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New Guide Launched: Hong Kong Bank Notes

We Buy Bank Notes from Hong Kong

– If you have been keeping an eye on our website then you will have noticed that we have been adding more and more foreign currency guides.  There is a general misconception that all foreign currency is worthless.  That statement is occasionally true, but we are focusing on the bank notes that can be very valuable.

Hong Kong bank notes (especially those issued before 1930) are quite often very rare and expensive.  Our guide has pictures, prices, history, and value information for more than 120 different pieces of paper money from Hong Kong.  The market for these bank notes is mainly driven by demand from Chinese and English collectors.  However, there are certainly American and other collectors buying currency from Hong Kong.  Money used in Hong Kong was actually issued by several different banks and not the government.  In the 1860s there were almost a dozen different foreign banks with branches in Hong Kong.  Several of these banks printed their own money.  In 1895 a law was passed that limited what kinds of banks were allowed to circulate their own paper money in Hong Kong.  Only two banks qualified.  They were The Chartered Bank of India, Australia & China as well as The Hong Kong & Shanghai Banking Corporation.  In 1912 The Mercantile Bank of India Limited was granted permission to issue paper money in Hong Kong.  You are only likely to see issued bank notes from those three institutions.

Some quick rules about Hong Kong bank notes:

1860-1880:  Rarest
1881-1900:  Still Very Rare
1900-1930:  Scarce
1930-1950:  Getting Common
1950-today:  Most Common

Generally speaking, the higher the denomination is, the more money that bank note should be worth.  Any money printed by The National Bank of China Limited should be considered rare.  Condition is also very important.  For example, a moderately scarce Hong Kong bank note from 1912 might be worth $2,500 in VG condition.  The same bank note could be worth in excess of $20,000 in AU condition.  Advanced collectors are paying significant premiums for rarer bank notes in high grades.

Why Are Banknotes from Hong Kong rare today?

It is important to remember that Hong Kong was basically just a fishing village until the 1840s.  In 1865 the population was 125,000 and by 1915 it was around 500,000.  There just wasn’t a demand for a significant amount of paper money to circulate.  Paper money was originally viewed as worthless by the native people of Hong Kong.  Because of the fear of getting stuck with worthless paper, most all bank notes in Hong Kong traded hands frequently and were simply used and left in a condition unfit to collect.  So small printing numbers combined with heavy circulation means that choice notes are very rare to find today.  The chance to buy something rare that is also high grade is a rare occurrence in today’s market.

Want to Know How Much Your Bank Note is Worth?

Just send us some pictures of what you have.  We can give you a free appraisal.  If it is for sale then we would also be happy to make an offer.  You might be surprised at what we have paid for some Hong Kong currency.  Please send scans or digital photos to the email address below: