Sandino, El Revolucionario Redux: 500,000 Córdoba (Nicaragua, 1987)-Article Variant

Updated: Mar 13

This Nicaraguan banknote represents the 3rd denomination of the First Córdoba (Series 1987). This special series of the First Córdoba features overprinted "stamps". These overprinted notes served as a stop-gap for the introduction of the Second Córdoba (dated 1985), in 1988. As rapid hyperinflation made the First Córdoba nearly worthless.

The overprinted stamp (in this case) revalues the note from 1,000 to 500,000 Córdobas. This revaluation is somewhat odd, as most new values were based on multiplying the original value. Such as "20" becoming "20,000" or "50" becoming "50,000". This odd revaluation is also seen with the following denomination. A 500 Córdoba note revalued to an impressive 1,000,000 Córdobas.

Notably inflation continued to worsen, leading to the introduction of Second Córdoba overprints. These overprinted Second Córdoba were issued in 2 series, in 1988 and 1990 respectively. Which were quickly made obsolete, by the 1991 adoption of the Third Córdoba (Córdoba Oro).


The observe features a portrait of revolutionary “General” Augusto César Sandino (1895-1934). Who inspired the creation of the FSLN (Sandinistas). To the lower right of the portait, Sandino is listed as "General A.C. Sandino". The tile of "General" in this case being honorary, as Sandino was commander of revolutionary forces. A watermark of Sandino appears opposite of the portrait.

Moving towards the notes center is the primary "stamp". Although difficult to make out, its Spanish text reads "500,000 Five Hundred Thousand". The original white text for "1,000 Córdobas" can be made out beneath. While the original "30 April 1985" and "11 June 1985" directive and resolution dates remain. They are superseded by the 17 and 18 November 1987 order, located at the upper left of the stamp.

The note's header reads the "Central Bank of Nicaragua", it rests above an intricate guilloché "spread eagle" pattern. Which itself lays on a diamond underprint. To the lower left of the header is an indicator this is a "Series G" note, being 1985 issue. There is a second indicator to the left of the portrait. Below the word "Nicaragua", is the note's serial number "163837244".

Notably this header serial number is the first of a dual-serial. The second serial number being located on the note's footer. Twin serial numbers were a hallmark of De La Rue printed notes of this period. Which is confirmed at the lower left, which reads "Thomas De La Rue And Company Limited".

Not all De La Rue printed banknotes explicitly state this. Although notes featuring similar appearing underprints, guilloché patterns, and dual serial numbers. Are more often than not, De La Rue printed notes. One may not notice the underprints seamless transition to light blue. Such work requires a great deal of skill, far beyond the level of most counterfeiters.

Returning to the footer, there are 3 separate signatures. They are the "Minister of Finance", the "Central Bank President", and "Central Bank Vice President". If one closely inspects the footer they will notice microprint. In addition to the footer relatively noticeably "chainmail" pattern, is the underprint's "scale" pattern. The watermark area also features microprint, in the form of angled lines.

As a final measure all refences to the note's original "1,000" Córdoba value have been overprinted. Although difficult to make out, the lower and upper right "1,000"s feature "BCN" stamps. BCN referring to the "Central Bank of Nicaragua". A third "BCN" is located on the lower right and significantly easier to read. As it's offset to the left, making it noticeable against the lighter background.


The reverse depicts Sandino's childhood home, in Niquinohomo. A refence to his humble background, as a son of an indigenous servant. While covered by a stamp, it reads "Casa Natal De Sandino", translated as "Sandino's Childhood Home". Such homes were typical of the indigenous and mestizo (people of mixed European/indigenous ancestry), who served the Spanish/American upper class.

At the note's center is a second large stamp, similar to the observe. It also reads "500,000 Five Hundred Thousand". The original white text for "1,000 Córdobas" can be made out beneath. Just as observe the header reads the "Central Bank of Nicaragua". Below is guilloche "spread eagle" pattern, although this time in multicolor.

This multicolor underprint is much more vibrant than the observe. Featuring a blue right and dark orange left, with olive green sections. Portions of this underprint pattern form a positive for a registration element/light puzzle. When properly backlit, unprinted section of the observe's "eagle" will become filled. Thus completing the observe's abstract pattern, by intermeshing the two.

Just as the observe all refences to the note's original "1,000" Córdoba value have been overprinted. Again using "BCN" stamps as references to the "Central Bank of Nicaragua". The only exception being the reverse features 4 stamps, as opposed to the observe. Which instead features a circular guilloché pattern on its upper right.

Ultraviolet Gallery

Size Comparison

A A Nicaraguan 500k Cordoba with US Dollar for scale.
A A Nicaraguan 500k Cordoba with US Dollar for scale.

Additional Notes

  • This note size is 156 x 67 mm or 6.14 x 2.64 in, similar to a standard US Dollar.

  • The preferred method to preserve this note are standard size protective sleeves.

  • The First Cordoba ISO 4217 code was NIO, it uses C$ as its official symbol.

  • The Second Cordoba is the only Cordoba to use a different ISO code, NIO.

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