Bank Notes: The world’s oldest (surviving) bank note ?

“In 1923, Dr. Richard Ehrenfeld of Vienna wrote to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to announce that he had in his possession the oldest bank note in existence, a one kwan (or guan) issue of the Ming dynasty from about the year 1375, discovered in 1888 during the demolition of an old house in Beijing and acquired by his father….”

Read on in this interesting article on the American Numismatic Society’s blog

“The Chinese not only invented paper, they invented paper money, during the reign of emperor Chen Tsung (998-1022 AD). Examples predating the Ming notes are rarely encountered and are limited to fragments, modern facsimiles made from brass plates recovered in excavations, and a few notes reportedly held in museums”


“The size (22.5 cm x 33.5 cm),  is close to a standard sheet of U.S. office paper. The mulberry paper is thick and textured with the characters and symbols printed in black and then overprinted with vermilion seals” and the text includes the warning “the counterfeiter shall summarily be decapitated.

Thank you ANS for image and text

About Julian Ticehurst

Curiouser and curiouser

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