Notes Of The Caracazo's Wake: 5 Bolivar (Venezuela, 1989)-Article

Updated: Jan 16

This Venezuelan banknote represents the 3rd 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 portraits of Generals Simon Bolivar (left) and Francisco de Miranda (right). Francisco de Miranda served as mentor to Simon Bolivar, who liberated 6 nations from the Spanish Empire. Hence Bolivar is often referred to as "Liberator", the Liberator. Both Bolivar's and Miranda's remains are stored at the National Pantheon of Venezuela.

The header above list the note's issuer as the "National Bank of Venezuela". The footer translates to, "Five Bolivars" and "Payment to the bearer, in the (central) bank offices". The payment in question are US Dollars, which the Bolivar was pegged to.

Notably this note features a dual serial number, a common feature seen in De La Rue banknotes. The serial numbers read "C31516796", located below the portraits. Between these portraits are the signatures of the Bank President and Vice President. In addition to a "September 21 1989" print date, earlier than other notes within the series.

The note's 5 Bolivar value is reinforced by number "5"s on each of the observe corners. In addition to five number "5"s on the center underprint. One large number "5" forms the center for four smaller "5"s that surround it.


The reverse depicts the National Pantheon of Venezuela, in Caracas. This memorial was created in 1874, from the ruined Santísima Trinidad Church. It contains the heroes and heroines of Venezuela's history. The remains are interned to resemble a church service, with Simon Bolivar at the alter. The remaining heroes are placed along the aisles.

Besides the National Pantheon is the Venezuelan Coat of Arms (left) and a large number "5" on an ornate guilloché backing. The header above list the note's issuer as the "National Bank of Venezuela". While the footer below translates to, "Five Bolivars".

This Five Bolivar value is reinforced by number "5"s on the reverse corners. The guilloché backing of these corners match those of the note's borders.

1989 Series Bolivar

(Gallery includes all 1989 Series Bolivar banknotes)


Additional Notes

  • This note's dimensions are 156 x 69 mm or 6.14 x 2.72 in, larger 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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