Before the 150th Anniversary commemorative note was released by the HSBC in 2015, the Bank of China released their own commemorative note in 2012, which celebrated the bank’s 100th year
In light of the overwhelming popular response to the recent release of a banknote commemorating the 150th Anniversary of the Hong Kong & Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC), I have been reminded of another banknote commemorating a landmark year of a financial institution in Hong Kong.
Released in 2012, the Bank of China 100 HKD note celebrated the issuing bank’s 100th year in great style. While the notes are legal tender, they were never really intended to circulate as they were initially offered to collectors in the form of 1.1 million notes packaged in a commemorative folder highlighting the note’s design. A further 10,000 uncut sheets of three notes were offered as well as 20,000 30-subject sheets.
To honor the oldest operating bank on the Chinese mainland, the Bank of China 2012 commemorative is printed boldly in red ink and features a vignette of the Great Wall that seamlessly blends into the Bank of China building in Beijing on the obverse. Additionally, a stylized 100 denotes the denomination of the note but also is highly reminiscent of a calligraphic brush stroke. On the reverse of the note, the distinctive Bank of China building in Hong Kong is superimposed on a water-front view of the city’s skyline.
In a world characterized by speed and seemingly constant change, the opportunity to experience the passing of occasions such as the centennial of the Bank of China seem to be few and far between. Perhaps the desire of collectors to obtain a small piece of history explains much of the interest in commemorative banknotes of recent memory. To collect is to remember and preserve the past. In many ways banknotes such as the 2012 Bank of China 100th Anniversary note is a tangible reminder of an illustrious legacy and a harbinger of future possibilities.
PMG is an independent member of the Certified Collectibles Group (CCG).
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