The Spider Monkeys of Guatopo: 100 Bolívar Soberano (Venezuela, 2018)-Founder's Article

Updated: Nov 13, 2021

This Venezuelan banknote represent the 6th denomination of the Bolívar Soberano Series (2018). Bolívars are have been deemed essentially worthless, even within their home country. As rampant hyperinflation has caused all denominations, with the exception of the 500 Bolívares to be retired.

Despite this, Venezuelan Bolívars have found a new home. As an easily affordable item for beginning/young collectors. These collectors are often become attracted, by the colorful illustrations of Venezuela’s wildlife. Often creating decorative displays, with the reverse side out. In honor of that tradition this note will be reviewed reverse first.


The Reverse features the endangered Brown spider monkey, also known as the Northern Spider Monkey (Mono Araña del Norte) in Spanish. Which inhabits the northwestern Venezuela jungles, along with the northern portions of neighboring Colombia. With an isolated population living in Guatopo National Park.

Brown spider monkeys are lightly built and weigh between 7.5-9 kg (17-20 lbs). They have an average life span of 27 years in the wild. Which can be extended by more than 10 years, when in captivity. And are known to occasional have pale blue eyes, an unusual feature for spider monkeys.

They use their 75 cm (30 in) long prehensile tails to help navigate the old growth forest canopies, which they spend the majority of their time. Their tails exceed their 50 cm (20 in) overall body length by 1/3, functioning as a “5th limb”. They only descend to the forest floor to drink water and to eat soil/clay. The current hypothesize is that the spider monkey are obtaining minerals from the soil. In order to maintain the pH-balance, in their digestive system.

Parque Nacional Guatopo

The note's background is an illustration of Guatopo National Park. Founded on March 28, 1958, under Official Gazette No. 26230. The park is bordered by the Venezuelan Coastal Range to the north. And the Piedemonte Llanero (plains) to it's south.

Guatopo is also known as the "Forgotten National Park". Due to the park being one of less visited and developed, of the Venezuelan national park system. Its mountainous terrain makes it well suited to preserving endangered wildlife, including an isolated pocket of Brown Spider Monkey. Who travel around the park, using the cedar, balsa, and bucare trees. That form much of the forest canopy, which can exceed 21m (70 ft) high.

The park offers recreational activities such as camping, hiking, and swimming. Portions of the park are covered with boardwalks and stone trails. To help visitors more easily travel to attractions, such as park's famous waterfalls and the restored haciendas (colonial estates). Popular swimming spots include Agua Blanca (White Water) and the Santa Crucita lagoon. Endangered Giant River Otters are occasionally spotted swimming in Santa Crucita. The otters are known locally as perro de agua (water dogs) and can reach up to 1.7 m (5.6 ft) in length.


The vertical observe features Venezuelan soldier Ezequiel Zamora (1817-1860). Who lead Venezuelan Federalists forces during the Federal War (1859-1863). Zamora was killed during the early phase of the war. His remains rest in the Panteón Nacional de Venezuela (National Pantheon of Venezuela), in Caracas.


Despite the low value of the Bolívar Soberano, the series utilizes numerous security measures. Both in visible and virtually hidden. The Soberano series alternates between standard and window security strips, throughout it's denominations. This denomination utilizes an embeded security strip. The strip faintly displays "BCV" in sequence, when seen from the reverse. The "bar" (with 5 lines) above the (red) serial number, is a denomination designator. Which alternates between the denominations within the series. There is a 2-color light puzzle/registration element, below the (black) serial number. Light blue (observe) and violet (reverse) segments merge, when back lit. Creating a Oncilla and star.


The near entirety of the note is covered in alternating lines and micro-print patterns. Where present the micro-text reads “BCV100”, in sequence. The pattern repeats on all denominations, with the exception of the number (listed denomination). Below the observe's portrait is a micro-print pattern signature. This signature is unique to the 100 Bolivar denomination.


The watermark features Simón Bolívar, as seen on the 500 Bolívar Soberano note's observe. Below the watermark is BCV, in electro-typed text. Unfortunately the color pallet and erratic micro-print lines makes capturing the watermark difficult. Although it can be readily seen, in physical copies of the note.

Ultraviolet Gallery

Additional Notes

  • This note's dimensions are 156 × 69 mm (6.14 x 2.72in), standard for Bolívar Soberano Series.

  • Zamora received only a basic formal education. Although he managed to become educated. Through the various friends and acquaintances, he met throughout his life.

  • Zamora received informal political training from his brother-in-law John Caspers.

  • Through his friendship with lawyer José Manuel García. Zamora learned modern philosophy and the foundations of Roman law.

  • The Federation's Monument, at the National Pantheon memorializes those killed during the Federal War (1859-1863)

  • In 2001, the Venezuelan government enacted Mission Zamora. A land reform and redistribution program, aimed increasing the land holding of small farmers.

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