Penguin Nation, Len Hill And His Bird Sanctuary: 50 Pence (Jason Islands, 1979)-Article

Updated: Dec 2, 2021

This private banknote represents the 1st denomination of the Jason Islands Pound. In March 1970, wealthy naturalist Len W. Hill (1912-1981) purchased the Jason Islands as a penguin sanctuary. Sometime in the late 1970s (precise date unknown), he began issuing collectable private banknotes. In an effort to raise money for his conservation efforts.

These private banknotes were color-coded and featured illustration of his favorite penguins. The observe of this particular note features a Humboldt Penguin. As with all note of the series, a portrait of Len Hill is featured across the penguin.


The observe relatively simple, owning to its voucher nature. It features many standard decorations and embellishments seen in traditional European banknotes. The note's issuing body the "Jason Islands" is displayed on the header, in an ornate frame. While it's "Fifty Pence" value is framed below, which is reinforced by additional "50P"s located on the note's corners.

At the note's center is a yellow-gold strip, featuring Len Hill's signature, as sanctuary administrator. These is flanked by a portrait of Len Hill (right) and an illustration of a Humboldt Penguin (left). Both of these images are feature vine-like decorative framing, above and below.

A keen eye will notice the center yellow-gold strip, features fine vertical waving lines. This is in contrast to the green strips, flanking the portrait and illustration. Which feature horizonal lines, as opposed to vertical. Notably the far right strip features a serial number (6H 4487). It's located near the lower right and it's relatively noticeable. Due to the note's yellowish-beige underprint.


The reverse features an illustration of Grand Jason Island, the largest of the Jason Islands. Extending from the illustration is a title "Fifty Pence Jason Islands". Below in fine text is an expiration date, "(v)alid until 31 December 1979". Declaring when this voucher/private banknote lost it's original value.

The illustration of Grand Jason Island, features vine-like decorations above and below. This obscures a white strip, featuring curving vertical lines. Which contrasts to the a large guilloché-based pattern, which covers the majority of the reverse center. The exception being the before-mentioned details and flower illustrations above the tile.

Just as the observe, the note's value is repeated as "50P" at each corner. A notable difference being the backing of these corners. utilizing dark green. Which matches the remainder of the reverse art. As opposed to the yellowish-beige backing seen on the observe. The remaining borders match those of the observe.

Jason Islands Pound Galley

(Gallery contains only banknotes within the database)


Additional Notes

  • This note is shorter and slightly taller than a standard US Dollar.

  • The preferred method to preserve this note, are large size protective sleeve, cut to size.

  • After Len Hill's death in 1981, the Jason Islands were purchased by Michael and Judy Steinhardt.

  • Michael and Judy Steinhardt donated the islands to the Wildlife Conservation Society.

  • No additional private notes were produced after the original 1979 Series.

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