SOUTH AFRICA, 5 rand (1981)


SOUTH AFRICA, 5 rand, no date (1981), Face: diamond, Back: mine head, signature 6: de Kock, fractional serial prefix, P119b, VF

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The use of different styles of serial numbers tells us that the bureaucracy was unhappy with their accounting methods.

Like all of the British related colonial enterprises, there was paper money. The normal 19th century mix of government and private paper gave way to the issues of the centralized colonial administration. The colonial bureaucracies were continued by the republican government.

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.