (including the pre-Civil War "broken" banknotes), then probably Mexico. Several thousand notes, with no catalog containing them all." Which is quite interesting, I've been busy cataloguing and indexing unlisted Chinese banknotes from the Qing Dynasty and the Republic of China and beforehand had thought that German Notgeld was the most diverse of all banknotes, I've read somewhere that there are around 30,000 different types of Notgeld, but Chinese banknotes number around 5000 official types, according to Scott Semans there are over 10,000 private banks (not counting those issued by Qianzhuang and Piaohao) and as there were over 10,000 Qianzhuang during the 1890's with many issuing multiple types of banknotes I've concluded that the Chinese banknotes issued are very much more diverse.

In the United States of America there also appeared to have been a huge number of local banks issuing a large number of banknote types around the 19th (nineteenth) century, and in Mexico as well. Now I don't have a map on all of these but after asking to some people I know they've stated that the Mexican, American, Chinese, and Russian issues are all a lot more diverse than German and Austrian Notgeld, but as Notgeld tended to be made for collectors after their initial introduction (a lot of notgeld was made by German and Austrian cities during the 1920's to sell to collectors at a profit) these banknotes are way better catalogues and from what I can tell new Notgeld doesn't often show its head while new Mexican, American, Chinese, and Russian pop their heads up all the time.

my question is, are there any estimates for the numbers of local Mexican, American, Chinese, and Russian banknote issuance? I've been busy with the Chinese banknotes for years and there seems to be no end in sight.
Trung Quoc Don
Joined: 14-Dec-2017
Posts: 45
Addendum: Concurrently I've worked on Chinese charms which David Hartill estimated there to be 5,000 different types of until 1912, so +/- 6,000 types in total, there are 5,000 different types of Kaiyuan Tongbao Chinese cash coins and 5,000 different types of Sangpyeong Tongbo Korean cash coins. Coins in general tend to have large variations, but these were all made over hundreds if not thousands of years (in case of Chinese numismatic charms), I've been able to index all major variants of these, but with Chinese banknotes basically every time I even dip my toe in the pool I get a tsunami of new types I didn't see before. The same applies to American and Mexican banknotes.
Steve27
Joined: 22-Mar-2016
Posts: 1280
It really depends on what "different" means. As you stated, back in the 19th century and into the early 20th century, US banks could issue currency with their own bank name on it. The book on this subject is called "National Bank Notes" by Don C. Kelly. On his website he states "There are updated note values and populations based on a census of over 320,000 notes." While this number most likely includes many duplicates, there could be roughly 30,000 different types (6 different denominations for 5,000 banks).

Trung Quoc Don
Joined: 14-Dec-2017
Posts: 45
Quote: "Steve27"​It really depends on what "different" means. As you stated, back in the 19th century and into the early 20th century, US banks could issue currency with their own bank name on it. The book on this subject is called "National Bank Notes" by Don C. Kelly. On his website he states "There are updated note values and populations based on a census of over 320,000 notes." While this number most likely includes many duplicates, there could be roughly 30,000 different types (6 different denominations for 5,000 banks).



Yeah, thanks for the information, the definition of "type" is subjective, some people collect by denomination and series (like me), while others would also collect by serial number, date of issue, and other small differences.​

I've been trying to catalogue the unlisted ones as much as I can on Wikimedia Commons (so others could later find them there easily), but I have not been able to find good standard catalogues for any of them online. I will try to look for the "National Bank Notes" catalogue. While I have yet to find an online catalogue better than Banknote.ws, I am struggling to find most "unlisted banknotes" on websites other than blogs and auction websites.
Steve27
Joined: 22-Mar-2016
Posts: 1280
Kelly's book can be found here: http://www.donckelly.com/books.html
COINMAN1
Joined: 8-Jun-2013
Posts: 1911
I still believe that the greatest number of different banknote from one country has to be German Notgeld.
I have noticed that in some instances in other countries, a banknote could be listed over 20 times but only the signatures have changed, whereas everything else is the same. Look at Switzerland 10 and 20 Francs.
There are a few German Notgeld banknotes, especially Koln with a similar problem, but overall, massive difference across the overall collection.
Take a look at Colnect for reference.
I'm just a collector of coins, not a slave to it, unless I am in a coin shop.
Steve27
Joined: 22-Mar-2016
Posts: 1280
Quote: "COINMAN1"​I still believe that the greatest number of different banknote from one country has to be German Notgeld.
​I have noticed that in some instances in other countries, a banknote could be listed over 20 times but only the signatures have changed, whereas everything else is the same. Look at Switzerland 10 and 20 Francs.
​There are a few German Notgeld banknotes, especially Koln with a similar problem, but overall, massive difference across the overall collection.
​Take a look at Colnect for reference.
​While I agree with your numbers, I don't agree with them being considered true banknotes. They were produced by local municipalities and not the Reichsbank. Additionally, many were produced just for collectors.
COINMAN1
Joined: 8-Jun-2013
Posts: 1911
Steve,
Surely, people did not collect them when they were issued. They used them for whatever they could buy.
I do agree with you on the issuing front. That is probably the only downfall, but it was obviously allowed.
They are still the highest issues, as others, as stated in the earlier comment, we're also issued locally.
I'm just a collector of coins, not a slave to it, unless I am in a coin shop.
Dave Angel
Joined: 28-Jul-2019
Posts: 62
Notgeld is very much legitimate currency & highly collectable.
Germany was in a time of great turmoil and change, Notgeld was vital.
To say some of the Notgeld was issued solely for collectors may be true to a certain extent, but it certainly shouldn't be dismissed as not being 'true banknotes' in my opinion.
They were legal tender after all and used to purchase in hard times.
"I have banknote fever"
COINMAN1
Joined: 8-Jun-2013
Posts: 1911
I have some German Notgeld banknotes. They range from 1 Pfennig to 500,000,000 (500 Milliarden) Mark
There are works of art as well as money.
I'm just a collector of coins, not a slave to it, unless I am in a coin shop.
Dave Angel
Joined: 28-Jul-2019
Posts: 62
Quote: "COINMAN1"​I have some German Notgeld banknotes. They range from 1 Pfennig to 500,000,000 (500 Milliarden) Mark
​There are works of art as well as money.
​They certainly are, some real beautiful notgeld issues out there to suit most tastes.
"I have banknote fever"
ngdawa
Joined: 18-Oct-2011
Posts: 3058
Quote: "COINMAN1"​I have some German Notgeld banknotes. They range from 1 Pfennig to 500,000,000 (500 Milliarden) Mark
​There are works of art as well as money.
​That's 500 millionen. 500 milliarden would be 500,000,000,000. ;)
COINMAN1
Joined: 8-Jun-2013
Posts: 1911
Yes,
That is correct. Forgot the last three zero's. When there are so many 0's, it's easy to miscount.
I'm just a collector of coins, not a slave to it, unless I am in a coin shop.
ngdawa
Joined: 18-Oct-2011
Posts: 3058
Quote: "COINMAN1"​Yes,
​That is correct. Forgot the last three zero's. When there are so many 0's, it's easy to miscount.
lol! ​i think you just revealed yourself as a none trillionaire, mate.. ;)
COINMAN1
Joined: 8-Jun-2013
Posts: 1911
Trillionaire?

Cannot work out the best country to be in for that. It seems different here than in the USA, so I understand.

Tried to buy a 1 penny, (1p), sweet with the 500,000,000,000 banknote, but the shopkeeper said it was not enough.

I have just added another low valued banknote.

https://colnect.com/en/banknotes/banknote/106605-420_Goldpfennig_1100_dollars-Bremen-German_Notgeld

4.2 gold pfennig 1/100th Dollar 1 cent

Just wondering what I might buy for this?
I'm just a collector of coins, not a slave to it, unless I am in a coin shop.
Steve27
Joined: 22-Mar-2016
Posts: 1280
Quote: "COINMAN1"​Steve,
​Surely, people did not collect them when they were issued. They used them for whatever they could buy.
​I do agree with you on the issuing front. That is probably the only downfall, but it was obviously allowed.
​They are still the highest issues, as others, as stated in the earlier comment, we're also issued locally.
​As I stated earlier, some were just issued for collectors, they never circulated. In the US it is legal to issue local banknotes (see BerkShares as an example). But these are also notgeld, which by translation/definition, is Not Money.

https://www.berkshares.org/
PhilipBe
Joined: 28-Oct-2012
Posts: 111
notgeld....refers to "emergency money"
neilithicman
Joined: 22-Nov-2017
Posts: 876
I would have thought it would be one of the hyper-inflation countries as they tended to reissue their notes several times a year with extra "0s" stamped on the end of the value. I read somewhere that in Germany during hyper inflation your meal at a restaurant could cost more by the time you'd finished eating it than it was when you ordered it.
What? Me Worry
ngdawa
Joined: 18-Oct-2011
Posts: 3058
Quote: "neilithicman"I read somewhere that in Germany during hyper inflation your meal at a restaurant could cost more by the time you'd finished eating it than it was when you ordered it.
​That's basically how it was in Zimbabwe. Wheb people got their (daily) salaries they rushed to the grocery store, since they knew their money would be worthless in the very same afternoon.

The famous 100 trillion zimabwe dollars note gave you 6 (SIX!) eggs.
Steve27
Joined: 22-Mar-2016
Posts: 1280
Quote: "neilithicman"​I would have thought it would be one of the hyper-inflation countries as they tended to reissue their notes several times a year with extra "0s" stamped on the end of the value. I read somewhere that in Germany during hyper inflation your meal at a restaurant could cost more by the time you'd finished eating it than it was when you ordered it.

​The issuance of Notgeld preceded WW I, and they were issued because the populous was hording coinage (Notgeld was produced in amounts which usually smaller than a Mark). After the war, during the Weimar Republic, hyperinflation caused the government to issue notes of increasingly larger denomination. While they didn't overprint many notes, they did re-use the same designs, reduced the note size, and printed on only one side; all in an effort to reduce printing costs.

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