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Introduction to Special Banknotes

For new collectors who are not familiar with the terminology used for special banknotes, this article attempts to provide a simple explanation.


Special banknotes are often referred to as "fancy items" or "fancy numbers" among coin dealers.


Prefix: Some collectors enjoy collecting specific prefixes or different prefixes of the same banknote.


Double Prefix: It refers to the situation where two English letters in the prefix are the same, such as DD, EE, and so on.


A or AA Prefix: In the early Hong Kong banknotes, they were initially issued with single-letter prefixes, so there would be a single A prefix, which represents the first edition of that particular banknote. Subsequent banknotes would have AA prefixes. However, not every year has an A or AA edition, as they may continue from the previous year's edition.


Replacement Banknotes: Replacement banknotes are also highly valued by collectors because of their scarcity. After the banknotes are printed, if some of them have printing errors, replacement banknotes are printed to replace them. In Hong Kong, replacement banknotes usually have prefixes starting with Z or ZZ, and there are also combinations like ZY and ZX. However, in recent decades, replacement banknotes are no longer issued. Instead, the banknotes with the missing number are directly printed with the remaining part. Please note that replacement banknotes from China or other places may not necessarily have Z prefixes.


Leopard Number, Lion Number, Tiger Number, Elephant Number:


When the last 3 digits of the serial number are the same, it is called a "leopard number."

When the last 4 digits of the serial number are the same, it is called a "lion number."

When the last 5 digits of the serial number are the same, it is called a "tiger number."

When the last 6 digits of the serial number are the same, it is called an "elephant number."

In our store, multiple banknotes with the same number are categorized under these classifications, not necessarily at the end of the serial number.


Complete Set: Some banknotes are issued in different years or denominations, and when sold as a complete set, they are referred to as a "complete set."


Standard 10 Consecutive Numbers: Some collectors like to collect 10 consecutive banknotes with sequential numbers from 1 to 10, which is called "standard 10 consecutive numbers."


100 Non-Consecutive Numbers: 100 banknotes of the same type with non-consecutive numbers.


100 Consecutive Numbers: Also known as "刀貨” in Cantonese, representing 100 banknotes that are sequentially numbered. Some collectors believe that these banknotes have potential for appreciation, so they purchase them in units of 100 banknotes.


Thousand Digit Numbers: Some collectors prefer to collect banknotes with smaller numbers, such as having zeros in the leading positions of the serial number, with only the last four digits having numbers.


Hundred Digit Numbers: The serial number of the banknote has numbers only in the last 3 digits.


Two-Digit Numbers: The serial number of the banknote has numbers only in the last 2 digits.


Riding Years: Some banknotes' prefixes span two different years and are referred to as "Riding years." If the quantities produced in the two years are different, it can lead to significant price differences for the same banknote. For example, both the 1990 and 1991 issues of Standard Chartered Bank 50-dollar banknotes (F edition) were riding years. The 1990 edition had only 200,000 banknotes issued, while the 1991 edition had 800,000 banknotes issued. When the same prefix spans two different years, it is called a riding year. Additionally, the 1990 edition of the 50-dollar banknote itself had two prefixes, E and F (both are riding years). The E edition had 800,000 banknotes issued, while the F edition had only 200,000 banknotes issued. The F edition of the 1990 Standard Chartered Bank 50-dollar banknote is approximately four times more expensive than the E edition.