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The Barking Deer Of Vietnam: 200 Dong (South Vietnam, 1972)-Article

Updated: Jan 30, 2023

This South Vietnamese banknote represents the 3rd denomination of the final “Southern Dồng” Series (1972). The 1972 Series Dồng served as the final currency of the Republic of (South) Vietnam. The reverse art of this banknote series, features detailed illustrations of South Vietnam's wildlife. The note's were produced by world renown British printer, De La Rue London.

The “Southern Dồng” was replaced by the Việt Cộng issued "Southern Liberation" Dồng, in 1975. These transitional notes were issued during the closing phase of the Vietnam War (1973-1975). The “Southern Liberation" was the de-facto currency of South Vietnam. Until the merging of both North and South Vietnamese currencies, in 1978. (This note will be reviewed reverse first)


The reverse features a beautiful illustration (main art) of 3 Southern Red Muntjac, also known as Barking Deer. To the right the deer, is the note's watermark area. Small vertical microprint lines can seen extending from the watermark area toward the background of the main art. These lines seamlessly transition from "rose pink" to a red-beige shade. Further right is what seems to be part of a multicolor registration element.

It appears the peanut-shaped main art area is part of the note blank. This hypothesis is supported by the fact all denomination of the 1972 Series are color coded. In addition to being color coded, all denomination feature a unique underprint. This particular denomination features running deer outlines, refencing the main art. Color coding and stylized underprints were a hallmark of De La Rue notes of the period.

There is Vietnamese text above and to the lower right, of the main art. The header translates to the "State Bank of Vietnam". The lower right text translates to "Two Hundred Dồng". As supported by the number "200" located on the lower and upper right. While the subtext below the header threatens counterfeiters with "penal servitude", for copying and distributing counterfeit banknotes.

The upper right "200" is partially overprinted the before mentioned multicolor registration element. This registration element is overlaid by a branch with tea seeds. There is an additional number "200" at the upper left. Overprinted above this number is a twisting band of 11 bundled lines, ending in an additional solid number "200".

Full Translation

State Bank of Vietnam
Penal servitude for people who counterfeit banknotes, from the distributions of the State Bank of Vietnam.
Two Hundred Dồng


The observe depicts the Palace of Independence, the residence of the President of South Vietnam. The site serves as a landmark for the end of the Vietnam War (1955-1975). After a North Vietnamese Army (NVA) tank crash though the main gate, on the 30 April 1975. The text resembles that of the reverse, featuring "State Bank of Vietnam" and "Two Hundred Dồng". To the left of the "Palace of Independence" is the watermark area.

The observe features a mixed framing throughout much of the main art/watermark area. The far right is framed by a curved guilloché pattern. It's upper and lower right corners each feature a number "200", joined by loose bundles of lines. While the lower left feature a number "200" overprinted on an ornate frame, featuring chrysanthemums. Along the edge of the watermark area are are multicolor elements. Similar sections can be seen running along the bottom edge of the main art area.

Typical of De La Rue notes, the observe features dual serial numbers. These serial numbers are located above and to the lower left of the "Palace of Independence". Both serial numbers read "957368", although the upper number features the batch number (U2).

The Barking Deer of Vietnam

This illustration's male Muntjac lacks fangs and nose crest.
This illustration's Muntjac lack many of the species' distinctive features.

The Southern Red Muntjac, also known as "Barking Deer". Is a small and usual deer species native to South and Southeast Asia. They get their nickname from the "barking" sound they make, when they spot a predator. This barking can last up to over 1 hour, becoming more frequent the less visible the predator becomes. Notably this "bark" is higher pitched than the similar, but larger Water Deer.

Barking Deer amongst the smallest deer, with the average adult weighing only 3 to 35 kg (29 to 77 lbs). Their body length of varies from 89-135 cm (35-53 in), with a 13 to 23 cm (5.1 to 9.1 in) long tail. They are fairly short creatures, ranging from 40 to 65 cm (16 to 26 in) in height. Both male and female deer are covered by reddish-brown fur, with yellowish to white undersides.

The males deer on average are larger than the females. Males can be recognized by their short swept-back antlers. These antlers average 10 cm (3.9 in) long and grow from fur covered stalks called pedicels. Notably rather than growing antlers from fairly rounded skull, as seen in Europe and North/South America deer species. The pedicels are long bone extensions of the skull itself.

Similar to other South and East Asian deer species, male Barking Deer have a pair of curving fang-like tusks. These tusks are also seen on Musk and Water Deer species. They are used for self defense against attacking predators and can be folded backwards when eating. As the tusks are relatively loose, allowing them to be controlled by the deer's facial muscles.

Despite these similarities to other species of Asian deer. Barking Deer have some usually habits and features. This includes their omnivorous diet, which occasionally includes eggs and carrion. Although mostly includes grasses, bark. fruits, seeds, shoots, and low growing leaves. They are also known to feed on tea seeds in plantations, across their range. Because of this they're seen as a nuisance.

Similar to most deer species, Barking Deer have a scent gland below each eye. Males have larger glands than females and also feature a large unique gland on their forehead. This gland at first glance resembles a bony plate, although is much closer to pad-like skin. This pad is used to make territory, as males are often semi-solitary. Living spaced from each other, even when part of a herd.

Female Barking Deer act similarly, when raising their young. Creating a nest in dense undergrowth hidden from the herd and predators. Unlike most deer species Barking Deer have no specific mating season. The young are born after 6-7 months and quickly become independent. Establishing their own territory after only 6 months.

“Southern Dồng” (1972) Gallery

(Gallery features the complete“ Southern Dồng” Series 1972)


Additional Notes

  • The note's dimensions are 146 mm × 73 mm or 5.75 in × 2.87 in.

  • This banknote is wider and shorter, than a standard US Dollar (6.14 x 2.61 in)

  • It's highly recommended to use large protective sleeves, when preserving this note.

  • Standard size (top-opening) protective sleeves will leave a small area uncovered.

  • In November 1975, the "Palace of Independence" was renamed "Reunification Hall".

Photo Credits

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