Collection Inspiration: Mountains

Posted on 6/21/2022

Some of the world’s tallest and most picturesque mountains help world paper money reach new heights.

Paper money collectors often focus on a particular nation or even a particular series. This column is designed to offer ideas for building a collection of notes from around the world based on a common element. This month, we look at some of the tallest mountains that have been featured on banknotes from around the world.

Mount Everest

The king of all mountains is the majestic Mount Everest, part of the Himalayas in Nepal and China. This 29,031-foot-high mount is part of elite adventurers’ bucket lists, but it isn’t for the faint of heart. Everest has claimed the lives of many who attempted to reach its summit. In 1953, Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hilary were the first to successfully climb Everest as part of the British Mount Everest Expedition. This paved the way for others to make this thrilling and dangerous journey.

Nepal, Rastra Bank 2012 (ND 2013) 5 Rupees graded PMG 67 Superb Gem Uncirculated EPQ
Click images to enlarge.


Less than 1,000 miles to the northwest of Everest is the world’s second-highest peak: K2. The mountain is more than 28,000 feet above sea level on the Pakistan-China border. Achille Compagnoni and Lino Lacedelli were the first to ascend to its summit in 1954. Nearly 400 people have successfully climbed K2, which is pictured on the Pakistan 2010 50 Rupees banknote.

Pakistan, State Bank 2010 50 Rupees with Solid #2's graded PMG 66 Gem Uncirculated EPQ
Click images to enlarge.


In the Andes Mountains stands the tallest peak outside of Asia: Aconcagua. The Argentine mountain has an elevation of 22,837 feet, and the first recorded ascent was in 1897 by Matthias Zurbriggen. Sacred to the ancient Incan civilization, altars and other structures were built along the mountainside. Inside one of the stone structures, a well-preserved mummy of a 7-year-old boy, dated around 1500 AD, was discovered.

Argentina, Banco Central ND (2018) 50 Pesos graded PMG 65 Gem Uncirculated EPQ
Click images to enlarge.

Mount Apo

The highest mountain in the Philippine Archipelago is Mount Apo (known locally as Apo Sandawa), with an elevation of 9,692 feet. Part of the Central Mindanao Volcanic Arc, which is still active, Mount Apo is a stratovolcano that has been dormant since the 1640s. Joaquin Rajal was the first to climb the crag in 1880.

Philippines, Bangko Sentral 2021-21A 5,000 Piso Commemorative graded PMG 64 Choice Uncirculated EPQ
Click images to enlarge.

Mount Bromo

Mount Bromo is part of the Tengger range in Indonesia, with an elevation of 7,641 feet. It is an active somma volcano that last erupted in 2019. The mountain plays an important religious role and is on the back of the Indonesia 2016 / 2018 5,000 Rupiah.

Indonesia, Bank Indonesia 2016 / 2018 5,000 Rupiah graded PMG 66 Gem Uncirculated EPQ
Click images to enlarge.

Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu roughly translates from the Quechua language as “old mountain.” The mountain is 7,970 feet high and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1983. It is a popular tourist spot because of the ruins of an Incan citadel that was constructed during the reign of Emperor Pachacuti (who ruled 1438-1472). It sits between two mountain peaks: Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu.

Peru, Banco Central de Reserva 2018 10 Soles with Solid #7's graded PMG 66 Gem Uncirculated EPQ
Click images to enlarge.

Mount Tai

Mount Tai has an elevation of 5,069 feet and is the easternmost of China’s five sacred mountains. For centuries, Mount Tai has inspired novels, art, poems and idioms. It is included on the nation’s 1999 (ND 2002) 5 Yuan.

China / People's Republic 1999 (ND 2002) 5 Yuan graded PMG 67 Superb Gem Uncirculated EPQ
Click images to enlarge.

Mount Burgess

Located in Yoho National Park, Mount Burgess is a towering crag in the Canadian Rockies. With an elevation of 8,527 feet, the mountain was first conquered by James J. McArthur in 1892. It was designated a World Heritage Site in 1984.

Canada, Bank of Canada 1954 $10 graded PMG 66 Superb Gem Uncirculated EPQ
Click images to enlarge.

Mount Egmont

Mount Egmont is a dormant stratovolcano that is 8,261 feet above sea level. Known initially as Taranaki Maunga, Mount Egmont was named by Captain Cook in 1770 during his voyage to New Zealand. Resembling Mount Fuji, Egmont was used as a backdrop for the film The Last Samurai in 2003.

New Zealand, Reserve Bank ND (1956-67) £50 graded PMG 67 Superb Gem Uncirculated EPQ
Click images to enlarge.


Slovenia’s national symbol and highest mountain is Triglav, with an elevation of 9,396 feet. During World War II, the three-peak mountain became a symbol to Slovene Partisans, a resistance group who wore the Triglav cap from 1942 until 1945.

Slovenia 1990 5 (Tolarjev) graded PMG 70 Gem Uncirculated EPQ★
Click images to enlarge.

Mount Fuji

Sacred to Japan, Mount Fuji is the subject of many works of art and literature. The stratovolcano is 12,389 feet above sea level, and En no Odzunu was the first to make the ascent in 663 AD. Designated a World Heritage Site in 2013, the mountain appears on the Japanese ND (1951) 500 Yen.

Japan, Bank of Japan ND (1951) 500 Yen graded PMG 64 Choice Uncirculated EPQ
Click images to enlarge

Mount Kilimanjaro

The famous Mount Kilimanjaro is the United Republic of Tanzania's (and Africa’s) highest mountain. The first recorded people to climb this 19,341-foot dormant volcano were Hans Meyer and Ludwig Purtscheller in 1889. The Kilimanjaro National Park, where the mountain resides, was named a World Heritage Site in 1987.

Tanzania, Benki Kuu ND (2003) 2000 Shilingi graded PMG 67 Superb Gem Uncirculated EPQ
Click images to enlarge

If you enjoy collecting banknotes with natural sites, check out Natural World Heritage Sites or read other Collection Inspiration columns for more collecting ideas. Be sure to follow PMG on Facebook, PMG on Instagram and PMG on Twitter for articles and interesting notes posted daily.

Stay Informed

Want news like this delivered to your inbox once a month? Subscribe to the free PMG eNewsletter today!


You've been subscribed to the PMG eNewsletter.

Unable to subscribe to our eNewsletter. Please try again later.

Articles List