HONG KONG, HKSB 5 dollars 1956


HONG KONG, Hong Kong & Shanghai Bank, 5 dollars, 20.2.1956, Face: brown on red and tan, woman on right, Back, brown on multicolor, bank building, angel above, P180a, VF

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While Hong Kong was a British colony it ran it’s banknote supply on the 19th century model of private banks, chartered by the government, issuing their own notes. Let them do the accounting and report to us, said the Finance Minister.

Aside from China, other governments started using circulating “banknotes” starting in the 17th century AD. The practice became general in the 19th century. In the 20th century value of paper money in circulation far surpassed the value of coinage. In the 21st century paper money is fading and credit transactions are growing.

Paper money, meaning the promise of a government to pay a set amount, and the paper promise allowed to circulate at will, was probably first used in China in the 12th century AD. At that time the merchants and governments of Europe were just writing letters to each other about what they owed.