Comandante Fonseca, Founder Of The FSLN: 10 Córdoba (Nicaragua, 1985)-Article

Updated: Mar 13

This Nicaraguan banknote represents the 1st denomination of the First Cordoba (Series 1985). The Series 1985 was preceded by Series E, F, and G notes. The first which was introduced in 1979, after the FSLN (Sandinistas) overthrew the Somoza regime. These post-Somoza notes features a less classical modernist design, although continued to use color coding.

Some notes of the 1985 First Cordoba were reissued as the Second Córdoba Overprint. These notes feature stamps, which revalue the note's original face value. The circulated alongside regular Second Córdoba notes, which lacked overprinted stamps.


The observe features a portrait of FSLN (Sandinistas) founder “Comandante” Carlos Fonseca (1936-1976). He was school teacher, founded the FSLN two years after visiting the Soviet Union. He died 3 years before the FSLN's victory. While battling the Guardia Nacional (National Guard), in the mountains of western Nicaragua. A watermark of Augusto Sandino appears opposite of the portrait.

The note's header reads the (trans.) "Central Bank of Nicaragua", it rests above intricate "flag" patterns. is the note's serial number "FB 6898625". Notably this header serial number is the first of a dual-serial. The second serial number being located on the note's footer, on the lower right.

Moving towards the note's center, its Spanish text reads (trans), "10 Ten Cordobas". It rests on three overlapping decorative patterns. Notably the 10,000 Cordoba (1988), a denomination of the Second Córdoba Overprint. Covers this area with an overprinted stamp, which begins slightly above this note's "1985" print date.

Additional number "10"s can be seen on the note's corners, resting on decorative guilloché backings. These numbers are stamped over on the before mentioned 10,000 Cordoba note. This opposed to 50,000 Córdoba (1987), a denomination of the First Córdoba Overprint. Which features "BCN" stamps and is based on the earlier 10 Cordoba (Series F, 1984).

Moving to the footer, there are 2 separate signatures. They are the (trans.) "Central Bank President" and the "Minister of Finance". If one closely inspects the footer they will notice microprint. In addition to the footer "cloth" pattern, is the underprint's "stucco" pattern. The watermark area also features microprint, in the form of angled lines.

While not present on this note, this note was printed by Thomas De La Rue, London. As most First Cordoba notes, with the exception of Series 1985. Feature the text "Thomas De La Rue And Company Limited", at their lower left. While this text has been simply omitted from the Series 1985 notes, the overall design remains the same.

When unmarked, De La Rue notes of the era can be recognized by some key visual features. Such as dual serial numbers, similar text layouts, false textured underprints, and seamless color transitions. The later requires a degree of skill, beyond the level of most counterfeiters. More often then not, this can be used for general identification. Such examples being the 1973 South Vietnamese 500 Dong.


The reverse depicts depicts the Sandinista People's Army, during marching drills. After gaining control of Nicaragua, the FSLN disbanded the Samosa-era Guardia Nacional (National Guard). The FSLN own forces were used to form a replacement the Ejército Popular Sandinista (Sandinista People's Army). With Soviet assistance became the best equipped force in Central America.

Just as observe the header reads the "Central Bank of Nicaragua". Below is a pair of patterns, similar to the observe. These complementary patterns form the note's registration element. Each side has a unprinted negative or printed positive. When placed over bright light, each side's positive fill these gaps, completing the light puzzle effect.

At the notes center is a note's center is a large number "10". Below is the text (trans.) "Ten Cordobas". Additional number "10"s are located at the notes corners. All which lay on decorative guilloché backings.


Additional Notes

  • This note size is 155 x 74 mm or 6.10 x 2.56 in, slightly thinner than a US Dollar.

  • The preferred method to preserve this note are standard size protective sleeves.

  • The First Cordoba ISO 4217 code was NIO, it uses C$ as its official symbol.

  • The Second Cordoba was the only Cordoba variant to use a different ISO code.

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