Why Stamps Appear On Some Banknotes

Why Stamps Appear On Some Banknotes
by: Ben Tseytlin - on Coins & Currency

As you grow your currency collection, it is inevitable that at some point you’ll encounter bank notes which have an adhesive stamp attached to their surface. These notes aren’t particularly rare and some varieties are quite common, but they are significant for a number of reasons.

Why Are Stamp Notes Issued?

Stamp notes are typically used to indicate value. A classic example is the bills issued by the Hungarian government during 1945, at the end of the Second World War. Three variants are known to exist, one that has a red stamp (1000 pengo), and others which display a blue or brown stamp on the obverse side (10,000 pengo). The stamps were placed on notes being circulated to raise their value, in a move that was designed to combat inflation.

Those who owned these notes had to distribute ¼ of the value and in exchange were given a stamp to verify this. Such measures ultimately failed, but the notes are now prized by currency collectors worldwide. Another example is stamp notes which were issued by Czechoslovakia during the same time period. They came in two variants, and each stamp was attached for different reasons.

The first notes were actually created in Russia and were transported to the country to be used by the Russian military. Records of how many notes were actually printed weren’t properly maintained and as a consequence they had to be counted to figure out the quantity in circulation. To achieve this, every note that was counted got a stamp attached. Those notes which circulated without stamps were also counted while the notes that bear stamps were not counted a second time. Furthermore, only notes that had the denominations of 1000, 500 or 100 korun were included in the count. The 100 korun note received a blue colored stamp, while the 500 and 1000 korun notes both received red stamps.

How Geopolitics Influence Stamp Notes

Stamp notes might also be issued as the consequence of geopolitical changes resulting from war. For example, in 1918 World War I ended, and the Austrian Hungarian Empire collapsed, which led to the creation of multiple political entities. Two of these were Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia. Each state required a distinct monetary standard, and because banknotes didn’t yet exist, Czechoslovakia altered the Austrian Hungarian notes that were then in circulation by adding a stamp for about 1 percent of its face value. This resulted in ten haleru blue stamps and twenty red haleru stamps. The stamps utilized in Yugoslavia displayed no particular value and instead differed primarily based on color for the different denominations. They appeared in three issues with texts such as Serbian, Slovenian and Croatian. The Serbian notes are interesting since their text is inscribed in Cyrillic as opposed to Romanized letters. The stamps can be found in denominations such as ten, twenty, fifty, one hundred and one thousand kronen.