Paper Money

PMG authenticates 1975 Chinese note

Paper Money Guaranty says that it recently authenticated and graded as Uncirculated 62 an unlisted 1975 People’s Republic of China 2-yuan proof note.

According to the grading service, the 1975-dated design was proposed but not approved for circulation and was never officially issued. Unlike many proofs that are printed on thin India paper, this one is printed on bank note-grade paper watermarked with patterned stars. Given the high-quality paper used, and the fact that the main print design on both sides is in high-quality intaglio, PMG is of the opinion that the design was evidently quite well progressed before it was rejected.

Were the note issued, it would have fallen between China’s 1972 5-jiao issue and the 1980 People’s Republic of China series issue. It has design elements from both the 1960 (Third Series renminbi) and the 1980 (Fourth Series renminbi) series. The face and back central vignettes have the same general look as the vignettes on the Series 1960 notes, while the border design elements share the same general look as the 1980 series notes.

An ungraded example with similar-looking design is said to have been sold by Beijing’s Chengxuan Auction Company in a November 2010 auction for 1.68 million renminbi (about U.S. $253,000).

The face of the note portrays an interesting character in a fur cap, the model worker and socialist hero “Iron Man” Wang Jinxi. Born to a poor peasant family, he became famous in 1960 for his work in the Daqing Oil Field in northeastern China (the construction site on the back).

When Mao Zedong and China’s Central Party Committee decided to develop the Daqing Oil Field, Wang Jinxi and his famous No. 1205 Drilling Team, despite fatigue and injuries, braved temperatures of between -4 and -22 F to strike oil. Within three years, Daqing became China’s first world-class oil field.

Wang is also famous for preventing an imminent well blow-out. Faced without mud-mixing equipment that would help prevent a blow out, he jumped into a mud pool and mixed the mud with his own body. In 1967 he was made a national labor model, and in 1968 he was elected to the Ninth Central Committee of the Communist Party. He died of cancer in 1970.

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