Weird and wonderful: Amazing banknotes

These amazing banknotes are weird and wonderful. Out of the thousands of world banknotes and coins we exchange at Leftover Currency, we’ve made a selection of the most special banknotes, each with their own amazing story.

1 Yuan 1960's: Female tractor driver

On the banknote of 1 Chinese Yuan from the 1960’s is Lian Yung, one of China’s first female tractor drivers. Female tractor drivers were symbols of Chinese socialist modernity in the 1950’s. Many of the so-called ‘tractor girls‘ were famous and appeared on propaganda posters.

1 Chinese Yuan banknote (1960 issue) obverse accepted for exchange

50 Taiwan Dollars 1999: Banknotes on a banknote

The banknote of 50 New Taiwan Dollars issued in 1999 is the only banknote in the world that has an image of banknotes on it. The commemorative banknote was printed to celebrate 50 years of the New Taiwan Dollar, introduced in 1949.

50 New Taiwan Dollars banknote (1999 Commemorative issue)

10 South African Rand van Riebeeck: Wrong portrait

Next one in our selection of amazing banknotes is the apartheid era banknote of 10 South African rand. This banknote was meant to feature the portrait of SA’s founding father, Jan van Riebeeck. Only the portrait is not his  but that of a Dutch local who never even set foot in the country.

10 South African Rand banknote (van Riebeeck 1978 Issue)

10 Canadian Dollars 1954 - Devil's head

The 1954 Series of Canadian Dollars became known as the ‘Devil ‘s Head’ series, because a devil’s face can be seen in the hair of Queen Elizabeth II’s portrait. A second version of these banknotes was issued in 1956. The design modifications ensured that the 1956 $10 Canadian Dollar bill does not have a devil’s head.

Devil's head on Canadian $10 dollar bill from 1954

500 Euro banknote - the Bin Laden

The Eurozone’s highest value banknote, the €500 bill, is nicknamed ‘the Bin Laden’ because most people never encounter a €500 banknote. Another reason is that the 500 euro bill is said to be used mainly for money laundering, crime and terrorist financing. Denmark has declared that it will ban the 500 Euro banknote for currency exchange transactions. This is already the case in the United Kingdom. The European Central Bank announced in 2016 that it will no longer issue 500 euro banknotes, and that these will be taken out of circulation.

500 Euros banknote - First series obverse accepted for exchange