Monday, March 18, 2013

Banknote Pricing in A Historical Context

First of all, I apologize for the extended hiatus.  I've been busy with other things as of late and haven't had very much time to devote to this blog.  In any case, today I'd like to briefly examine the reasons for the large differences in prices seen among notes, from different time periods and even within the same time period. 

Fist of all, as even the newer collectors among you have likely noticed, is that prices vary greatly by country as a general rule.  Some countries, such as the United States and Great Britain tend to have pricier issues, while others, such as Austria-Hungry and Imperial Russia are on the cheaper side.  In fact you'll notice that countries still standing today are as a rule more expensive than their vanquished or dissolved counterparts.  This is due to the fact that these nations still honor their currency, while non existing nations obviously do not.  My point is that you could still walk into a McDonald's restaurant and buy lunch with a five dollar note from 1917, but you wouldn't have much luck trying the same with a 10 ruble 1909 Russian issue (unless maybe the cashier is a collector!)

Another reason for the difference in pricing between notes of different national origin is that countries and empires that no longer exist often rapidly inflate their currencies as a last ditch effort to stave off economic ruin.  Naturally this results in a large quantity of notes, which in a short time being next to worthless in commerce.  History is littered with such examples, such as Imperial Russia in WWI, Imperial Japan occupation currency during WWII, and Wiemar Germany during the 1920s.

When collecting notes and looking through the pricing catalogs, it's important to examine the historical context of the notes when considering the reasons behind their valuations.

I'll end today's post with a question, answer in the comments and  get special mention in the next post.  "Why are Russian notes issued before 1898 very expensive to acquire?"

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