BNM Event - Works on Paper : Art Inside the Wallet


Date : 4 August 2016

Banknotes are something that we use everyday of our lives and yet 99.9% of us do not pay much attention when we take them out of our wallets or purse and handing them over to the cashier. As our newly appointed BNM Governor aptly puts it in his opening speech today, the ONLY time we ever pay attention to the banknotes is when the cashier hands it back to us and telling us it is not acceptable, for whatever reasons!  Of course we the numismatists and collectors are the exception!

Which brings us to the main purpose of this 4 month long exhibition, which is to create awareness in the general public that that paper money are essentially works of art. Did you know that the picture of Mount Kinabalu at the back of RM1 and RM100 are hand painted first before being transferred to the printing plates and printed? There is a lot of work and money, pun intended, put into printing these bits of paper in your wallet and they are produced at such a high level of consistency that the ONLY way you can tell a difference between two RM100 notes is by their serial number!



Fig 1 : Open address by Malaysia's Central Bank Governor Muhammad Ibrahim
Fig 1 : Opening address by Malaysia's Central Bank Governor Datuk Muhammad Ibrahim

So why do central banks invest so much of resources in banknotes? That's because it represents the country and its people, in fact it is the second most important icon of the country after its national flag.

In addition to the art work, a lot of technological innovations are also incorporated into the banknotes e.g. counterfeit prevention features, some are visible and some are invisible. The visible ones include the security strip, 3D images and the "hidden" ones include UV ink, micro texts and watermarks. That is on top of the intricate fine art prints that is impossible to reproduce even with high end commercial photocopiers and printers.

The fine art on paper is the main highlight of this exhibition. Since most of us hardly any pay attention to it, the team at the Museum & Art Gallery of Sasana Kijang took extraordinary time and effort to "blow up" these banknotes by more than 100 times so that we can see the art works up close, without any visual aids. The exhibits is a showcase of the 30 most significant banknotes from more than 10 countries throughout history, starting from the 14th century China, right up to the most current Malaysian notes.

In addition, there is also a section of the exhibition that showcase the life cycle of banknotes and how the printed money managed - at Malaysia's ACC - the Automated Cash Center, there is an interesting video about the center and how it was build in just 18 months!

From what I have been told, the team in Museum & Art Gallery of Sasana Kijang, Bank Negara Malaysia (Central Bank of Malaysia) have been planning and working on this event for close to 9 months and it is NOT A PERMANENT EXHIBIT. All of this will end on 30 November 2016. So please make a point to visit Sasana Kijang before it ends!

Fig 2 : Invitation card, press kit and souvenir booklet
Fig 2 : Invitation card, press kit and souvenir booklet

The BNM team has also produced a booklet in conjunction with the exhibition - it is an A5 size book of 108 pages, complete with illustrations and detailed description of ALL the 30 banknotes on display. A good souvenir to have at only RM20 each!

Of all the 30 pieces there, there are only 3 pieces of which I do not have in my collection :

1. Ming Dynasty, One Kuan from 1368
2. Malaya, SA-PULOH RIBU Pattern note 1962 (Frank Goon has one if I recall correctly)
3. Sarawak 1 Dollar 1929

As for me, I will be going back again, since there was quite a crowd at the launch event and I did not have the chance to see each exhibit up close.

The location of the exhibition is at Sasana Kijang in Kuala Lumpur.

Below are the photos and highlights of the event for your viewing pleasure and ....

HAPPY COLLECTING !

*** A special thanks to En. Wan Danial and BNM MAG team for the invitation to the wonderful and well organized event, which we hope will bring about more awareness and appreciation of banknotes and the hobby of numismatics ***

Fig 3 : Nice event set up at Sasana Kijang
Fig 3 : Nice event set up at Sasana Kijang 

Fig 4 : Opening address by BNM Governor Muhammad bin Ibrahim
Fig 4 : Opening address by BNM Governor Datuk Muhammad bin Ibrahim 

Fig 5 : Signing off the collage to officiate the opening
Fig 5 : Signing off the collage to officiate the opening

Fig 6 : A close up of the most important man's signature !
Fig 6 : A close up of the most important man's signature ! 

Fig 7 : The intricate patterns and designs on Malaysia's banknotes

Fig 8 : The oldest of the lot, from China, printed circa 1368, 648 years ago!
Fig 8 : The oldest of the lot, One Kuan from China, printed circa 1368, 648 years ago! 

Fig 9 : Security features of banknotes
Fig 9 : Security features of banknotes

Fig 10 : Printing machine for the Japanese Invasion Money 1942-1945
Fig 10 : Printing machine for the Japanese Invasion Money 1942-1945

Fig 11 : Giant sized banknotes - magnified so that the public can view and appreciate the art work.
Fig 11 : Giant sized banknotes - magnified so that the public can view and appreciate the art work.

Fig 12 : This 10,000 Ringgit is the most difficult, if not impossible to get!
Fig 12 : This 10,000 Ringgit is the most difficult, if not impossible to get! Mainly because it is a pattern note. 

Fig 13 : A demonstration of how the art work is done
Fig 13 : A demonstration of how the art work is done

Fig 14 : Highlighting the details and intaglio print of the banknotes
Fig 14 : Highlighting the details and intaglio print of the banknotes

Fig 15 : Don't need to introduce who this is ! Her face has appeared in most number of banknotes on this planet - QE2 !
Fig 15 : Don't need to introduce who this is ! Her face has appeared in most number of banknotes on this planet

Fig 16 : A sample artwork of Mount Kinabalu, the highest peak in Malaysia
Fig 16 : A sample artwork of Mount Kinabalu, the highest peak in Malaysia

Fig 17 : A light moment with the most powerful man in the financial services industry
Fig 17 : A light moment with the most powerful man in the financial services industry

Fig 18 : This was how close I got ! BNM Governor Muhammad Ibrahim
Fig 18 : This was how close I got to THE VVIP ! 

Fig 19 : The life cycle of a Malaysian banknote
Fig 19 : The life cycle of a Malaysian banknote, the ACC stands for Automated Cash Center







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