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Collecting Vintage Philippine Paper Money

The Philippine peso, spelled "piso" in the Filipino language, is a currency with a complex history. If you're interested in collecting vintage banknotes, you'll want to learn all you can about it. The peso was frequently reissued by different governments, so there are many designs to explore on eBay.

What distinguishes the 1949 Victory notes from the English Series?

When the Central Bank of the Philippines, known as the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, was founded in 1949, they took over issuance of paper money from the Americans. Their first series of banknotes was simply the Victory notes introduced by General MacArthur in 1944, overprinted on the reverse with "Central Bank of the Philippines." In 1951, the bank issued a new series of peso bills in the English language, but these have the year 1949 printed on the front as the year of the bank's founding and are often listed for sale as pesos from 1949. While the Victory notes have American figures for some denominations and even have Mount Mayon instead of a man's face on the 20-peso note, the newer bills all feature Filipino political heroes. The English Series is also notable for including smaller denominations from 5 centavos to the half-peso bill.

Types of Philippine paper money that existed before the CBP

In 1852, the El Banco Español Filipino de Isabel II issued the Philippine peso fuerte, the first paper money in the islands, which were in circulation until the end of the century. The First Republic also printed 1 and 5 peso bills. These are extremely rare.

Much more common are the peso bills issued during the American Colonial era and under the Commonwealth. Starting in 1903, the Insular Government issued Silver Certificates in denominations from 1 to 500 pesos. These are some of the most valuable Philippine banknotes. In 1908, El Banco Espanol Filipino was authorized to print Spanish-language banknotes, and after taking the name Philippine National Bank, they continued to print paper money in English until 1937. Notes issued by the Bank of the Philippine Islands circulated simultaneously with these as did Philippine Islands Treasury Certificates.

In addition to these, there are the emergency circulating notes from WWI, two series of Japanese government-issued Philippine peso from the occupation, and the aforementioned 1944 Victory notes, also known as Series No. 66.

Which banknotes are printed in the Filipino language?

All paper money printed in the Philippines since 1969 has been in Filipino rather than English:

  • Pilipino Series (1969–1977) - These contain mostly the same figures on the front and scenes on the back as the English series but reordered, and the design no longer resembles U.S. currency.
  • Ang Bagong Lipunan Series (1978–1985) - Known in English as the "New Society" series, these are notable for discontinuing the 1-peso bill after its introduction as a coin in 1972.
  • New Design/BSP Series (1985–2009) - Eliminating the flowing patterns of the previous two series, this one starts at 5 pesos and introduces denominations as high as 1,000.
  • New Generation Currency Series (2009–present) - The only legal tender in the Philippines since 2017, these bills start at 20 pesos, all lower denominations being replaced by coins.
Content provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute investment advice.
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