HONG KONG Mercantile Bank 100 dollars 4.11.1974


HONG KONG, Mercantile Bank Limited, 100 dollars, 4.11.1974, Face: red and multicolor, Britannia standing with spear, Back: red on blue, city view, P245, VF

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Hong Kong was acquired by Britain as a spoil of the First Opium War. A 99 year lease was obtained in 1898. Japan occupied it 1941-45. China got it back in 1997. The British regime was quite free market. The currency needs were mostly handled by private banks issuing their own paper money.

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.