Commemorative Flashback

Posted on 4/22/2015

Standard Charter Bank's first commemorative note designed to give back to charity.

It was on September 8, 2009 that the Standard Chartered Bank in Hong Kong, China issued a press release describing the sale of the world’s first HK$150 (Pick 296) bank note. From the very beginning the Standard Chartered Bank wanted this note to be a charity note – to give back to the people of Hong Kong, China. That is why proceeds of the sale of this note would be given to institutions such as Tung Wah Hospitals and Community Chest.

Standard Chartered Bank Mint Folder, Front Page
Standard Chartered Bank Mint Folder, Center Page
Standard Chartered Bank Mint Folder, Back Page

Much like the current HK$150 commemorative that was recently issued, this was sold with a folder in a variety of packages (with a total of one million notes produced): 1) An uncut sheet of four 2) An uncut sheet of thirty-five 3) Single pre-selected serial numbers 4) Lucky numbers and 5) Regular serial numbers. The uncut sheets originally sold for HK$1,888 and HK$18,888 for the sheet of 4 and the sheet of 35 respectively. Each of the pre-selected serial numbers sold for HK$888 and only via lottery. The Lucky numbers were sold via auction and were broken down into three tiers: HK$3,000, HK$6,000 and HK$10,000. Serial numbers that were auctioned were low serial numbers, solid numbers, radar serial numbers and repeater serial numbers. The regular serial numbers were sold for HK$280 a piece. All notes went on sale October 1-16, 2009. Replacement serial numbers have a HK prefix.

Uncut Sheet of Four HK$150 Commemorative Notes, obverse
Uncut Sheet of Four HK$150 Commemorative Notes, reverse

The commemorative bank note was designed by Henry Steiner and measures 159mm x 79mm. The theme of the note was “A Shared History”. The back of the notes shows eight people from all walks of life throughout the history of Hong Kong, China admiring the Victoria Harbor and Kowloon Peninsula. Those individuals are: a police man, a mother and her child (with a traditional back carrier), a bird collector, a worker, a woman with an umbrella, a business man talking on his cell phone, and a young school boy pointing excitedly towards a hawk in the sky. There is also a 4mm wide holographic security thread woven into the paper.

Mr. Steiner had 34 years of experience designing Standard Chartered bank notes at the time this note came to production. If you want to see some other notes he designed take a look at the 2003 series (Pick 291-295) where he magnificently utilized mythological creatures on the front of each note.

On the front of the note is a satellite image of Victoria Harbor all the while maintaining Standard Chartered’s blue and green color scheme. The banks headquarters are shown at the left and a see-through panel at the bottom right reveals (when viewed against a light) the denomination in traditional Chinese. The watermark of the trust mark and denomination is located inside the zero of the 150, which is printed in fluorescent yellow ink and glows under ultraviolet light. An iridescent image of the Standard Chartered trust mark can be seen in normal lighting. Lastly, the 150 in the top left corner changes color between gold and green when viewed at different angles.

PMG Graded HK$150 Commemorative Note, obverse
PMG Graded HK$150 Commemorative Note, reverse

This note clearly represents the people of Hong Kong, China and the amazing local landmarks that have become “must-see” to anyone who visits. It is beautifully designed and will stand the test of time. And it will forever be the world’s first HK$150 bank note.


PMG is an independent member of the Certified Collectibles Group (CCG).

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