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Thursday, 29 May 2014

138) Currency & Coinage of Indonesia: “Rupiah” and “Sen”:

138) Currency & Coinage of Indonesia: “Rupiah” and “Sen”:

The Rupiah is the official currency of Indonesia, subdivided into 100 sen. The Rupiah is also nicknamed “perak” (meaning ‘silver” in Indonesian, based on its usage as a silver coin under Dutch rule).

About Indonesia:
Indonesia is the World’s largest island group stretching along the Equator for more than 5000 kms or 3000 miles from the southernmost tip of Asia to northern Australia.

In the 16th century, the Indonesian island group became a colony of the Dutch under the name of “Netherland East Indies”.

Initially, the Dutch continued to use various Islamic gold, copper & silver coins inscribed in Arabic & local languages within the Island group.

During the Napoleonic Wars in 1811-1816, Java & Madura came under British occupation, during which time coins with the emblem of the East India Company were briefly in use within the Island group.

Sumatra which was under British occupation since 1685 was ceded to the Dutch in 1824.

During this period copper "Kepings" which had the Dutch East India Company emblem on one side & Arabic inscriptions on the other were in circulation.

Meanwhile, Dutch "Gulden" coins which were valued at par with the Java rupee were minted and supplied from Holland. On the obverse Gulden coins bore the crowned Arms and on the reverse they had the VOC emblem of the Dutch East India Company along with date of minting. These coins supplemented the “Pitis”, “Kepings” and "Rupees" made by the various islands.

During periods of scarcity of coins, roughly cut copper or tin rods passed as money known as “Bonks”.

In 1856, the gulden comprising 100 cents was circulated under a new series having the Arms on the obverse and Arabic inscriptions on the reverse.

In 1936, a bronze cent was introduced having Dutch, Javanese and Malayan inscriptions with a hole in the centre. This coin depicted rice panicles or flowers on either face.

During World War II, in the period 1941 to 1945, when Holland was under German occupation, coins struck at the Denver, Philadelphia & San Francisco mints were put into circulation.

During the same period, the Netherlands East Indies was overrun by Japan which brought Japanese currency into usage in the Island group.

Meanwhile, in the 1920s the Japanese had fostered a Nationalist Movement in the Netherlands East Indies.

As a result of the Nationalist Movement, in August 1945, the United States of Indonesia was created, nevertheless, a long drawn four year campaign ensued with the Dutch occupiers stubbornly refusing to vacate their interests in the area.

During 1951-1952, the first Indonesian Rupiah coins were issued. These coins were engraved with the inscription “Indonesia” on one face and the national emblem/Bird “Garuda” was depicted on the other face. This is because, under Indonesian law originally enacted by the Dutch, issue of money below five Rupiah (in Dutch times Gulden), was the responsibility of the Government, hence all the coins bore the name of the country and not of the Central Bank. The 50 sen coins featured Diponegoro (or Dipa Negara), the Nationalist leader, who spearheaded the Independence struggle against the Dutch in the 18thcentury. These coins were in the denominations of 1, 5, 10, 25 (aluminium) and 50 sen (copper-nickel).

In 1953, the first Indonesian Banknotes were issued pursuant to a Peace treaty concluded with the Netherlands in November 1949.

In the late 1950s & early 1960s, inflationary pressures made coins very scarce to come by as minting costs escalated enormously.

Accordingly, no coins were minted after 1961 and those coins still in circulation became almost worthless.

In 1965, the currency was devalued and a new rupiah was introduced which replaced the old rupiah at the exchange rate of 100 old Rupiahs to 1 new Rupiah. However, no coins were minted till the end of this decade and the one Rupiah Banknote was the smallest denomination in circulation.

In 1970-1971, a new Series of coins having different pictorial motifs on flora, fauna & important landmarks was minted & circulated after a gap of almost ten years. These coins were in the denominations of Rp 1 (white-browed fantail), Rp 2 (rice & cotton stalk), Rp 5 (black drongo) Rp 10 (rice & cotton stalk with Indonesian slogan “TINGKATKAN PRODUKSI SANDAND PANGAN” – meaning “increase the production of clothing and food”), Rp25 (Victoria crowned Pigeon) and Rp 50 (Great Bird of Paradise), with 100 Rupiah coins (depicting a Minangkabau tribal house) being circulated in 1973. Due to the successful recirculation of Indonesian coinage, Banknotes below 100 Rupiah were withdrawn from circulation.

In 1974, the Rp 5 aluminium was redesigned with the reverse depicting the logo of “KELUARGA BERENCANA” (meaning “Family Planning”) and “MENUJU KESEJAHTERAAN RAKYAT” (meaning “For the welfare of the people”). In the same year, the Rp10 coin was made much larger and composition was changed to brass clad steel. The reverse showed the symbol of “Tabanas” (the Government’s 1970-established National Savings Scheme) with the slogan “MENABUNG UNTUK MENUNJUNGAN PEMBANGUNAN” (meaning “save to support development”). Both these coins were UN FAO (United Nations Food & Agricultural Organization) commemorative issues, put into circulation.

In 1978, the Rp 100 coin underwent a reverse design change showing a forest motif and reading “Forest for Welfare – 1978”, again an FAO theme.

In 1979-80, both the Rp 5 & Rp 10 coins underwent decorative facelifts. This was the last time a Rp10 denomination coin was issued.

In 1991, coin production under a new Series was taken up. This Series included denominations ranging from Rp 25 aluminium coin (image of nutmeg containing the Indonesian text “buah pala”), Rp 50 aluminium bronze coin (komodo dragon), Rp 100 aluminium bronze coin (National sport of Bull-racing), Rp 500 aluminium bronze coin (jasmine flower with the text “BUNGA MELATI”) were circulated. The “Garuda Pancasila logo” continued to be placed on the obverse with the year and “BANK INDONESIA” in small text below the emblem.

Obverse of a Rp 50 Aluminium Bronze coin issued in 1994 depicting the Coat of Arms/Emblem of Indonesia.
Reverse of the above coin showing a Komodo dragon.

(The Komodo dragonVaranus komodoensis – is also the National animal of Indonesia. It is known as “Satwa bangsa” in Indonesian).

In 1993, a Rp 1000 bimetallic copper-nickel & aluminium-bronze coin (“KELAPA SAWIT” or “oil palm”) was added.

In 1997, the design of the Rp 500 coin was revised to show a smaller jasmine leaf above a large central “500”.

In 1999, the Rp 50 coin was struck in Aluminium showing a “Black-naped Oriole” and the Rp 100 coin was also minted in Aluminium showing a “palm cockatoo”.

In 2003, the Rp 200 coin was struck in Aluminium depicting the “Jalak Bali” (or the “Bali Starling”).

A point to note is that unlike the gulden coinage which were made of gold & silver, circulating Rupiah coinage has always been of base metal.

Interestingly, all Sen denominated coins and Banknotes have been rendered obsolete due to rampant inflation.

Presently circulating coinage – 1991-1998 (bimetallic) and 1999 onwards – (Aluminium):

The present coinage consists of 25, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1000 Rupiah coins.

All these coins on the obverse show the National emblem “Garuda Pancasila”.

The Rp 25 coin on the reverse shows an image of nutmeg and its name in Indonesian text “buah pala”. This is the smallest denomination coin in circulation. It was last minted in 1996. The coin shown in the above coin collection was minted in 1994.

Nutmeg: The nutmeg tree belongs to the genus “Myristica”. It is an evergreen tree indigenous to the Banda Islands in the Moluccas or Spice Islands, in Indonesia. The most commercial species is “Myristica fragrans” which is an evergreen tree and two useful spices are drawn from the nutmeg tree – nutmeg and mace.

The Rp 50 coin on the reverse shows the Kepodang bird as well as the denominational value of the coin. This coin was first minted in 1999. The coin shown in the above coin collection was minted in 2002.

Kepodang Bird: The Kepodang Bird or the black-naped Oriole (Oriolus chinensis) It is a well-known bird in Javanese culture. It  is also known as “Bincarung” or “Gantialuh” or “Gulalahe” in different parts of Indonesia. In Malaysia it is known as “Kunyit Besar”. The bird is medium sized and can reach a length of 25 cms. It has beautiful yellow feathers while its head, wings and tail have partly black feathers. The main feature of a black naped Oriole for identification purposes is a black line passing through the nape and eyes.

The specifications of this coin are:

Diameter: 20 mm; Thickness: 2 mm; Weight: 1.36 gms; Metal composition: Aluminium.

The Rp 100 coin on the reverse shows the “Kakatua Raja(or the Palm Cockatoo Bird and the denominational value of the coin. This coin was first minted in 1999. The coin shown in the above collection was minted in 2003.

The Palm Cockatoo Bird: The Palm Cockatoo (Probosciger aterrimus) is a large smoky-grey or black parrot and has a large black beak and prominent red cheek patches.

The specifications of this coin are:

Diameter: 23 mm; Thickness: 2 mm; Weight: 1.79 gms; Metal composition: Aluminium.

The Rp 200 coin on the reverse shows the “Jalak Bali” (or the Bali Starling Bird) and the denominational value of the coin. This coin was first minted in 2003 which is also the year of issue shown on the coin in the above collection.

The Bali Starling Bird: The Bali Myna (Leucopsar rothschild) is also known as “Rothschild’s Mynah” or “Bali Mynah” or “Jalak Bali”. It is medium sized upto 25 cms long, stocky, wholly white with a long, drooping crest and black tips on the wings and tail. The bird has blue bare skin around the eyes, grayish legs and a yellow bill. Its distribution is restricted to the island of Bali in Indonesia. The bird was discovered in 1910 and in 1991 was designated as the fauna symbol of Bali.

The specifications of this coin are:

Diameter: 25 mm; Thickness: 2.3 mm; Weight: 2.38 gms; Metal composition: Aluminium.

The Rp 500 coin on the reverse shows the “Bunga Melati” (or the “Jasmine Flower”) and the denominational value of the coin. This coin was first minted in 1991 & then again in 1997 (when its metal composition is bimetallic). It’s metal composition was revised in 2003 to Aluminium. The coin shown in the above collection was minted in 2003.

The Jasmine flower: is the National flower of Indonesia.

The specifications of this coin are:

1991 issues: Diameter: 24 mm; Thickness: 1.8 mm; Weight: 5.29 gms; Metal composition: Aluminium – Bronze.

1997 issues: Diameter: 24 mm; Thickness: 1.8 mm; Weight: 5.34 gms; Metal composition: Aluminium Bronze.

2003 issues: Diameter: 27 mm; Thickness: 2.5 mm; Weight: 3.1 gms; Metal composition: Aluminium.

The Rp 1000 coin on the reverse shows the Palm tree and the denominational value of the coin in the 1993 issues. Later, in the 2010 issues, the reverse shows “Angklung” and “Gedung Sate”.

The specifications of this coin are:

1993 issues: Diameter: 26 mm; Thickness: 2.0 mm; Weight: 8.6 gms; Metal composition: Bimetallic: Nickel & Aluminium Bronze.

2010 issues: Diameter: 24.15 mm; Thickness: 1.6 mm; Weight: 4.5 gms; Metal composition: Nickel plated Steel.

Commemorative coins:

From 1970 onwards, several gold & silver commemorative coins were minted for collectors in both Proof & uncirculated coins variety as well as circulating commemorative coins in base metals.

Banknotes of the Indonesian Rupiah:

The 1998-1999 Banknotes are no longer accepted in circulation as they ceased to be legal tender since 31.01.2008 but are exchangeable at Bank Indonesia till 31.01.2018.

The presently circulating Series (2000 onwards):

Currently circulating Indonesian Banknotes include Rp 1000 (issued in 2000), Rp 5000 (issued in 2001), Rp 20000 & Rp 100000 (issued in 2004), Rp 10000 & Rp 50000 (issued in 2005), Rp 2000 (issued in 2009), a new design Rp 10000 (issued in 2010), and new designs of Rp 20000, Rp 50000 & Rp 100000 (issued in 2011).

The Front of the Rp 1000 Banknote shows a portrait of Captain or “Kapitan” Pattimura. The colour of this Banknote is blue and green.

Thomas Matulessy or Kapitan Pattimura (08.06.1783 – 16.12.1817) was an Ambonese soldier and National Hero of Indonesia. He joined the British Army after the British captured the Maluku Islands from the Dutch. He was discharged from the Army when the Dutch retook the Islands in 1816. He led an armed rebellion against the Dutch when he feared that the Dutch would not take care of the interests of the local population. He forces captured Fort Duurstede in May 1817 and was proclaimed the leader of the Maluku people. He was betrayed by the King of Bool Pati Akoon, captured by a large Dutch force and executed. He is regarded as a symbol of both Maluku and Indonesian independence.

The Back of the Rp 1000 Banknote shows Maitara & Tidore Islands and fishermen on a boat.

Maitara Island: is in North Maluku. It is a small island between Tidore and Ternate Islands. It is not as big as the other two islands, but is a beautiful tourist destination, dominated by white sandy beaches, diversified fishing and well preserved coral reefs. 

Tidore Island:  is a island and archipelago in the Maluku Islands of eastern Indonesia. Soasio is its capital and its port is called Goto. It has been a lajor regional political and economic power.

The Front of the Rp 2000 Banknote shows a portrait of Antasari, Prince of Banjar (Pangeran Antasari). The colour of this Banknote is grey. On the Banknote is mentioned “Bank Indonesia” and “Dua Ribu Rupiah” in Indonesian, meaning “Two thousand Rupiah”.

Antasari Prince of Banjar (1809-1862): He belonged to the Royal Family whose power was usurped in the 18th century. In 1859, his forces attacked the Dutch establishments and shipping who had installed a puppet regime in the Banjarmasin War and inflicted huge losses on them. The Dutch attempted negotiations to end the war by offering him wealth and power in exchange for his surrender which he refused. The Dutch sent in heavy reinforcements but, he defended his positions admirably. He passed away in October 1862, when he was planning a massive counter-attack on the Dutch establishments. He is buried at a cemetery named after him “Antasari Heroes Cemetery”, where several other resistance leaders are also buried. He was given the title “Panembahan Amiruddin Khaliful Mukmin” by his people in March 1862 and declared a National Hero of Indonesia in 1968.

The Back of the Rp 2000 Banknote shows Dayak dancers (South Borneo)MENTIONED IN Indonesian as “TARIAN ADAT DAYAK”.. On this Face of the Banknote is mentioned “DENGAN RAHMAT TUHAN YANG MAHA ESA (meaning “By the Grace of Almighty God) BANK INDONESIA MENGELUARKAN UANG SEBAGAI ALAT PEMBAYARAN YANG SAH DENGAN NILAI” (Bank Indonesia has issued this Banknote as a legal tender with value). This phrase is mentioned on all the Banknotes. Below the denomination mentioned in numerals “2000” is mentioned “PERUM PERCETAKAN UANG RI IMP 2009.

Dayak Traditional Dances: Some of the traditional Dayak dances are: Gantar Dance (farmer planting rice), Kancet Papatai Dance (War dance narrating the exploits of Kenyah a Dayak Hero), Kancet Ledo Dance (Gong Dance, depicting the beauty of a woman), Kancet Lasan dance (depicting the life if Enggang Bird, a symbol of glory and heroism), Lelang Dance (story of a girl forced to marry against her wishes who runs away into the jungle), Hudoq Dance ( performed by wearing masks and praying for abundant harvest), Serumpai Dance (performed to expel diseases, illnesses etc.), Kuyang Dance ( performed to dispel ghosts and spirits living on trees), Pecuk Kina Dance (migration of the Kenyah tribe from Apo Kayan area), Datun Dance (scripted by a Dayak Kenyah Chief is a communal dance).

The Front of the Rp 5000 Banknote shows a portrait of Tunaku Imam Bonjol. The colour of this Banknote is brown and green.

Muhammad Syahab, Peto Syarif and Malim Basa or Tunaku Imam Bonjol  (1772 – 1864): was one of the most popular leaders of the Paderi Movement in West Sumatra. He founded the State of Bonjol. The tenets which he stood for were an effective return to the roots of Islam by practicing abhorrence of gambling, cockfighting, use of opium, alcohol, tobacco etc. The traditionalists felt their leadership threatened by this movement and connived with the Dutch to neutralize the Paderis. After three years of resistance against Dutch attacks against Bonjol, the Dutch managed to capture it and exiled Syarif. The site of his grave is marked by a Minangkabau house. He has been declared a National Hero of Indonesia.

The Back of the Rp 5000 Banknote shows images of a Songket weaver and Tanah Datar.

Songket: is a fabric that comes from the brocade group of textiles from Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei. It is hand-woven in silk or cotton and intricately patterned with gold or silver threads. The metallic threads stand out against the background cloth to create a shimmering effect.

Tanah Datar: is a regency in West Sumatra province, Indonesia having its capital at Batusangkar (meaning “stone sculptor”). Tanah Datar has several tourist attractions including the “Parauyung Palace” (Istano Pagaruyuang), Sanskrit and Malay language stone inscriptions from the 14th century, several sites with megaliths (batu tagak) and Pandai Sikat (Pandai Sikek), a village where traditional songket (kain balapak) is still woven.

The Front of the Rp 10000 Banknote shows a portrait of Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin II.

Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin II (1767-1862): was the 8th Sultan of the Palembang Sultanate and is regarded as a National Hero of Indonesia. On the Banknote is mentioned “Bank Indonesia” and “Sepuluh Ribu Rupiah” in Indonesian, meaning “Ten thousand rupiahs”.

The Back of the Rp 10000 Banknote shows a traditional Limas House of Palembang, South Sumatra (mentioned as “Rumah Limas” on the Banknote in Indonesian). This Banknote was issued in 2005.

Palembang: is the capital city of South Sumatra Province in Indonesia. The traditional house of Palembang is Limas House and a House Raft.

Limas House: Limas Houses are mostly built of wood of good quality. For pillars, the builders use “Petanang”, “Unglen”, “Besi” and “Tembesi” wood. For the floor and walls “Merawan” wood is used. “Belah Buluh is a bamboo which is cut into two and used for making the roof. In addition roof-tiles are also used. Limas houses are decorated with floral motifs, fauna motifs and nature motifs.

Raft House: Palembang city in South Sumatra Indonesia is called the Venice of the East” or the water city because more than 100 rivers and tributaries flow into the city, with “Musi” being the arterial river. One of the housing preferences that are popular is the Rakit (meaning raft) House. The Rakit House is a floating permanent house (not nomadic). It is made of wood and bamboos with “kajang” (nipa palm) roof, shingle roof and zinc. The rakit house is built on a raft and usually has two doors – one facing the river and the other land. To make the Rakit House stay in one spot four strong beams are set in the four corners. Sometimes the House is tied to a strong beam in the river bank. These houses are very durable and some have been passed down several generations.

The Front of the Rp 20000 Banknote shows the portrait of Oto Iskandar di Nata. The colour of this Banknote is green. The denomination of this Banknote is mentioned as “DUA PULUH RIBU RUPIAH” in Indonesian.

Raden Oto Iskandar di Nata (31.03.1897 – 20.12.1945): was a fighter for Indonesia’s liberation from Dutch rule. He was abducted and assassinated. He is regarded as a National Hero of Indonesia.

The Back of the Rp 20000 Banknote shows a Tea Plantation in West Java (mentioned as “PEMETIK TEH” in Indonesian). This Banknote was issued in 2004.

The Front of the Rp 50000 Banknote shows the portrait of I. Gusti Ngurah Rai. The colour of this Banknote is blue. On the Banknote is mentioned “Bank Indonesia” and “Lima Puluh Ribu Rupiah” in Indonesian, meaning “Fifty thousand Rupiah”.

Lt. Col. I. Gusti Ngurah Rai (1917-1946): commanded Indonesian Forces in Bali against the dutch during the Indonesian War of Independence. He was killed in the Battle of Margarana on 20.11.1946. Surrounded by Dutch troops supported by aircraft, his troops made a last stand when he ordered a “Puputan” or fight to the death. Rai’s exploits in battle and his heroic last stand was honoured by naming him a National Hero in 1975. Bali’s International airport  is named “Ngurah Rai International Airport” in his memory.

The Back of the Rp 50000 Banknote shows Pura Ulun Danu Bratan, Bali (mentioned as “Danau Beratan, Bedugul” in Indonesian. This Banknote was issued in 2005.

Pura Ulun Danu Bratan: is a major Shivaite (The Hindu God of Destruction – one of the triumvirate of Hindu Gods) and water temple in Bali Indonesia. The temple complex is located on the shores of the Lake Bratan in the mountains near Bedugul.  In addition, there are several other smaller water temples. Built in 1663, this temple was used for ceremonial offerings to the Balinese water, lake and water goddess “Devi Danu”. The 11 storeys of “pelinggih meru” are dedicated to the Hindu God Shiva and his consort Parvati. Lake Bratan is also known as the “Lake of the Holy Mountain”.

The Front of the Rp 100000 Banknote shows the portraits of Sukarno and Hatta. The colour of this Banknote is red. On the Banknote is mentioned “Bank Indonesia” and “Seratus Ribu Rupiah” in Indonesian, meaning “One hundred thousand Rupiah”.

Sukarno (1901-1970): He was the leader in Indonesia’s struggle for independence from the Netherlands and Indonesia’s first President from 1945 to 1967. A prominent leader of Indonesia’s nationalist movement during Dutch colonial rule, he spent over a decade under Dutch detention until he was released by the invading Japanese forces in exchange for supporting the Japanese who in turn assisted him in spreading Nationalist ideas. Upon the Japanese surrender in 1945, he was appointed President, a position he held till he was overthrown in the “30 September Movement” (30.09.1965), and replaced by one of his generals Suharto. He remained under house arrest until his death.

Mohammad Hatta (1902 – 1980): He was Indonesia’s first vice-president who later served as Indonesia’s Prime Minister. He too fought for the independence of Indonesia. Interestingly, he studied in the Netherlands from 1921 to 1932, despite fighting for the Indonesian Independence. 
 The Back of the Rp 100000 Banknote shows the DPR/MPR Building (The “Majelis Permusyawaratan Rakyat & Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat” in Indonesian). This Banknote was issued in 2004.

DPR/MPR Building: this is the seat of government for the Indonesian legislative. This building was started on 08.03.1965 by Sukarno just before the coup in September 1965. It was finally completed in March 1968 This complex comprises six buildings (Nusantara, Nusantara I to Nusantara V).

Bank Indonesia:

Bank Indonesia is the Central Bank of the Republic of Indonesia. It was established on 01.07.1953 after nationalizing “De Javasche Bank” (Bank of Java) which was a Dutch Bank dating from the Dutch colonial times which was responsible for the issue and circulation of the Netherlands Indies Gulden.

For the next fifteen years the Bank carried on commercial banking activities and also acted as the National Bank reporting to the President. Now the Bank reports to the Parliament.

Indonesia’s Central Bank has announced that the Rupiah would be redenominated by removing three zeros wef 2014. The existing Rupiah Banknotes are proposed to be phased out by the end of 2018. During the transition period, both the old and new currency Banknotes would be treated as legal tender. As of end 2013, these plans have been put on hold due to rampant inflation.

Coat of Arms/Emblem of Indonesia:

The National emblem of Indonesia is called “Garuda Pancasila”. (Garuda is also the Hindu name for the constellation “Aquila”. The main part of the Indonesian emblem is the Garuda (The Garuda is a large mythical bird or golden eagle or bird like creature or humanoid bird that appears in both Hindu and Buddhist mythology and is the “vahana” (mount) of the Hindu God Vishnu. The Brahminy kite and Phoenix are considered to be the contemporary representations of Garuda. Indonesia’s depiction of Garuda as its National symbol is rather stylized and is closer to a Javanese eagle). On the Garuda’s chest, is a heraldic shield and there is a white ribbon scroll gripped in the Garuda’s claws. The shield’s five emblems represent “Pancasila (the five Principles of Indonesia’s National ideology. The ribbon scroll is inscribed with the National motto “Bhinneka Tunggal Ika” (generally meaning “Unity in Diversity”).

The Garuda symbolizes strength and power, while the golden colour symbolizes greatness and glory.

The feathers on the Garuda on the Indonesian Coat-of-Arms are arranged so as to symbolize the date 17.08.1945, the Independence day for Indonesia. The number of feathers on each wing totals 17; the feathers on the tail total 8; the number of feathers below the shield or base of the tail total 19; the feathers on the neck total 45.

The other components:
Shield: Each section of the Shield has a symbol representing the “Pancasila” principles. The shield is a martial symbol standing for the defence preparedness of the country. It has four quarters coloured red and white in a checkerboard pattern and a concentric shield black in background. A thick black line runs horizontally across the shield, symbolizing the Equator which passes through the Indonesian archipelago. 

The White Star on the centre: black shield represents the first Pancashila Principle which is “Ketuhanan yang Maha Esa” (meaning “Belief in one Supreme God”). The black colour of the shield represents the colour of Nature.  The five pointed star symbolizes the five tenets/streams of faith in Indonesia - Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam and Socialism.

The Chain in the bottom right quarter: is on a red background and its links are made up of square and round links. This chain corresponds to the second Pancasila Principle of “Just and Civilized Humanity”.

Tree: In the upper right quarter on a white background is the “beringin” (meaning a “Banyan Tree”). This symbol corresponds to the third Pancasila Principle “The Unity of Indonesia” among the far-flung cultural roots of Indonesia.

Bull: In the upper left quarter on a red background is the head of a “banteng” (Javanese wild bull), which represents the fourth Pancasila Principle “Democracy that is guided by the Inner Wisdom in the Unanimity Arising out of Deliberations amongst Representatives”. The Wild Bull also symbolizes a social animal.

Rice & Cotton: In the lower left quarter on a white background are gold paddy and white cotton. These represent the fifth Pancasila Principle of “Social Justice for the entire people of Indonesia. Rice and cotton also symbolize sustenance and livelihood.

The Garuda Pancasila was adopted as the National emblem on 11.02.1950. It was designed by Sultan Hamid II under the supervision of Sukarno.

 (The above Banknotes are from the collection of Jayant Biswas. The coins are from my collection, except the 1994 issue which is from Jayant's collection. My coin set was brought by Jayant from his trip to Singapore. The Banknotes & coins have been scanned and article researched & written by Rajeev Prasad)

Monday, 19 May 2014

Did You Know Series (22): How to join the World Super-Rich Club? Own a Z$100 Trillion dollars Banknote from Zimbabwe!!!:

Did You Know Series (22): How to join the World Super-Rich Club?

Own a Z$100 Trillion dollars Banknote from Zimbabwe!!!:

The Z$ 100 Trillion Banknote:

Zimbabwe has released in the trillion-dollar denomination of 10, 20 and 50, but the largest denomination issued was the Z$100 trillion dollar denomination Banknote, to help Zimbabweans cope with hyperinflation.

The Front of the Z$ 100 Trillion Banknotes, exhibits the Chiremba Balancing Rocks. (Details given in the Banknotes of Zimbabwe section)

The Back of the above Banknote, showing the Victoria Falls and a buffalo, an animal found in Zimbabwe.

In 2008, the latest annual figure of inflation estimated to be 231m% was the world’s highest. With a view to ensure that the public had access to their money from banks, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe introduced a new Series of Banknotes with the highest denomination being Z$10 trillion.

The economy was still in such bad shape that very few products were still available in the local currency with prices doubling at short intervals. Most groceries were being brought in by Zimbabweans from neighbouring South Africa, Botswana and Zambia, further driving up the prices.

The situation came to such a sorry state of affairs, that more than 80% unemployment prevailed in the country and citizens with jobs found there salaries to be worthless, unless they were paid in foreign currency.

Currency Note dealers are today found to be advertising for selling the Zimbabwean 100 Trillion Banknote as the best selling Banknote and exhorting collectors to get their Z$100,000,000,000,000 bill immediately. They go on to add that the Collector should in fact buy ten of these Banknotes and own a Quadzillion Zimbabwean dollars (Z$ 1000,000,000,000,000, before prices shoot up due to scarcity of this denomination!!

The Z$100 Trillion when issued was worth about US$300. Today, it is a sad state of affairs, when street sellers are willing to part with slightly worn ones to foreign tourists from anywhere between US$ 20 to giving them for US$ 5 (after driving a hard bargain) urging the tourists to take them as souvenirs.

Some currency vendors even have books of 100 trillion dollar Banknotes in mint condition for between USD 10 to USD 15.

A brief  on the circulation of coinage in and creation of the Republic of Zimbabwe:

The British South African Company headed by Cecil Rhodes possessed vast territories in Africa outside South Africa. British and South African coins circulated in these territories.

In 1923, it was proposed and rejected to incorporate these territories into the Union of South Africa. Instead, the territory was broken up into the colony of Southern Rhodesia and the Protectorates of Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland.

In 1932, distinctive silver coins were adopted.

In 1934, holed cupro-nickel halfpennies and pennies were circulated.

Between1955-64, the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland followed suit.

In 1964, on the break-up of the Federation, Nyasaland became Malawi and Northern Rhodesia became Zambia and both countries introduced their own distinctive coinage (Tambala in Malawi and Ngwee in Zambia) in the same year. Later, both countries adopted the decimal system based on the Kwacha (Malawi in 1971 and Zambia in 1968.based on a decimal system.

In 1965, the former Southern Rhodesia unilaterally declared its Independence and was hitherto called Rhodesia. The regime headed by Ian Smith was declared illegal and its coins continued to portray Queen Elizabeth II until 1970.

In 1970, the Republic of Rhodesia was declared and the country adopted an armorial reverse on its coinage.

In 1978, Ian Smith signed a pact with moderate African leaders and the country name was adopted as Zimbabwe Rhodesia. However, no coins bearing the double name was ever issued.

In 1980 the Republic of Zimbabwe was created. The country minted coins inscribed with the National Emblem of a bird carved from soapstone on the obverse in the same year.

Banknotes of the  Zimbabwean dollar (Z$):

The Zimbabwean dollar (Z$) was the official currency of Zimbabwe from 1980 to 12.04.2009 (when its circulation was suspended as the currency became worthless).

The Zimbabwean dollar was positioned to be among the highest valued currencies when it was introduced in 1980, when it replaced the Rhodesian dollar at par. However, owing to hyperinflation, the value of this currency sharply eroded, so much so that it became the least valued currency in the World. The Zimbabwean dollar underwent three redenominations (in 2006, 2008 and 2009) with very high currency denominations being issued to shore up the currency.

The First Zimbabwean dollar:

Desmond Krogh Series (1980/81 to 1983):
In 1980, the first Zimbabwean dollar was circulated, replacing the Rhodesian dollar, the then circulating currency in Zimbabwe (then equivalent to half a pound sterling or fifty pence) at par. This exchange value had declined sharply by July 2006 to an exchange rate of Z$ 100 to 1 GBP.

This series is remembered as the Desmond Krogh Series, Krogh being the last Governor of the Reserve Bank of Rhodesia. This Series was in circulation from 1981 and the Banknotes bear the name of Salisbury as the capital instead of Harare (the name of Salisbury was changed to Harare on 18.04.1982).

The denominations issued were Z$ 2, Z$ 5, Z$ 10 and Z$ 20.

Since 1980/81, the Front of the Banknotes showed the Chiremba Balancing rocks in Epworth, Harare. The Balancing Rocks theme was taken so as to represent the importance of finely “balancing” the all round development, economic growth and protecting the natural resources/environment of the country. The front also depicted a prominent animal found in Zimbabwe on each Banknote. The balancing rocks also were a part of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe emblem which was used on Bearer and Agro cheques which were in circulation from 15.09.2003 to 31.12.2008.

The Back of the Zimbabwean dollar Banknotes depicted the culture or landmarks of Zimbabwe along with some animals and fish found in Zimbabwe. The watermark on this series was the Zimbabwe Bird National emblem.

The Chiremba Balancing Rocks:
The Chiremba Balancing Rocks were declared a National Monument in 1994. It is located about 13 kilometres south-east of Harare in Epsworth. The formation is characterized by granite balancing rocks within a natural scenic environment. The balancing rocks now symbolize peace and stability of the nation’s economy. These rocks, thus, symbolically represent harmony between all the parameters of economic growth and development. During the colonial era, the Balancing Rocks were adopted as one of the motifs depicted on Rhodesian Banknotes. The symbolic significance has been carried forward by Zimbabwe after Independence, as well.

The above is an image of the Chiremba Balancing Rocks at Harare.
Kombo Moyana series ( from 1983 to August 1993):
This Series is remembered as the Kombo Moyana Series, named after the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor who was in office from 1983 to 1993. This Series bears the name of the capital as Harare (in place of the earlier Salisbury).

The denominations of Banknotes issued under this series were Z$ 2, Z$ 5, Z$ 10 and Z$ 20 as in the case of the First Series or First dollar. Again , on the Front, these Banknotes depicted the Chiremba Balancing rocks ,along with some animals found in Zimbabwe.
The Back of the Zimbabwean dollar Banknotes depicted the culture or landmarks of Zimbabwe along with some animals and fish found in Zimbabwe. The Watermark, once again was the Zimbabwe Bird National emblem.

Leonard L. Tsumba Series (August 1993 to 2004):
This Series is known as the Leonard Tsumba Series, named after the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor who took over charge from Kombo Moyana in August 1993.

This Series improved upon/introduced some security features to prevent counterfeiting, for example, latent imaging in which the letters RBZ can be seen when the Banknote is tilted horizontally at the eye-level and identification marks for the visually impaired were added and the neck of the Zimbabwe Bird watermark was elongated.

This Series included the following denominations: Z$ 2, Z$ 5, Z$ 10, Z$ 20, Z$ 100, Z$ 500 and Z$ 1000.

The Front of a Z$ 1000 Banknote issued in 2003 exhibiting the Chiremba Balancing Rocks.

The Back of the above Z$ 1000 Banknote depicting three elephants. 

Once again, on the Front, these Banknotes depicted the Chiremba Balancing rocks, along with some animals found in Zimbabwe.

The Back of the Zimbabwean dollar Banknotes depicted the culture or landmarks of Zimbabwe along with some animals and fish found in Zimbabwe.

Gideon Gono Series (2004 – 21.08.2006):
Gideon Gono was the next Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor. Only one denomination was issued during his tenure Z$ 500. It essentially had the Chiremba Balancing rocks on the Front and the Hwange Power Station on the Back. This issue also carried the Zimbabwe Bird watermark.

The second Zimbabwean dollar or the “First redenomination” in 2006:

The value of the first Zimbabwean dollar which was at par with the US dollar in 1983, went into a tail-spin and by July 2006, the exchange rate became over 500000 Z$ to 1 USD.

On 01.08.2006 the first Zimbabwean dollar was redenominated at the exchange rate of 1 second Zimbabwean dollar to 1000 first Zimbabwean dollar. This redenomination was carried out under a currency reform codenamed “Operation Sunrise” which had the motto “From Zero to Hero” for the Zimbabwean currency.

 At the time of introduction/circulation of the second Zimbabwean dollar, the exchange rate for the USD was fixed at Z$ 650 to 1 USD. This exchange rate fell dramatically to 758,530,000,000 to a USD by July 2008.

The Third Zimbabwean dollar or the second redenomination in 2007:

The 2007 Banknote Series:
From 01.08.2008, the Zimbabwean dollar was redenominated once again. The denominations issued were coins of denominations Z$ 5, Z$ 10, Z4 25 and Banknotes in the denominations of Z$ 1, Z$ 5, Z$ 10, Z$20, Z$100 and Z$ 500, Z$ 500, Z$ 1000.

 A large number of the third Zimbabwean currency Notes were got printed through Giesecke & Devrient, a German firm, one of the largest Paper and security suppliers in the World, after which the printing arrangement was terminated by the German firm.

Nevertheless, inflation continued to grow by leaps & bounds leading to another redenomination of the Zimbabwean dollar.

By July 2008, the annual inflation rate had been estimated to be about 231 million percent.

On 15.08.2008, the rate of exchange which was fixed at Z$244.83 to a US dollar climbed steeply to Z$ 29325 to a US dollar.

On 13.09.2008, due to cash shortages and the value of the Zimbabwean dollar being practically nil, foreign currency was effectively made legal tender through a special programme to give licenses to several   currency retailers to accept foreign currency.
 This led to several shop-keepers refusing to accept Zimbabwean dollars and asking for US dollars or South African Rands in payment.

The 2008 Banknote Series:

The 2008 Banknote series was circulated from 20.09.2008 to 12.04.2009.

This Series indicated the alarming proportions to which hyperinflation had gripped the Zimbabwean economy.

On the Front, this Series had the usual Chiremba Balancing Rocks design.
The denominations included in this Series and the designs on the Back of these Banknotes were : Z$ 10000 (Combine Harvester and tractor), Z$ 20000 (Victoria Falls and Kariba Dam), Z$ 50000 (Farm Tractor and miner), Z$ 100000 (African buffalo and elephant), Z$ 500000 (Trees of “aloe excelsa” and milking farm), Z$ 1 million or 1000000 (Great Zimbabwe Ruins and Bull), Z$ 10 million or 10000000 (Parliament Building, Anglican St. Mary’s Cathedral  and Great Zimbabwe ruins), Z$ 50 million or 50000000 (African buffalo and Great Zimbabwe ruins), Z$ 100 million or 100000000 (Grain belt and silo towers), Z$ 200 million or 200000000 (Parliament buildings, Anglican St. Mary’s Cathedral and Heroes’ Acre), Z$ 500 million or 500000000 (Milking Farm and miner), Z$ 1 billion or 1000000000 (Trees of “aloe excelsa” and elephant), Z$ 5 billion or 5000000000 (Farm Tractor and milking farm), Z$ 10 billion or 10000000000 (Kariba Dam and miner), Z$ 20 billion or 20000000000 (Great Zimbabwe ruins and trees of “Aloe excelsa”), Z$ 50 billion or 50000000000 (Great Zimbabwe ruins and Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe building), Z$ 10 trillion or 10000000000000 ( Great Zimbabwe ruins and Reserve Bank of India Building), Z$ 20 trillion or 20000000000000 (Miner and grain silo), Z$ 50 trillion or 50000000000000 (Kariba Dam and elephant) and Z$ 100 trillion or 100000000000000!!!! (Victoria Falls and Buffalo).

By end of 2008, the Zimbabwean dollar had become largely sidelined and the economy was running on US dollars.

In January 2009, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe legalized the use of foreign currencies including the Indian Rupee, US dollar, South African Rand, Botswana pula, Euro, Yuan, Pound Sterling etc.

The Fourth Zimbabwean dollar or the third redenomination in 2007:

On 02.02.2009, announced that a further 12 zeros were being taken off the currency, with 1,000,000,000,000 third Zimbabwean dollars being exchanged with 1 fourth dollar. Banknotes in the denominations of Z$ 1, Z$ 5, Z$ 10, Z$ 20, Z$ 50, Z$ 100 and Z$ 500 were issued.

On the Front these Banknotes again had the Chiremba Balancing Rocks design, while on the Back, the following designs were taken: Z$ 1 (Farm workers in a village), Z$ 5 (Tigerfish and Kariba dam), Z$ 10 ( Great Zimbabwe ruins), Z$ 20 Hwange Power station), Z$ 100 (View of Harare with the Freedom Flame) and Z$ 500 (three elephants).

On 12.04.2009, the Zimbabwean dollar ceased to be the official currency due to unbridled inflation when it was estimated that a person could not buy anything even if he was willing to pay a billion Zimbabwean dollars. The Government decided to only reintroduce the Zimbabwean dollar, if the industrial growth and the economy improved.

Zimbabwean Coinage:

In 1980, coins were introduced in Zimbabwe in the denominations of 1 (bronze), 5, 10, 20, 50 cents and 1 dollar (all minted in cupro-nickel).

   Reverse images of some Zimbabwe coins minted in 1980 (20 &10  cents and Z$1),   1982 (5 cents) and 1983(1 cent - bronze).
 Obverse images of the above coins all depicting the Zimbabwe Bird

In 1989, bronze plated steel was used in place of bronze.

In 1997, a 2 dollar coin was circulated.

In 2001, nickel-plated steel replaced the cupro-nickel alloy in 10, 20, 50 cents and I dollar. In the same year a bimetallic Z$ 5 coin was circulated.                   
In June 2005, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe mooted issuing Z$ 5000 and Z$ 10000 coins, a plan which was shelved in view of rampant hyperinflation.

In August 2008, all the old coins dating back to the first dollar were reintroduced at face value to the third dollar effectively increasing their value 10 trillion times. Also in the same year Z$ 10 and Z$ 25 coins, minted in 2003, were circulated with the redenomination.

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe logo:

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe logo inspired by the Chiremba Balancing Rocks.

National Flag of Zimbabwe:

The National Flag depicts the Zimbabwe Bird, the National Emblem of Zimbabwe.

National Emblem of Zimbabwe:

The National Emblem of Zimbabwe is the stone-carved Zimbabwe Bird which appears on the National Flags and Coat of arms of both Zimbabwe and Rhodesia as well as on their Banknotes, coins and stamps. 

It is thought to represent the Bateleur Eagle (The Bateluer Eagle or “Terathopius ecaudatus” is a medium-sized eagle in the family “Accipitridae” and its closest relative is the snake eagle – “Bateleur” in French means “street performer) or the African Fish Eagle (The African Fish Eagle “Haliaeetus vocifer” is a large species of eagle found throughout sub-Saharan Africa, wherever large bodies of water with abundant food supply are located). Both birds are found in Africa.

We happened to see these birds during our trip to the Mole National Park in Ghana, West Africa in February 2013.

The Zimbabwe Bird was originally found carved in the ruined city of Great Zimbabwe, which was built by the ancestors of the Shona (Shona is the name given to two groups of Bantu people in the East & South-East Zimbabwe, Botswana and Southern Mozambique. The only Western Shona group is called the Bakalanga. They are the largest ethnic group in Zimbabwe) starting from the 11thcentury and continuing over 300 years.
European colonists are credited with the discovery of the ruins of Great Zimbabwe and they found statues of five carved birds which came to be in the possession of Cecil Rhodes. When Zimbabwe became Independent in 1980, four of these statues were returned to Zimbabwe, while the fifth is kept at Groote Schuur, Rhodes home in Cape Town.

Some interesting tit-bits:

When I was staying in Hyderabad , Andhra Pradesh, India during 2004-2006, I was a member of the "Society to Save Rocks".  I happened to come across some interesting Rock formations during some of my “Rock Walks" with the Society.

Some images are given below:

                 Hyderabad's equivalent to the "Chiremba Balancing Rocks"?
 "Snoopy Rock" , named after the dog in the Cartoon strip "Peanuts".
           "Hamburger Rock"  or the "Seven Tiles Balancing    Rock"             formation
                            "United We Stand" Balancing Rocks formations
Posted on 19.12.14:
The following information has been contributed by Mr. R.N. Lalingkar:  
"Very interesting information about 'Zimbabwean' Bank Notes. I have also some other information about 'Balancing Rocks'. When I visited Vancouver (Canada) in 2010 , I found some interesting stone structures (depicted in photo attached) which is called by locals as "INUKSHUK". It is constructed on the sea-shore for the knowledge of captains of the ships passing by. The plaque is also placed nearby".

Posted by me on 19.12.14: 
Zimbabwe has proposed to issue “bond” coins in the denominations of 1c, 5c, 10c, 25c, and 50c. The 50c coins shall be released into circulation in March 2015 due to adding necessary security features in the design and manufacture of this coin denomination.These coins are being minted in South African Mint.

The bond coins are being introduced to buttress the multiple currency system through the provision of change, especially for the US$ Banknotes which have the US $1 as the smallest denomination in circulation in Zimbabwe.

The bond coins will be at par with the US cents. The introduction of these coins would necessitate correct pricing for goods and services which hitherto was constrained by the absence of an appropriate system of coins. These coins are expected to help out in mitigating Zimbabwe’s lopsided pricing structure for the convenience of consumers.

Thus, these coins will serve a two-fold purpose – firstly, due to the chronic shortage of coins and prompting businesses and shopkeepers to give out pieces of candy as change or to round up or down to the nearest dollar and secondly to have the chance to issue the country’s own coinage as the US Treasury could not transport a substantial number of US coins to mitigate the problem in Zimbabwe.

Why the term “bond” coins?

The bond coins derive their name from the US $50 million bond coin facility that the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has arranged for the purpose of providing the coins with intrinsic value. As the coins are backed by a “Bond” from which they derive their name, they are referred to as Band coins. The bond coins would be a good store of value.

Consumers and businesses will be able to exchange  the coins for banknotes/paper currency at their Banks. The initial amount to be made available is US $10 million worth of bond coins which will be released into circulation between 18th December 2014 and March 2015. The circulation of these coins will be limited to Zimbabwe only.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe issued notification of the new bond coin images circulation of which commenced on 18th December 2014 in a phased manner upto March 2015.

Posted on 08.01.2016:

Zimbabwe has recently announced that it will soon adopt the Chinese Yuan as its main currency.

When this happens, Zimbabwe will be the first country outside the People’s Republic of China to use the Yuan as its currency in domestic circulation. So far, Zimbabwe has relied upon the US dollar and South African Rand during the past couple of years.

China in turn is offering to cancel a debt of $40 million, which Zimbabwe has been unable to repay.

While the Yuan has been a legal tender in Zimbabwe’s multi currency system for the past two years as well, it is now expecting the Zimbabwean government to encourage wider use of the Yuan and is also contemplating fresh loans to facilitate the process.  Making the Yuan the legal tender in another country is designed to take forward the People’s Republic of China’s programme of internationalisation of the Yuan. Interestingly, as part of this policy, the Chinese Yuan has recently been admitted as one of the Basket of Preferred Currencies in its Special Drawing Rights.

(The above Banknotes are from the collection of Jayant Biswas. The coin images of the earlier coinage have been contributed by Dr. P.V. Satyaprasad. Article researched  and  written and Banknotes and photos scanned by Rajeev Prasad)

An anecdote: Recently, I was given a visiting card by a Coin/Banknotes shop. The card, inter alia, mentioned: "Dealers in Notes and Coins and Antics".