Two weeks ago, we featured Afghanistan’s Afghani banknotes, a colorful and historically rich currency that is a great addition for any foreign banknote collector. This week, we’re going to talk about the Chinese Renminbi, commonly known as the Yuan.
A little background info first
The official name of the currency of China is called the Renminbi, which when directly translated means, “[the] people’s currency.” Where it differentiates is that the “yuan” is actually the basic unit of measure for the renminbi, even though it is what the currency is referred to outside of China. The distinction between, “yuan” and “renminbi” is pretty much the same as the difference between “sterling” and “pound” in the UK.
History of The Renminbi
Throughout it’s long history China has used many different currencies. China was also the first country to use a fiat currency during the Yuan Dynasty. However, the yuan currency wouldn’t appear until the Republic of China era. During this time, the yuan was simply a denomination unit. Each currency was distinguished by a currency name such as the “gold yuan” and “silver yuan.”
Once the communist part gained control of large portions of northeast China in 1948 and ’49 they established the People’s Bank of China. This new bank then took over currency issued in communist controlled China. After the People’s Republic of China took control of the country the Renminbi was issued throughout the country.
This was the only currency used within the country for some time, however, it wasn’t the only currency to be used within mainland China. Fast forward to 1978, with the opening of the mainland Chinese economy, China began to use a dual-track currency system. The Renminbi was used domestically, and foreigners were forced to use foreign-exchange certificates, this was later abolished in the early 1990′s.
The Renminbi Today
Since it’s inception, the RMB has issued five different series. Today, the series has both banknotes and coins available for use and has even seen a few commemorative designs. One that stands out is the commemorative note from the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. A green 10 yuan note was issued featuring the “Bird’s Nest” on the front and a classic discus thrower along with other athletes on the back.
Well that’s it for this week’s currency spotlight. As always, Great American Coin company is a purveyor of numismatic collectibles, and like with all of our foreign currencies, we are selling them as collectibles only, and not on a speculative basis.