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The Elusive Stags Of Timor: 500 Rupiah (Indonesia, 1988)-Article

Updated: Nov 13, 2021

This colorful Indonesian banknote represents the 2nd denomination of the Series 5. The Series 5 New Rupiah was first issued on 1 February 1985. It was replaced by the Series 6 New Rupiah, on 28 December 1992. The Series 5 was finally withdrawn from circulation, on 25 September 1995.

The Series 5 was notable for re-introducing the 100 (New) Rupiah note. A denomination which was entirely absent from previous Series 4. Instead the Series 3 100 Rupiah note (issued in 1977) remained in circulation, until the introduction of the Series 5. The 100 Rupiah denomination as a whole, was discontinued on 30 November 2006.


The observe features an elusive Timor Rusa stag, a subspecies of the Javan Rusa. The stag is backed by a forest, to lower right is the species scientific name "CERVUS TIMORENSIS". At the observe's center is a colorful design, overprinted by "BANK INDONESIA" and "1988 DIREKSI". Signifying the note's issuing body and print date. Opposite of the stag is a large watermark area.

At the note's footer is the note's value in Indonesian, "Lima Ratus Rupiah" or 500 Rupiah. The footer's background is decorated by overlapping guilloché patterns. Above the footer is a thin strip with micro-text, it reads "Bank Indonesia" in sequence. To the lower right is the text "Perum Percetakan Uang Ri Imp.", the note's printer. More commonly known by the name Perum Peruri.

Various additional guilloché patterns and other embellishments are featured throughout the observe.

Each observe corner features a different design. The upper left list the note's "500" Rupiah value, with a hanging ornament. While the lower right "500" is larger, with an outline and backed by guilloché engraving. There is a Bank Indonesia logo on a floral guilloché, located on the lower left. To the upper right is the National Emblem of Indonesia


The reverse depicts the Cirebon branch building, of the Bank of Indonesia. As listed by the header and Indonesian language text immediately below. Most major cities within Indonesia host a their own banking branch. Further below is a legal warning to potential counterfeiters and money launders. Threating imprisonment to offenders.

Just as the observe, the reverse is colorful with various patterns. If one looks closely they will notice small unprinted section within the pattern. This colorful pattern is a form of registration element/light puzzle. When backlit the pattern is completed, low quality forgeries will often lack this feature. Or at minimum will feature misaligned elements.

The reverse features twin serial numbers, "XEC331879". Located to the left and upper of the bank building. As the serial number is overprinted, it act as a minor anti-counterfeiter countermeasure. Amateur counterfeiters will often create single print copies, rather then layered printing. In addition to relying on a single master copy, leading to repeat serial numbers. As a final measure the serial numbers are printed in ultraviolet sensitive ink. (SEE: Ultraviolet Gallery)

Each reverse corner features a different design. The upper left corner lists of the note's "500" rupiah value in large print, backed by stylized vines. While the "500" on the lower right is more modest in size, with no embellishments. The lower left features a lime green "starburst" guilloché pattern, with blue to red streamers. To the upper right is a stylized bird's head, inspired by traditional woodwork.


The watermark features a portrait Indonesian Army commander General Ahmad Yani (1922 -1965). Who formed and commanded a battalion, during the Indonesian War of Independence (1945-1949). He was later assassinated during a kidnapping attempt. During the 30 September Movement's failed coup attempt, on 1 October 1965.

The Elusive Island Deer

The Javan Rusa is a species of Asiatic deer, it's also known as the Sunda Sambar. Despite it's common name, Javan Rusa are divided into 7 different sub-species. These sub-species are divided amongst the Indonesian archipelago's various island. Their ancestors originated from the Asian mainland and became isolated due rising sea levels, which flood much of ancient Sundaland.

Similar to most Rusa species, Javan Rusa have fur varying from light brown to black. With longer and coarser fur along their chest. The fur along their backs and tails is a dark brown/black shade. While the fur along their inner legs is noticeably lighter. There's slight color variation between individual deer, with some lighter or darker than average.

Male (stag) Javan Rusa are larger then females, weighing an average of 152 kg (335lb) and 74 kg (163 lb) respectively. Males can be easily identified by their distinctive antlers and darker fur. Both males and females have wide oval-shaped ears, providing them acute hearing.

This hearing and their cautious nature, is responsible for their elusive nature. When startled stags make a load honking sound, warning nearby heard members. Despite their elusive nature, Javan Rusa are highly social animals. Although hard to spot, they are rarely seen alone.

They can occasionally be seen feeding during the early morning and late afternoon. Feeding on grass, leaves, and fallen fruit. Strangely this diet provides most, if not all their required water. Meaning they don't have to risk attack at watering holes.

Their predators differs based on island, consisting of Javan Leopards, Dholes (Asiatic Wild Dog), Saltwater Crocodiles, and Komodo Dragons. Javan Leopards are entirely confined to the island of Java. While Komodo Dragons are confined to the islands of Komodo, Flores, and neighboring Rinca.

Javan Rusa are known to live between 15-20 years, reaching breeding age at 3-5 years. Rusa mate from July to August, the average liter size is between 1-2. They are born during spring and are fully weaned after 6-8 months.

Ultraviolet Gallery

Additional Notes

  • The notes dimensions are 140 × 68 mm or 5.51 x 2.67 in.

  • Javan Rusa were introduced to wider Indo-Pacific region by European colonialist.

  • Despite often being referred to as "dogs", dholes have fox-like features.

  • This example's lower-left UV serial number (reverse), shows signs of diming.

  • Inconsistent UV ink decay is not uncommon, even in relatively modern notes.

  • The reverse's UV ink has seeped into the observe, SEE: Ultraviolet Gallery.

  • Perum Peruri was established on 15 September 1971, serving both printer and mint roles.

  • Perum Peruri is short for, "Money Printing of the Republic of Indonesia Public Enterprise".

  • Perum Peruri was created, after a state merger of Perjetakan Kebajoran with Artha Yasa.

  • Artha Yasa served as the Indonesian state mint and Perjetakan Kebajoran as state printer.

  • The Perjetakan Kebajoran, also known as Perkeba, was established with Dutch assistance.

  • Since 2007, Perum Peruri has been the official printer of the Nepalese Rupee.

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