Fancy Number Banknotes : 8 Popular Categories

Lucky number 8
Lucky 8
Numbers has been as source of fascination in many different cultures around the world. Believers will tell you that certain numbers mean certain things, in different cultures and numbers make people do very strange things.

Take the number 13 for example - it is considered an "unlucky" number in most Western cultures. This belief has different origins depending who you ask. Some say that 13 pence was the hangman's pay; while Judas was the 13th disciple of Christ and the list goes on. Somewhere along the line Friday 13th is also regarded as a bad day and triska-deka-phobics (i.e. people who fear the number 13) will refuse to drive or go out on those days.  Buildings in the West do not have level 13 as well.

Malaysia 1 Ringgit Ali Abul Hassan Side/Vertical Signature ??

Fake AAH Signature on the side/vertical on 1 Ringgit note
Fake AAH Signature on the side/vertical on 1 Ringgit note 
Almost all of Malaysian banknote collectors know that there is only one version of the 1 Ringgit Ali Abul Hassan (commonly referred to as AAH) signed notes i.e. the one with the signature is a center of the obverse and the only prefix for this is none other than the famous "CR" prefix.

Then one fine day, someone showed me the much-talked-about but never seen side/vertically signed note, which is quite interesting because my good friend LUNATICG happen to mention that in his blog article titled "Top 10 Myths in Malaysian Numismatics". This "phantom" piece is listed at item #4. The most astonishing part is that someone allegedly paid RM15,000 (about USD4,000) for that piece. However, there were no photos of that piece shown in the article.

Now I am not at all sure if this piece that appeared before me is that very same piece or if it is even produced by the same "counterfeiter"* (a special heartfelt thanks to Eryclunk Numismatic (FB name) for showing me this); but it is far too interesting to let it go without taking a closer look at it!

* Technically speaking this is not a counterfeit because the banknote itself it genuine. It is an "alteration" made to it so that it will fetch a higher market value. 

A numismatist or a collector - is there a difference?

Numismatist vs Collector
Got a comment or a different view? Use the "comment" feature 
at the end of this blog entry.
The word "numismatics" is not often heard outside the banknote and coin collecting community. Mention the word "numismatics" to anyone you meet on the street, you will almost certainly to get the "excuse me?" kind of reaction, as if it was some foreign language! In fact that kind of reaction is quite "normal" for a "numismatist". Worse if you tell people that you are a numismatist, they'll go "what?".

Like any other field of study or job specialization, such terminologies or "buzzwords" as they are commonly referred to, often sound unfamiliar. Take the medical profession for example, I am sure all of you know what a doctors are and what they do. But have you heard of cardiologist, gastroenterologist, oncologist, pathologist and radiologist ? No? I am not surprised. All of these are specialists professions for the heart, gut, cancer, lab tests and X-ray/imaging, They are your garden variety medical practitioners which are commonly found in your local hospital.

Banknote Grading Guide

This is a summarized banknote grading guide in a tabular form. Makes it easier to used because the factors that affect grade is clearly spelled out. The contents are summarized base on the International Banknote Society's ( adjectival grading description. This was presented at the recent the "Introduction to Numismatic Grading" course conducted in Kuala Kangsar.

If you have any questions about the course or numismatic grading, do email us at or Whatsapp +60 12 318 3042.

If you would like to get a FREE large version of this table (A3 size) in PDF, please email us.

Banknote Grading Guide by

Numismatic Grading Course at ProCINS Kuala Kangsar

Back in November 2014, I received a call from Dato' Sha, who is the founder "Kelab Warisan Numismatik Malaysia" (loosely translated : Malaysian Numismatic Heritage Club). After a polite introduction, he inquired about my background and my qualifications in numismatics. I briefed him about my numismatic interests and having just completed the Diploma in Numismatics with the American Numismatic Association (ANA) in July. To which he said that he is in the process of putting together a course in numismatics with University Malaysia Pahang (UMP) [Update 10 Dec 2015 : Please note that the certificate is issued by Koperasi Universiti Malaysia Pahang] and he is looking for a professionally trained numismatist to be one of the lecturers as well as develop the course content from scratch and I seem to fit the bill.

As for myself, I have always enjoyed sharing my knowledge and help people whenever I can. I have volunteered as a coach for MBA students, conducted systems engineering classes, spoke at industry conferences and also served on an Industry Advisory Panel  for a local university for the past 3 years. 

So there is no need to guess what my answer was going to be.