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Notes Of The Caracazo's Wake: 1 Bolivar (Venezuela, 1989)-Article

Updated: Jan 13, 2022

This small Venezuelan banknote represents the 1st denomination of the Bolivar (Series 1989). This short 3-denomination series featured banknotes in 1, 2, and 5 Bolivares values. All notes were produced by British printer De La Rue (London). Strangely these notes circulated alongside coins of the same value. Making their introduction somewhat questionable.

Another notably feature of this series, is the period which preceded it. Earlier that year was the Caracazo a week long series of violet riots and protest. In response to austerity measures introduced by the Venezuelan government. Leading to raising fuel and public transportation costs.


The observe features a large numbers "1", representing the note's 1 Bolivar value. Mirroring this number 1 is a bust of Simon Bolivar (1783-1830). The cultural-political hero of Venezuela and much of South America. As General Bolivar was responsible for liberating 6 different nations, from the Spanish Empire.

The header above list the note's issuer as the "National Bank of Venezuela". While the large footer text repeats the note's "One Bolivar" face value. Toward the right of this footer is the notes serial number, it reads "B05513301".

At the note's center are the signatures of the Bank President and Vice President. The statement below these signatures translates, "Payment to the bearer, in the (central) bank offices". The payment refered to are US Dollars, which the Bolivar was pegged to. Further below is a "October 5 1989" print date.

The observe underprint features repeating tiles. Each tiles contains "Bs1" inside, a short-hand allusion to the note's 1 Bolivar value. Notably the beforementioned large number "1" and Simon Bolivar bust rest on ornate guilloché patterns.


The reverse features the Venezuelan Coat of Arms and a large guilloché pattern. Between these two elements is the simple text "Un Bolivar". Representing the note's 1 Bolivar value, as reinforced by the number "1"s on note's corners. Each of these number "1"s are depicted in a false 3d style.

Similar to the observe, the reverse underprint features repeating tiles. Each tiles contains "Bs1" inside, a short-hand allusion to the note's 1 Bolivar value. The tiles are rotated by 90°, from left to right creating a simple yet appealing visually pattern.

1989 Series Bolivar

(Gallery includes all 1989 Series Bolivar banknotes)


Additional Notes

  • This note's dimensions are 115 x 55 mm or 4.53 x 2.17 in, smaller than a US Dollar.

  • This note was known locally by the nicknames "Tinoquito" and "Monopolio".

  • The name "Tinoquito" is a reference to the then Central Bank President, Pedro Tinoco.

  • The name "Monopolio" is a refence to the note's resemblance to Monopoly game money.

  • Bolivar coins of the period were produced by the Royal Canadian Mint and the United German Nickel Works.

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