Chinese Paper Money

Chinese Paper Money

More than just economic currency, Chinese paper currency is a particular hit with collectors because of its colorful illustrations and its fascinating history. Although it dates back to an ancient time in the 14th century, the Chinese began printing paper money again in the middle of the 19th century. Explore the different types of Chinese paper currency to add to your collection.

What are the different types of Chinese paper currency collectibles?

Chinese bills can be divided into distinct categories. They include:

  • Banknotes: Paper bills are called ñrenminbiî within China; although, international trading partners use the term ñyuanî to refer to Chinese currency. Since the year 1948, five iterations of renminbi have been issued by the Bank of China, Chinas central bank. One redesign, which was introduced in 1999, is still being used.
  • Commemorative issues: Since 1999, the Peoples Bank of China has issued four commemorative bills. To honor the 50th anniversary of the Peoples Republic of China, a red «50 note was issued. This currency bears a portrait of Mao Zedong. To celebrate the beginning of the millennium, an orange polymer bill was issued in a denomination of «100. A green «10 note was issued to commemorate the 2008 Olympics in Beijing and a blue «100 note was printed in 2015, which honored the nations achievements in aerospace and technology.
  • Errors: Occasionally, Chinese bills can be found with errors on them. The most common of these are misalignments where one side of the note is shifted to some degree. These errors are thought to arise from improper cutting. Another common error is fading secondary to improperly filled inking plates. More rarely, you will come across banknotes that are differently colored on the back and front.
  • Demonitized issues: Much of the paper money issued in China during the first half of the 20th century has been demonetized. Demonetized currency, which is sometimes referred to as canceled currency, is a currency thats no longer accepted as legal tender. Some of these demonetized banknotes feature portraits of Russian revolutionary heroes like Lenin, Marx, and Stalin. A few are printed on cloth rather than on paper.
What graphics are illustrated on Chinese paper money?

A variety of graphic images have been printed on currency used in China over the centuries, including:

  • Ming Dynasty notes: Early Ming Dynasty notes were illustrated with Chinese characters and geometrical patterns. In the latter part of the dynasty, paper money was entirely eliminated due to drastic inflation.
  • Notes under British rule: China was under British rule throughout the latter half of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century. Banknotes printed during this period were illustrated either with pictures of landmarks such the Summer Palace and the Temple of Heaven or with pastoral scenes such as women weaving or sheep grazing.
  • Banknotes in the Peoples Republic: After the revolution, Chinese currency was dominated by portraits of Mao Zedong. The same Mao portrait was used on most banknotes, but its color varied according to the denomination of the bill.