Banknotes of the Chatham Islands

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The Banknotes of the Chatham Islands were issued in 2000 and 2001 by a private organisation called the Chatham Islands Note Corporation.

Historical background

As the Chatham Islands were the first place in the world to see in the 21st Century, a private organisation, the Chatham Islands Note Corporation (CINC) was set up in 1999 to issue a private set of notes for circulation in the Chatham Islands alongside the New Zealand currency. Although the notes are a private issue (like the "Black Sheep" notes that were issued in Wales in 1969), they are worthy of study.

The CINC had to seek permission from the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) before the issue could go ahead. Surprisingly, the RBNZ gave permission to the CINC, provided that the notes were not misrepresented as legal tender. They were represented as being negotiable tender, which meant that a trader did not have to accept the Chatham Islands notes as a form of payment, although some of the traders on the Chatham Islands accepted the notes. However, as the RBNZ later pointed out, the traders could equally have chosen to accept monopoly play money, sea shells, or bottles of beer, if the seller is happy to receive them.

The CINC, which was based in Christchurch, appointed Mr. Leon Morel, FRNSNZ of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia as the agent to market the Chatham Islands notes to the numismatic trade. The CINC later shifted their base of operations to Waitangi, Chatham Islands.

The Chatham Islands Dollar (ChI$) was fixed at the same rate as the New Zealand Dollar. The series I notes were printed in late 1999 in time for release on 1 January 2000. They were printed on Tyvek (a plastic-type material that is water and tear resistant) by Timely Marketing and Promotions Limited, Christchurch and Dunedin, New Zealand. There were same-serial numbered sets produced that came in cardboard folders. These bear a totally different hologram security device to the currency issue. The designs were strongly influenced by US currency. They are dual-denominated in cents as well as in dollars. There are 3 printings of this series, but those of the third printing are the only ones that have been seen (and confirmed) by the numismatic trade.

The Series II notes were printed some time during the year 2000 for release in 2001. They were printed on a cotton fibre paper by Chan Wanich Security Printing Company Limited, Thailand. The front of these notes is very similar to the Series I notes, apart from the dates and a few other details. Again,these notes are dual-denominated in cents and dollars. There are also 3 printings of this series, and again, those of the third printing are the only ones that have been seen by the numismatic trade. There were also some same-serial numbered sets produced, but these were NOT issued in cardboard folders. These have the same hologram as the currency issue.

In the Series I notes,the series consisted of the following denominations: $2 (200c.), $3 (300c.), $10 (1,000c.), and $15 (1,500c.).

The Series II notes consisted of the following denominations: $3 (300c.), $5 (500c.), $8 (800c.), $10 (1,000c.), and $15 (1,500c.). The $8 is a very unusual denomination, and the Chatham Islands is the only place in the entire British Commonwealth that has put an $8 note into circulation.

To assist collectors and dealers, a catalogue numbering system has been provided in this article. Until a better system can be compiled, a system of temporary "Work" numbers (indicated by the letter "W" has been assigned to the notes.

Signature chart

           Director of the Corporation / Secretary of the Treasury.

Series I. Clint MacInnes / John Day.

Series II. Indecipherable / J. Day.

Chatham Islands Notes Series I, 1999 A

(issued as negotiable tender for the year 2000). Tyvek.

The date "2000" appear in the 4 corners. The notes have the map of the Chatham Islands at left of the underprint and "Chatham Islands Taiko" at right. Green frame on the backs of the notes. Printer's name at the bottom on the backs of the notes. The hologram of the currency issue notes depicts a representation of the Asia-Pacific region with "1st" superimposed, an inner circle with the words "WORLD FIRST" and "AUTHENTIC", which can be seen depending on the direction in which a note is tilted, and an outer circle, which has a rainbow pattern going around like a flywheel. The notes of the same-serial numbered folder issue have "1st" printed in white on top of the hologram, which has an interlocking pattern consisting of the date "2000".

W1a. Two Dollars (200 Cents).

Front: Purple and grey-blue underprint.

Back: Crayfish, the sea and Chatham Islands black robin.

Theme: The Sea.

W1b. Same-serial numbered folder issue.

       As above currency issue.

W2a. Three Dollars (300 Cents).

Front: As above, but purple and red-pink underprint.

Back: First motor vehicle, the community, and Chatham Islands black robin.

Theme: The Community.

W2b. Same-serial numbered folder issue.

       As above currency issue.

W3a. Ten Dollars (1,000 Cents).

Front: As above, but green and yellow-brown underprint.

Back: The history and Chatham Islands black robin.

Theme: The History.

W3b. Same-serial numbered folder issue.

       As above currency issue.

W4a. Fifteen Dollars (1,500 Cents).

Front: As above, but green and brown underprint.

Back: Nikau palm, Chathams' horse power and Chatham Islands black robin.

Theme: The Land.

W4b. Same-serial numbered folder issue.

       As above currency issue.

Chatham Islands Notes Series II, 2001 B (issued as negotiable tender for the years 2001 and 2002).

Cotton fibre paper. The date "2001" in 3 corners. The notes have an albatross replacing the map of the Chatham Islands at left of the underprint. "Chatham Islands Taiko" at right. Olive-green-black frames on the backs of the notes. The currency notes and the ones in the same-numbered sets have computer style numbering in the serial numbers, whereas, the replacement notes have block numbers in the serial numbers. The hologram of the notes depicts a compass with a wavy pattern in the outer silver area. The map of the Chatham Islands and "CINC" is seen when a note is tilted in one direction and a crayfish (actually a rock lobster) can be seen when the note is tilted in the other direction. Printer's name at the bottom on the backs of the notes.

W5a. Three Dollars (300 Cents).

Front: Pink and yellow underprint.

Back: Horse racing, Chatham Islands Jockey Club (1873), Woytek's Fool.

Theme: Horse Racing.

W5b. Same-serial numbered issue.

       As above currency issue.

W5p. As above currency issue, but has the serial number "A000000" (Printer's Specimen).

W5r. As above currency issue, but the serial number has a star at the end of it (Replacement note).

W6a. Five Dollars (500 Cents).

Front: As above, but green and yellow underprint.

Back: Morioris, Woytek's Generations.

Theme: The Ancestors.

W6b. Same-serial numbered issue.

       As above currency issue.

W6p. As above currency issue, but has the serial number "A000000" (Printer's Specimen).

W6r. As above currency issue, but the serial number has a star at the end of it (Replacement note).

W7a. Eight Dollars (800 Cents).

Front: As above, but lilac and blue underprint.

Back: A new dawn with the spring symphony and guardians of Mt. Hakepa, Pitt Island. Map of the Chatham Islands.

Theme: Centre - The Message.

(Note: The word is spelt as 'Center' on the note.)

W7b. Same-serial numbered issue.

       As above currency issue.

W7p. As above currency issue, but has the serial number "A000000" (Printer's Specimen).

W7r. As above currency issue, but the serial number has a star at the end of it (Replacement note).

W8a. Ten Dollars (1,000 Cents).

Front: As above, but with lilac-blue and green-yellow underprint.

Back: Abe Jacobs World Champion wrestler, Woytek's Warrior.

Theme: Wrestler.

W8b. Same-serial numbered issue.

       As above currency issue.

W8p. As above currecy issue, but has the serial number "A000000" (Printer's Specimen).

W8r. As above currency issue, but the serial number has a star at the end of it (Replacement note).

W9a. Fifteen Dollars (1,500 Cents).

Front: As above, but blue, pink and yellow underprint.

Back; Short Sunderland, Woytek's Astronomer.

Theme: Flying Boat.

W9b. Same-serial numbered issue.

       As above currency issue.

W9p. As above currency issue, but has the serial number "A000000" (Printer's Specimen).

W9r. As above currency issue, but the serial number has a star at the end of it(Replacement note).

Collector Series

WCSI. Series I Same-serial numbered folder issue (W1b. - W4b.).

WCSII. Series II same-serial numbered issue (W5b. - W9b.).

Uncut Sheets:

These were only issued for Series II (W5. - W9.). These have a 4 digit serial number range from S0001 to S1000.

WUSI. 4 x $3.

WUSII. 3 x $5.

WUSIII. 3 x $8.

WUSIV. 2 x $10.

WUSV. 2 x $15.

Reference

Chatham Islands numismatics by Aidan John Work. Published in the Coin News, February 2006 by Token Publishing,pages 38-40. ISSN 0958-1391.