PMG Certifies Venezuelan Banknote Issued to Finance the 'Great War'
Posted on 12/7/2021
Paper Money Guaranty® (PMG®) has certified a high denomination Venezuelan banknote that was issued in 1862 by the newly established Banco de Venezuela.
The 100 Peso note bears the serial number “P693” and has an issue date of September 8, 1862. It features a highly decorative border with a design that is similar to the Hispano-Moresque artwork that was popular during that period. The border surrounds lettering that explains the note is “worth to the bearer 100 Pesos and its interest at the rate of three cents per day, counted since November 1, 1861, payable in cash six months from today – March 8, 1862.”
The note also bears the name of the president and vice president of the bank as well as the hand-written signatures of two administrators from the note’s issuing branch. It is believed that the notes were issued in five denominations: 1 Peso, 5 Pesos, 10 Pesos, 50 Pesos and 100 Pesos.
Graded PMG 25 Very Fine, the note is Pick Unlisted, meaning it is not included in the Standard Catalog of World Paper Money, more commonly known as the Pick book after its original author Albert Pick. It is always exciting for the PMG grading team to research and evaluate “discovery notes” like this one.
The note dates from a period in Venezuelan history when tension between the young nation’s two political parties led to a bloody civil war. Known as the “Federal War,” the “Great War” or the “Five Year War,” the conflict lasted from 1859 to 1863 and is believed to have resulted in the deaths of 100,000 people.
As the war raged on, the ruling Conservative party found itself in need of funds to support its armies in their fight against the Federalists. Banco de Venezuela was established in August 1861 to provide financing for the government’s war efforts.
In October 1861, the bank signed an agreement to loan the Venezuelan National Treasury 4,240,000 pesos, with the funds to be delivered on January 1, 1862. The government agreed to pay interest of 1-percent per month with payments to include 40 semi-annual installments of 282,000 pesos, making the anticipated accrued interest more than 7 million pesos.
The Venezuelan government suspended its contract on the loan in April 1862. It is unknown whether any part of the loan was repaid.
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