I have been a currency collector for 7 years now and specialize on Philippine banknotes only. I have collected stamps and coins in the past but enjoy paper currency the most. I enjoy the history behind it and I like the intricate artwork, engravings, color and designs on each note.
For me paper money is an exciting collectible. The value of paper money to collectors is much more than its face value printed on the paper. The study and collecting of paper money and all substitutes for money is called notaphily, whether the money is printed on paper, plastic, cloth, wood, or leather. Notaphily is to paper money collecting as numismatics is to coin collecting and philately is to stamp collecting.
The first Philippine paper money was issued in 1852, the Banco Espanol-Filipino issued banknotes in five denominations, ranging from 5 to 100 pesos. The banknotes, in particular, resembled miniature diplomas bearing the portrait of Queen Isabela II. Her Majesty's likeness was later replaced by that of Queen Cristina's upon her ascendency.
By 1903, the subsequent American administration issued silver certificates in denominations of P2, P5 and P10, each bearing a portrait of Jose Rizal.
With the advent of a new foreign power, the Banco Espanol-Filipino was promptly rechristened as the Bank of the Philippine Islands. Henceforth, all monetary bills were to carry the bank's title.
With the occupation of the Philippines by the Japanese Imperial forces, however, a new form of paper currency - the now infamous Mickey I Mouse money - was circulated. The superscription "The Japanese Government" on the new bills symbolically defaced the title of the Commonwealth Republic. The Liberation period, fortunately enough, liberated caches of prewar bills from obscurity by circulating them back as legal tender -with a bold yellow orange violator - the one word "Victory".
In 1946 - the year the postwar Republic of the Philippines was officially born - the resurgent nation received an entirely new set of banknotes which featured for the first time a pantheon of Philippine heroes. In respective values of one, two, five, ten, twenty, fifty, one hundred, two hundred and five hundred pesos, the heroic profiles respectively of Mabini, Rizal, del Pilar, the Gomburza martyrs, Bonifacio, Jacinto, Luna, Tandang Sora, Manuel Quezon and then President Manuel Roxas gazed from one side. The other face featured historic landmarks and events such as the Barasoain Church and Magellan's landing in Cebu.
After the Second World War, the old Commonwealth coinage still bearing the US superscriptions continued to be used until 1951, when the first of a series of small centavo notes were issued as replacement. These now collectible bills are best remembered for their colors; the red-orange five centavos, the purple ten centavos, and the bluish fifty centavos.
|Photo courtesy of Central Bank of the Philippines|
Today's bills reflect the language shift from English to Filipino first introduced in 1969. Still printed in distinctive colors, today's bills have superseded the previously-printed blue peso notes, with a new monetary series beginning at five pesos - the same beginning amount, curiously enough, of that first batch of banknotes that over a century ago became our first paper money.