The Hong Kong Government Issued Bank Notes

King George V 1$ issued 1935
(Ref. Pick P311 Ma G10)

The price of silver plummeted in 1930. The Dollar value in terms of the Pound fell from 2s 6d to 1s 2d by the end of 1930 affecting trade. In 1934 the USA passed the Silver Purchase Act to raise the price of silver, this succeeded in pushing the price of the Silver Dollar over 3s and drained the Colony of silver coin. In 1935 $174 million worth of silver was exported from the Colony. It forced the Chinese Government, followed by Hong Kong off the Silver Standard. The Silver Dollars were replaced by a Paper Dollar with an exchange rate of 1s 3d Sterling.

King George VI 1$ issued 1937-1939
(Ref: Pick P312 Ma G11)

These notes are very similar to those of King George V, including a continuation of the number sequence.

Emergency Issue 1 Cent 30 May 1941
(Ref: Pick P313, Ma G1)

In early 1941 shortly after the Japanese over ran Southern China the population of Hong Kong doubled to 1.5 million. The Colony found itself short of small change, and to relieve the situation authorised the Government printers, Noronha and Company Limited of Old Bailey Street, to print One Cent, Five Cent and Ten Cent notes. The notes all had the printed signature of the Financial Secretary Mr R.R. Todd and were individually numbered. The One Cent was also issued with A & B Prefixs.

Emergency Issue 5 Cent 16th October 1941
(Ref: Pick P314. Ma G4)

Emergency Issue 10 Cent 16th October 1941
(Ref: Pick P315, Ma G7)

The Ten Cent was also issued with an A number Prefix.

Emergency Wartime overprint, issued 13th December 1941 till the
surrender on the 25th December. (Ref: Pick P317, Ma G15)

When the British were confined to Hong Kong Island there emerged a shortage of coin. To relieve the situation a stock of The Bank of China 5 Yuan notes were discovered on the premises of The Commercial Press Limited in King Road, North Point. These notes were overprinted HONGKONG GOVERNMENT $1 and released for circulation on the 13th of December. The Colony surrendered on 25th December 1941 and the Hong Kong currency no longer had any value. After the war stock of unissued notes were found and destroyed. All the examples that I have seen of this overprint have the Prefix B in the number.

Emergency Post War Note to replace Japanese Military Currency.
Not issued. (Ref: Pick P319, Ma G17)

After the Japanese surrender in August 1945 it was decided to remove the Japanese Occupation Currency from circulation as quickly as possible. Stocks of Japanese 1000 Yen Military notes, Central Reserve Bank of China 1000 Yuan notes, and Central Reserve Bank of China 5000 Yuan notes were discovered at the Chung Hwa Book Company in Kowloon. It was decided by the Military Administration to overprint the 1000 Yen note as ONE Dollar, the 1000 Yuan notes as FIVE DOLLARS and the 5000 Yuan notes as TEN DOLLARS. The Overprinting and numbering was done by Ye Olde Printerie, however before these notes could be released Government Notes printed in the UK arrived. These overprints were held in the vaults of the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation until February 1946 when they were burned. Records show 2.4 million $5 notes were overprinted.

King George VI 1$ issued 1945 after the Japanese surrender.
(Ref: Pick P316, Ma G12)

These notes were made on the orders of the Hong Kong Planning Unit in the UK before the end of the war, and flown to the Colony shortly after the Japanese Surrender.

King George VI 1 Cent issued after the Japanese surrender.
(Ref: Pick P321, Ma G2)

These notes together with the Five Cent and Ten Cent were an emergency issue arranged by the Hong Kong Planning Unit at the end of the war. The notes are unifaced and not numbered. There was no coinage available at the end of the was and new supplies of coin did not arrive until February 1949. The one cent coin was not resumed.

King George VI 5 Cent issued 1945 to 1949
(Ref: Pick P322, Ma G5)

King George VI 10 Cent issued 1945 to 1949
(Ref: Pick P323, Ma G8)

King George VI 1$ issued 1949 to 1952
(Ref: Pick P324, Ma G13)
9th April 1949 date has signature C.G. Fellows
1st January 1952 date has signature Arthur Clarke

Queen Elizabeth II 1 Cents issued 1961 to 1995
(Ref: Pick P325, Ma G3)
Signatures of the Financial Secretary.
Top Left signature J.J. Cowperthwaite 1961-1971
Top Right signature C.P. Haddon-Cave 1971-1981
Bottom Left signature Sir J.H. Bremridge 1981-1986
Bottom middle signature Sir Piers Jacobs 1986-1992
Bottom Right signature Hamish Macleod 1992-1995

The One Cent note has always been very popular even though it has very little value. A recent assessment showed there was over $1 million worth of these notes in circulation. The Coinage Bill of the 17th June 1994 brought about the demise of the One Cent note in preparation for the 1997 hand over to China.

Queen Elizabeth II 5 Cent emergency issue 1965
(Ref: Pick P326, Ma G6)
Signature J.J. Cowperthwaite

I believe these notes were put into circulation prior to Chinese New Year in 1965. New Coins and Notes are required at Chinese New Year to fill the lucky red packets given on this occasion, however in 1965 there was a delay by the Royal Mint in producing the required coinage.

Queen Elizabeth II 10 Cent emergency issue 1965
(Ref: Pick P327, Ma G9)
Signature J.J. Cowperthwaite

Queen Elizabeth II 1$ issued 1952 to 1959
(Ref: Pick P328, Ma G14)
Signature Arthur Clarke
Dates of issue 1st July 1952, 1st July 1954, 1st July 1955,
1st June 1956, 1st July 1957, 1st July 1958 and 1st July 1959.

I have found the 1954 date the hardest to obtain in condition. In 1960 a copper nickel $1 coin was introduced.

The majority of the Bank Notes of Hong Kong are issued by the private banks.
The Major issuing banks are:
The Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation
The Chartered Bank
The Bank of China- commence issuing in 1994
The Mercantile Bank- ceased issuing in 1974

Last Modified 11th September 1999
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