Notes Of The Kwangtung Bank: 50 Cents (Republic of China, 1949)-Article

Updated: Feb 26

This small Chinese banknote represents the 4th denomination of the Yuan (Series 1949). It was issued by the Kwangtung Provincial Bank, in the Nationalist-controlled Republic of China. The bank began issuing banknotes shortly after the 1911 Revolution. Which successfully overthrew the Qing Dynasty (1636-1912), leading to the creation of Republic of China (1912–1949).

The Series 1949 represented the last notes issued by Kwangtung Bank, during the Nationalist era. As the Mao Zedong's Communist Party forces were victorious. During the second phase of the Chinese Civil War (1946-1949). Which lead to the Nationalist exodus to the island of Taiwan. Where Nationalist General Chiang Kai-shek formed a new Republic of China government.

Notably the Nationalist Yuan/Dollar was sub-divided in to 100 cents. Although despite this, the Hanzi (Chinese characters) on these notes continue to use traditional units. Such as 10 cents being expressed as 1 Jiao (角), with 10 Jiao equal to 1 Yuan (元). While 1 Cent being expressed as 1 Fēn (分), equal to 1/10th Jiao. This naming practice was continue with the Taiwan Dollar.


The observe features a portrait of Kuomintang (Nationalist) leader Sun Yat-sen (1866-1925). Above the portrait is the Hanzi "行銀省東廣", this translates to "Guangdong Provincial Bank". Notably the period use of "Kwangtung" as opposed to the more accurate "Guangdong". Was due to the older Wade-Giles system of translation, instead of the modern Pinyin system.

Besides the portrait are a pair of ornate backings, they feature the Hanzi "五角". This represents the note's "Five Jiao" value, equal to 50 cents. Above and below the right backing, is the note's serial number (146935) and batch letters (AB). The note's beforementioned (trans.) "Five Jiao" value is repeated on the corners. These corners features guilloché backings, which match neighboring border.

The remaining Hanzi features some key details. Below the batch letters is "年八十三國民華中", it's Hanzi are read left to right. It translates to "Thirty-eight years of the Republic of China" (1949), thus serving as a print date.

While the footer reads "司公限有份股局書華中", often translated as "Chung Hua Book CO., LTD.". Although notably "Chung Hua" in pinyin is "Zhōnghuá". Therefor a more proper translated can be "China Book co., ltd". This translation issue seems to be a common issue with some popular sources.

As the Hanzi on the far left and right are often bizarrely translated as "Ocean Ticket". Although contextually a less bizarre translation can be made. As the charters can be individually be used for that purpose. Individually the charters translate as 大 (Dà/Big), 洋 (Yáng /Foreign), and 票 (Piào/Ticket). When combine the first two Hanzi become "Dàyáng", representing "Ocean".

As the vast "Ocean" represents the "Foreign", and last character "Ticket". It can be assumed to represent a note, made in the foreign (western) style. Thus possibly creating the less poetic translation of simply "Banknote". A form of an exchangeable ticket, made in the western-style.


The reverse depicts the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, Guangzhou. Unlike the observe the text is basic and printed in English. The header repeat the note's issuer, text value and print date. Besides the print date is a pair signatures, representing Kwangtung Bank officials. The note's printer "Chung Hua Book CO., LTD." is listed at the footer.

Surrounding the image of the Memorial Hall, is a decorative guilloché frame. A pair of large number "50"s can be seen resting on floral guilloché patterns. The main patterns lay over three additional overlapping patterns, forming the majority of the frame.


Additional Notes

  • This note's dimensions are 104 x 52 mm or 4.09 x 2.05 in, smaller than a US Dollar.

  • The preferable method to preserve this note are side-opening sleeves, cut to size.

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