Ngua Noi, The Forgotten Horses Of Vietnam: 50 Dong (South Vietnam, 1972)-Article

Updated: Dec 28, 2021

This South Vietnamese banknote represents the 1st denomination of the final “Southern Dồng” Series (1972). The 1972 Series Dồng served as the final currency of the Republic of (South) Vietnam. The reverse art of this banknote series, features detailed illustrations of South Vietnam's wildlife. The note's were produced by world renown British printer, De La Rue London.


The “Southern Dồng” was replaced by the Việt Cộng issued "Southern Liberation" Dồng, in 1975. These transitional notes were issued during the phase of the Vietnam War (1973-1975). The “Southern Liberation" was the de-facto currency of South Vietnam. Until the merging of both North and South Vietnamese currencies, in 1978. (This note will be reviewed reverse first)


Reverse

The reverse features a beautiful illustration (main art) of a trio of galloping Ngua Noi Horses. This main art area can be discribed as cloud-like in shape. To the right the horses, is the note's watermark area. Small vertical lines can seen extending from the watermark area toward the background of the main art. These lines seamlessly transition from light green to a "purple-beige" shade. The main art and watermark area, is a bed of stylized flowers.


It appears the cloud-shaped main art area is part of the note blank. This hypothesis is supported is supported, by the fact all denomination of the 1972 Series are color coded. In addition to being color coded, all denomination feature a unique underprint. This particular denomination features galloping outlines, refencing the main art. Color coding and stylized underprints were a hallmark of De La Rue notes of the period.


There is Vietnamese text above and to the lower right, of the main art. The header translates to the "State Bank of Vietnam". While the subtext below threaten counterfeiters with "penal servitude", for copying and distributing counterfeit banknotes. The lower right text translates to "Fifty Dồng". As supported by the "50" located on the lower right and upper left.


The two number "50" lay on guilloché frames, featuring rows of braided, swirling and folding lines. The lower right "50" lays on a crescent moon shape, featuring a gridded pattern. It hugs against the main art, as does a larger crescent moon on the left. This larger crescent moon features a "waved" guilloché design and can go easily unnoticed. As the guilloché pattern which the upper left "50" lies on, partially conceals it.


Full Translation

State Bank of Vietnam
Penal servitude for people who counterfeit banknotes, from the distributions of the State Bank of Vietnam.
Fifty Dồng

Observe

The observe depicts the Palace of Independence, the residence of the President of South Vietnam. The site serves as a landmark for the end of the Vietnam War (1955-1975). After a North Vietnamese Army (NVA) tank crash though the main gate, on the 30 April 1975.


The text resembles that of the reverse, featuring "State Bank of Vietnam" and "Fifty Dồng". To the left of the "Palace of Independence" is the watermark area. This watermark area features a pattern along it's left side, beginning at the lower left "50". With some small exception, this pattern doesn't obstruct the watermark area. This is opposed to the pattern seen on the right side, which overlaps the main art area. Although existing as a print between the note blank and the Palace of Independence. The lower right "50" lays above the beforementioned pattern.


Typical of De La Rue notes, the observe features dual serial numbers. These serial numbers are located above and to the lower left of the "Palace of Independence". Both serial numbers read "659642", although the upper number features the batch number (A/75).


Watermark


The Forgotten Horses Of Vietnam

Ngua Noi, also sometimes known as Hmong horse, are species indigenous in Vietnam. Little is known of their origin, although it's they believed to originate from Mongolia via China. The theory being these horses were introduced by migrations people from Southern China. Into what is now currently Northern Vietnam, after the Mongol conquest of Jin China (1211–1234).

Ngua Noi, also sometimes known as Hmong horse, are species indigenous in Vietnam. Little is known of their origin, although it's they believed to originate from Mongolia via China. The theory being these  horses were introduced by migrations people from Southern China. Into what is now currently Northern Vietnam, after the Mongol conquest of Jin China (1211–1234).
A domesticated Ngua Noi, at Hue Imperial City

The breed is often referred to as a type of Asiatic pony, known for their short height and resistance to disease. Currently there is no formal breed registry for the species. Although their appearance is uniform, as with recognized breeds. Both male and female in general are similar in overall size. Male horses averages 1.10 m (3.60 ft) tall at the shoulder and weighs 190 kg (419 lbs). While female horses average at 1.02 m (3.35 ft) tall and weigh 182 kg (401 lbs).


Broadly speaking Ngua Noi can be divided into wild and domesticated versions. Domesticated Ngua Noi are usually found in rural Vietnam as work animals. They're capable of carrying an average of 50 kg (110 lb) over 30-50 km (18.6-31 mi), making them highly prized. Particularly in the remote mountainous areas of northern Vietnam, which the Hmong people inhabit. This cultural association is why Ngua Noi are alternately called "Hmong horse".


In regard to wild Ngua Noi, while wild populations have historically existed. The societal disruption caused by the First Indochina War (1946-1954) and Second Indochina/Vietnam War (1955-1975). Lead to a notable increase wild populations of Ngua Noi. These wild populations are quite similar to the mustangs of the western United States.


Although while wild Ngua Noi populations have since shrunk, in the post-war era. Demand for domesticated Ngua Noi has increased, due to tourism. It should be noted, that prior to French colonial rule. Horses were relatively rare in the southern Vietnam, being viewed as an animal of elite status. Horses are often seen as tomb guardians, at the burial sites of Vietnamese Emperors.

In a strange turn of history, these once "elite" animals have since become associated with the urban working class. As former rural workers try making a living, by proving rides to tourist. While somewhat diminishing, from the their original cultural symbolism. The use of Ngua Noi in tourism has brought awareness to breed. Thus safeguarding it from extinction, as Vietnam transitions away from a rural/agrarian economy.


Ultraviolet Gallery

“Southern Dồng” (1972) Gallery

(Gallery will be updated, as new banknotes are databased)

Additional Notes

  • The note's dimensions are 146 mm × 73 mm or 5.75 in × 2.87 in.

  • This banknote is wider and shorter, than a standard US Dollar (6.14 x 2.61 in)

  • It's highly recommended to use large protective sleeves, when preserving this note.

  • Standard size (top-opening) protective sleeves will leave a small area uncovered.

  • In November 1975, the "Palace of Independence" was renamed "Reunification Hall".

13 views0 comments