Paper Money

Malaysia honors independence anniversary on notes

Detail of the face of a commemorative 600-ringgit note issued by Malaysia’s central bank.

Images courtesy of Bank Negara Malaysia.

Malaysia’s central bank, Bank Negara Malaysia, is issuing two commemorative bank notes for the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Federation of Malaya Independence Agreement. One of them is a really big deal. 

The notes honor the Council (or Conference) of Rulers’ contribution toward independence. When council members signed the agreement, dated Aug. 5,1957, it led to the Federation of Malaya becoming an independent member of the British Commonwealth at the end of that month.

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Notes are being issued with the same design in denominations of 60 and 600 ringgit, worth $14.70 and $147 in U.S. funds. The only difference between the two is their size — the 600-ringgit note measures 22 by 37 centimeters, or 8.666 by 14.5 inches, qualifying it as the largest bank note in the world.

According to Guinness, the current record holder is a Philippine 100,000-peso note of 1998 measuring 22 by 33 centimeters (8.5 by 11 inches). The two issues are the first Malaysian notes printed on a combination of polymer and paper substrate.

The royal crown is in the center of each note’s face, surrounded by 15 portraits of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, who has reigned since 1957 as king and head of state. He is one of the world’s few elected monarchs. A crescent and a 14-point federal star in its center are also features of the royal headgear.

The back design has the nine rulers who signed the Federation of Malaya Independence Agreement on Aug. 5, 1957, along with other independence and post-independence figures and features. Features include the National Palace, Perdana Putra (prime minister’s office), the Parliament building, and the Palace of Justice. These symbolize the monarchy, the executive office, the legislature and the judiciary.

Six thousand single 600-ringgit notes are being printed, with a selling price of 1,700 ringgit, or $417, each. Another 6,000 60-ringgit three-subject sheets are being offered at 500 ringgit ($123) each. The single 60-ringgit note will be sold at 120 ringgit apiece. The print run is 60,000 pieces. 

Bank notes with special serial numbers will be sold via public auction on March 10, 2018.

Visit the bank’s website to learn more.

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