Collection Inspiration: Churches

Posted on 12/15/2020

With Christmas approaching, we take a look at churches that have found their way onto world currency.

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 churches.

More than 1,500 years old, Etchmiadzin Cathedral in Vagharshapat, Armenia, is regarded as the oldest cathedral in the world. It serves as the seat of the Armenian Apostolic Church, which celebrates Christmas with the Feast of the Epiphany on January 6. Located just north of Iran, Armenia is proud of its Christian heritage, being the first state to adopt Christianity as its official religion. This Armenian note celebrates the cathedral as well as Noah's Ark, which is associated with Mount Ararat on the Turkey-Armenia border.

Armenia, Central Bank 2017 500 Dram Commemorative graded PMG 67 Superb Gem Uncirculated EPQ.
Click image to enlarge.

This Spanish note shows the Basílica de San Isidoro de León. Like the Armenian cathedral, it was also built on a former site of pagan worship, in this case a temple to the god Mercury. Eleven kings are interred at the complex, named for an early Spanish archbishop and scholar.

Spain, Banco de Espana 1965 (ND 1971) 1,000 Pesetas graded PMG 64 Choice Uncirculated.
Click image to enlarge.

This German note shows Limburg Cathedral, a place of worship that was founded in 910. Updated with an Early Gothic architecture style, it is dedicated to Saint George. Today, it continues to serve Catholics in western Germany.

Germany - Federal Republic 1960 1,000 Deutsche Mark graded PMG 58 Choice About Uncirculated
Click image to enlarge.

Kiev's Dormition Cathedral is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is spotlighted on this Ukrainian note. It's located in Kyiv Pechersk Lavra (Kyiv Monastery of the Caves), a part of Ukraine's biggest city that has served as a center of Eastern Orthodox Christianity for nearly a millennium. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church celebrates Christmas on January 7 (due to their adherence to the Julian calendar rather than the newer Gregorian one).

Ukraine, National Bank 2015 10 Hryven graded PMG 68 Superb Gem Uncirculated EPQ.
Click image to enlarge.

The Russian Orthodox Church also has its Christmas on January 7. This Russian banknote shows the Millennium of Russia monument in the Novgorod, a city between Saint Petersburg and Moscow. In the background is Saint Sophia Cathedral, a Russian Orthodox church. The bronze monument was erected in 1862 to celebrate the arrival of Rurik, the leader of the Rus people and founder of a dynasty that lasted centuries.

Russian Federation, Bank of Russia 1997 (ND 1998) 5 Rubles graded PMG 66 Gem Uncirculated EPQ.
Click image to enlarge.

The Cathedral of the Assumption of Mary in Leon, Nicaragua, is another UNESCO World Heritage site. Its groundbreaking was in 1747, and today this Catholic church remains the largest cathedral in Central America. It is shown on this Nicaraguan banknote.

Nicaragua, Banco Central 2007 (ND 2012) 100 Cordobas graded PMG 68 Superb Gem Uncirculated EPQ
Click image to enlarge.

About 300 miles north of Leon is Belize City, the largest city in Belize. It is the only Central American nation where English is the official language, due to its British colonial past. St. John's Cathedral, shown on the right side of the back of this note, was built in 1812 and serves as the seat of an Anglican diocese.

Belize, Central Bank 1990 10 Dollars graded PMG 69 Superb Gem Uncirculated EPQ.
Click image to enlarge.

A far-older Anglican church is featured on the back of this Guernsey commemorative note: a centuries-old place of worship in the parish of St. Sampson. Like the nearby island of Jersey, Guernsey is a British jurisdiction that lies just off the coast of France.

Guernsey 2012 20 Pound Commemorative graded PMG 68 Superb Gem Uncirculated EPQ.
Click image to enlarge.

Barasoain Church in Malolos played an important role in the history of the Philippines. It was the site of the drafting of a constitution in 1899 that was the basis for the short-lived First Philippine Republic. The insurgency represented Filipinos' longing for self-determination, even as control over the Pacific islands passed from Spain to United States. It has appeared on various Philippine banknotes over the years, including this 2001 10 Piso.

Philippines, Bangko Sentral 2001 10 Piso graded PMG 66 Gem Uncirculated EPQ.
Click image to enlarge.

Construction of Putna Monastery in Putna, Romania, was begun in 1466 by Stephen the Great of Moldova. The Romanian banknote shows the Romanian Orthodox monastery, which includes the tomb of Stephen the Great. Like most Christians (and certain Orthodox, including the Greek Orthodox and Hungarian Orthodox), the Romanian Orthodox celebrate Christmas on December 25.

Romania, Banca Nationala 1993 1,000 Lei graded PMG 68 Superb Gem Uncirculated EPQ.
Click image to enlarge.

Other articles in this series
Collection Inspiration: Women Writers
Collection Inspiration: Notes that Roar

Discuss on the PMG Chat Boards

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