Changes In Our Country’s Bank Note Denominations

How often should a country change the design of its bank notes? I am not a banker nor a currency expert to know the answer. I am just a plain occasional user of bank notes, that is if I get to earn some, but I notice that in the Philippines, new paper money designs are introduced every time the administration changes. The colors and images in each bill are almost always changed with the production of new bank notes. I wonder how much does our government spend on the new designs and the tools needed for such changes. I do not know how frequent the other countries change their bank notes but I observed and read that the design of the US dollars change at a much less frequency.

A few days ago, our President officially launched the new peso bills that will replace the old ones which will be demonetized in three to four years from now. The news is all over the web as most Filipino bloggers have them. The description of the changes are well-covered and you can google ‘new Philippine peso bills‘ if you wish to know them because this post does not intend to discuss them.

What I wish to share in this blog post is my observation on how the denominations of our bank notes evolved since the time I got aware of them. I first got to recognize our country’s paper money when its smallest denomination was five (PhP0.05) centavos only. I cannot remember the biggest denomination at that time maybe because I never got hold of one. No, it was not during the Second World War when the Japanese invaders of our country issued what was called later as Mickey Mouse money with denominations in thousands of pesos.

I lived most of my teen-age and young adult life with one-peso (PhP1.00) bill as the most common in circulation. That was the period when jeepney fare was only ten (PhP0.10) centavos for the first five (5) kilometers. It was only in the early 1980′s that the ten-peso to hundred-peso bills grew in circulation. From then on, inflation caused the twenty (PhP20.00) to be lowest peso bill with the one-thousand (PhP1,000.00) pesos as the highest denomination till today. I hope that it will remain at this level till kingdom come.