Singapore Portrait Series currency notes

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The Portrait Series of currency notes is the fourth and current set of notes to be issued for circulation in Singapore. It was first introduced on 9 September 1999 by the Board of Commissioners of Currency Singapore (BCCS), whose role was since taken over by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) post-merger.

This series features the portrait of Yusof bin Ishak, the first president of Singapore.[1] The design has been simplified and new security features were introduced. Polymer versions of this series were released for general circulation by MAS as of 4 May 2004.

History[edit]

The Portrait Series was first released by the Board of Commissioners of Currency Singapore (BCCS) on 9 September 1999 to welcome the new millennium,[1] designed by local artist Eng Siak Loy.[2] The series has a total of seven denominations in general circulation; the denominations $1 and $500 were not carried forward from the previous Ship Series. The colour for denominations up to $50 have been retained, a tradition kept since the era of the Malaya and British Borneo dollar. A more standardised approach is adopted across all banknote denominations, with features noticeably differing from all previous series. For example, the watermark no longer features the lion head symbol. Due to design considerations, the dollar sign was considered redundant and is no longer included in this series.[3] In addition, the note printing company no longer appears on any part of the portrait note.

On 31 March 2003, the BCCS merged with the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), which took over the responsibility of banknote issuance. On 4 May 2004, the MAS started issuing polymer versions of the S$10 note for general circulation; polymer versions of the S$2 and S$5 notes were subsequently released.[2] Higher denomination banknotes (S$50, S$100, S$1,000 & S$10,000) are still printed on paper. The paper version of the lower denomination banknotes remain in active circulation alongside the polymer version, though the number of S$2 and S$5 paper notes have dwindled significantly since the introduction of polymer notes.[3]

Security features[edit]

Previous security features in the Ship Series were carried over to the Portrait Series, and new ones incorporated into the banknote. The two most prominent security features are the engraved portrait of Yusof bin Ishak (which contains fine lines that are difficult for counterfeiters to mimic) and the Kinegram (a printed security hologram); MAS states that banknotes with missing or mutilated portrait or/and Kinegram command no value. Paper versions issued by BCCS features its logo and the face value, while those issued by the MAS features its logo with the Merlion (a mythical creature and national symbol) and the face value.[4] Polymer versions of the banknote have the Kinegram replaced by an image of the Singapore lion symbol with the face value, showing the coat of arms of Singapore when tilted at varying degrees.

Other security features include lithographic print (the resulting background hinders camera counterfeiting), anti-copying line structures, perfect registration, microprinting, asymmetrical serial numbers and windowed security threads (thin ribbons woven into the paper).[4] Polymer versions of the banknote include two clear windows and other security features that substitute its paper version. Several features that are invisible to the naked eye appear when both versions of the banknote are exposed under UV light.[5]

Banknotes in general circulation[edit]

The banknote's obverse features the portrait of the first president of Singapore, Yusof bin Ishak, and the reverse contain secondary themes that are linked to his life.[6] The background on the obverse of the Portrait Series feature a different cowrie (sea snail whose shell was often used as currency) for each denomination.[7] Signatories include BCCS chairman (and former Finance Minister) Richard Hu, Prime Minister (and former Finance Minister) Lee Hsien Loong, former Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong and MAS chairman (also current Finance Minister) Tharman Shanmugaratnam.

$2 banknote[edit]

The money cowrie is featured on the obverse background of the $2 banknote. Its reverse carries the theme of education and features three buildings, the Victoria Bridge School (now known as Victoria School), Old Raffles Institution Building at Bras Basah Road, and College of Medicine Building.[8][9] Yusof received his primary education in 1923 at Victoria Bridge School, and his secondary education in Raffles Institution; His father, Ishak bin Ahmad insisted that his children be English-educated. He was also the Chancellor of the National University of Singapore between 1965 and 1970.[8]

$5 banknote[edit]

The 200-year-old tembusu tree at Singapore Botanic Gardens is featured in the $5 banknote.

The gold-ringed cowrie is featured on the obverse background of the $5 banknote. Its reverse carries the theme of Garden City and features the 200-year-old tembusu tree at Singapore Botanic Gardens, as well as Singapore's national flower Vanda Miss Joaquim.[10] Yusof was a keen-gardener who once made a living growing Orchids in Gombak, Kuala Lumpur before his appointment as president.[11]

$10 banknote[edit]

The wandering cowrie is featured on the obverse background of the $10 banknote, the most-commonly found cowrie in Singapore. Its reverse carries the theme of sports and features sportsmen playing badminton, soccer, sailing, jogging and swimming. Yusof was an active sportsman in his secondary school days, and won the national boxing title and the lightweight weightlifting championship.[12][13] The $10 banknote was the first denomination in the series printed in polymer. 10 million bills were first released to the general public as a trial, and were the first in Singapore to be successfully dispensed from Automated teller machines (ATMs) and be used in payment involving machines.[14] With the successful trial, MAS decided to release polymer versions of the $2, $5 and $10 for circulation.

$50 banknote[edit]

The cylindrical cowrie is featured on the obverse background of the $50 banknote. Its reverse carries the theme of arts and features two paintings and four musical instruments. The pipa, kompang, veena and violin represent the musical instruments for different cultures in Singapore.[15][16] Cheong Soo Pieng (creator of Drying Salted Fish) and Chen Wen Hsi (creator of Gibbons Fetching the Moon from the Water) are two artists who created a new type of fine arts in Singapore that influenced other local artists, in which their two paintings are featured.[15][16]

$100 banknote[edit]

The swallow cowrie is featured on the obverse background of the $100 banknote. Its reverse carries the theme of youth and features a National Service officer with his ceremonial sword standing against the tower of the SAFTI Military Institute, uniformed youths representing Singapore Red Cross, St John's Ambulance Brigade, Singapore Scout Association and the National Police Cadet Corps.[17][18]

$1,000 banknote[edit]

The swallow cowrie is featured on the obverse background of the $1,000 banknote. Its reverse carries the theme of government featuring the buildings of the three branches of government: The Parliament House, Old Supreme Court Building and Istana, representing the Legislative, Judiciary and Executive powers respectively. The Istana is the president's official residence, built in 1869 which first housed the colonial governor.[19][20] The entire national anthem's lyrics are included as microprint, which is a unique feature to the $1,000 banknote.[2]

$10,000 banknote[edit]

The onyx cowrie is featured on the obverse background of the $10,000 banknote. Its reverse carries the theme of economy featuring Singapore as a knowledge-based economybiotechnology, R&D and silicon wafer.[21] Yusof was a businessman who started the first Malay newspaper for the masses, Utusan Melayu.[22]

It is one of the highest-value banknote in the world in terms of absolute value (approx. US$7,700) that is in public circulation.[23] Even though larger denominations being withdrawn around the world, the MAS has retained the use of the $10,000 denomination, which continues to account for a significant value of the total cash currently in circulation.[3] MAS has stopped issuing new $10,000 banknotes from October 2014, though existing banknotes are still in active circulation and remain legal tender.[24]

Commemorative banknotes[edit]

Millennium $2 banknote[edit]

In celebration of the Millennium 2000, five million $2 bills were printed with the Millennium 2000 logo replacing the prefix of the serial number normally found in other notes under general circulation.[3]

Overprinted banknotes[edit]

Three commemorative limited issues have been made for the Portrait Series (including the $20 issue below). 10,000 sets of the $10 polymer was issued with the overprint 'Commemorative First Issue by MAS' with the prefix MAS. 5,000 sets of $50 banknotes signed by PM Lee Hsien Loong have been stamped with overprint commemorating the merger of the BCCS and MAS.[16]

$20 banknote[edit]

On 27 June 2007, the governments of Singapore and Brunei celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Currency Interchangeability Agreement (an agreement allowing citizens of both countries to use currency from either nation interchangeably) by issuing commemorative $20 notes,[25] that are yellow, 149 × 72 mm in size, and made of polymer. The obverse of the Singaporean version is similar to the current Portrait Series, whereas the obverse of the Brunei version is similar to the $50 and $100 of the 2004 series. The reverses are almost identical except that the Brunei version has their state title in Jawi script, while the Singaporean version has the state title of Brunei in Latin script.[26]

A limited edition set was offered for sale, which consisted of both versions in a folder, with matching serial numbers. The notes have "40th Anniversary Currency Interchangeability Agreement" overprinted on the obverse side. In addition, the Singaporean version has the two countries' state crests above the commemorative text. Only 12,000 sets were available, 10,000 from the Monetary Authority of Singapore, and 2,000 from the Brunei Currency and Monetary Board.[26] The circulation version was made available from 16 July 2007.[27]

Specifications[edit]

4th Series – Portrait Series (1999–present)
Value Dimensions Main Colour Description Date of issue Status Material
Obverse Reverse
$2 126 × 63 mm Purple President Yusof bin Ishak, Money Cowrie Education 9 September 1999 Richard Hu (September 1999) and Lee Hsien Loong (January 2005)[28] Paper
12 January 2006 Goh Chok Tong (January 2006) and Tharman Shanmugaratnam (2014)[28] Polymer
$5 133 × 66 mm Green President Yusof bin Ishak, Gold-Ringed Cowrie Garden City 9 September 1999 Richard Hu (September 1999) and Lee Hsien Loong (August 2004)[29] Paper
18 May 2007 Goh Chok Tong (May 2007) and Tharman Shanmugaratnam (2014)[29] Polymer
$10 141 × 69 mm Red President Yusof bin Ishak, Wandering Cowrie Sports 9 September 1999 Richard Hu (September 1999) and Lee Hsien Loong (May 2004)[30] Paper
4 May 2004 Lee Hsien Loong (May 2005) and Goh Chok Tong (January 2008)[30] Polymer
$50 156 × 74 mm Blue President Yusof bin Ishak, Cylindrical Cowrie Arts 9 September 1999 Richard Hu (September 1999), Lee Hsien Loong (March 2002), Goh Chok Tong (November 2009) and Tharman Shanmugaratnam (July 2012)[31] Paper
$100 162 × 77 mm Orange President Yusof bin Ishak, Swallow Cowrie Youth Richard Hu (September 1999), Goh Chok Tong (November 2009) and Tharman Shanmugaratnam (March 2013)[32] Paper
$1000 170 × 83 mm Pink President Yusof bin Ishak, Beautiful Cowrie Government Richard Hu (September 1999) and Goh Chok Tong (November 2009)[33] Paper
$10,000 180 × 90 mm Gold President Yusof bin Ishak, Onyx Cowrie Economics Richard Hu (September 1999)[34] Paper

Prefixes, replacement notes and print batches[edit]

From the initial batch Signed by Richard Hu until those signed by Lee Hsien Loong, the prefixes used are as follows :

  • BCCS banknotes signed by Richard Hu (Millennium Paper issue)
    • $2 5xxxxxx – quantity not currently known
  • BCCS banknotes signed by Richard Hu (Paper issue)
    • $2 0WV & 0WW – up to 0WV123456* & 1 million pieces
    • $5 0CX – 1 million pieces
    • $10 0PJ & 0PK – up to 0PJ888888* & quantity not currently known
    • $50 0PJ, 0PK & 1JJ – 1 million pieces, up to 0PK222222* & up to 1JJ123456* (2nd Print c.2001)
    • $100 0BF – 1 million pieces
    • $1000 0AK – 1 million pieces
  • BCCS banknotes signed by Lee Hsien Loong (Paper issue)
    • $50 1KM & 1KN – 1 million pieces & up to 1KN008888*
  • MAS banknotes signed by Lee Hsien Loong & after (Paper issue & Polymers)+

These prefixes and records were compiled by studying 38 Auctions from 2002 to 2011 of Mavin International. The last 20 years have seen a huge surged in interest in Singapore Banknotes especially so after BCCS and then MAS released their Solid numbered & Fancy Numbered banknotes for Auctions with Auction Houses like Victor Morris, Moneyworld Asia & Mavin International. Historically significant first of the series were sold for Tens of Thousands of Dollars. Singapore banknotes were the most sort after and pricy among developed countries as the overall numbers printed is small compared to other countries. The number of Solid number, Fancy number & Replacements are even smaller compared with the millions of ordinary ones printed. Reference can be made from two Priceless Private Collections.[35] [36] They have now set a trend worldwide among collectors and Banknote Issuing Authorities to grow their own base of collectors.

(*) Denotes numbers of the Banknotes released by BCCS & auctioned by Mavin International. Actual numbers unknown as none above the number was offered for auction.
(+)With MAS taking over the Control of Banknotes Printing (c.2004), for banknotes with the MAS Hologram, the next available number available is now used for replacement in the event notes are detected to be flawed, rejected or removed. Then on no prefixes is now reserved to be used as replacements.
[28]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ a b "The Presidential Notes – Field Book : President Yusof bin Ishak and the Portrait Notes", Stella Koh (for BCCS), SNP Publishing (1999), ISBN 978-981-4032-52-0, p. 5
  2. ^ a b c Know Your Money, Monetary Authority of Singapore. Archived from the original on 29 February 2012.
  3. ^ a b c d Frequently Asked Questions, Monetary Authority of Singapore. Archived from the original on 2 March 2014.
  4. ^ a b Koh, p. 72-74
  5. ^ Koh, p. 75
  6. ^ Koh, p. 54
  7. ^ Koh, p. 70
  8. ^ a b Koh, p. 56-57
  9. ^ Portrait Series – $2, Monetary Authority of Singapore. Retrieved 19 February 2008.
  10. ^ Portrait Series – $5, Monetary Authority of Singapore, 18 May 2007, archived from the original on 22 June 2008, retrieved 12 July 2010 
  11. ^ Koh, p. 58-59
  12. ^ Koh, p. 60-61
  13. ^ Portrait Series – $10, Monetary Authority of Singapore. Retrieved 19 February 2008.
  14. ^ Took note of the new plastic $10 bills? Most didn't, Joann Tan, The Straits Times, 5 May 2004
  15. ^ a b Koh, p. 62-63
  16. ^ a b c Portrait Series – $50, Monetary Authority of Singapore. Retrieved 19 February 2008.
  17. ^ Koh, p. 64-65
  18. ^ Portrait Series – $100, Monetary Authority of Singapore. Retrieved 19 February 2008.
  19. ^ Koh, p. 66-67
  20. ^ Portrait Series – $1,000, Monetary Authority of Singapore. Retrieved 19 February 2008.
  21. ^ Portrait Series – $10,000, Monetary Authority of Singapore. Retrieved 19 February 2008.
  22. ^ Koh, p. 68-69
  23. ^ PARITY DEMOCRACY and MONEY: Annual Meetings Paper 11, COUNCIL for PARITY DEMOCRACY. Retrieved 19 February 2008.
  24. ^ "Singapore to stop issuing S$10,000 banknote to prevent money laundering". Reuters. 2 July 2014. Retrieved 6 November 2014. 
  25. ^ Monetary Authority of Singapore (27 June 2007). "Commemorating the 40th Anniversary the Currency Interchangeability Agreement". Retrieved 30 July 2007. 
  26. ^ a b Monetary Authority of Singapore (27 June 2007). "Annex 1, Commemorating the 40th Anniversary the Currency Interchangeability Agreement" (PDF). Retrieved 30 July 2007. 
  27. ^ Monetary Authority of Singapore (27 June 2007). "$20 Polymer Note to Commemorate 40 Years of the Currency Interchangeability Agreement". Retrieved 30 July 2007. 
  28. ^ a b c Singapore President Ishak or Portrait Series Banknotes – Observed or Known Prefixes for $2, Mavin International. Retrieved 19 February 2008.
  29. ^ a b Singapore President Ishak or Portrait Series Banknotes – Observed or Known Prefixes for $5, Mavin International. Retrieved 19 February 2008.
  30. ^ a b Singapore President Ishak or Portrait Series Banknotes – Observed or Known Prefixes for $10, Mavin International. Retrieved 19 February 2008.
  31. ^ Singapore President Ishak or Portrait Series Banknotes – Observed or Known Prefixes for $50, Mavin International. Retrieved 19 February 2008.
  32. ^ Singapore President Ishak or Portrait Series Banknotes – Observed or Known Prefixes for $100, Mavin International. Retrieved 19 February 2008.
  33. ^ Singapore President Ishak or Portrait Series Banknotes – Observed or Known Prefixes for $1,000, Mavin International. Retrieved 19 February 2008.
  34. ^ Singapore President Ishak or Portrait Series Banknotes – Observed or Known Prefixes for $10,000, Mavin International. Retrieved 19 February 2008.
  35. ^ Earliest Fancy Number Banknote Collector Mr Foo, House of Collectibles. Retrieved 2nd December 2014.
  36. ^ The Most Comprehensive Modern Fancy Number Collection owner Unknown, Fancy Collecting. Retrieved 2nd December 2014.

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