Singapore Portrait Series: First Issue $100 Money-Bag

Port FirstIssue Set 1C

The first portrait series banknotes bearing the portrait of Encik Yusof bin Ishak, the first President of Singapore, was issued on 9 September 1999.

Did you realize this series of banknotes has been in circulation for 14 years (up to 2013)? I suspect it will be replaced in 2015 when Singapore celebrates 50 years of independence (don’t quote me, I’m just guessing).

Port FirstIssue Set 3C

People don’t usually talk about a current series because it is still in circulation- you get to touch and feel it everyday, so there is nothing special about it.

But in fact, the Yusof Ishak series has gone through substantial changes in the last 14 years. It has gone through four signature changes, starting from (1) Hu Tsu Tau, (2) Goh Chok Tong, (2) Lee Hsien Loong to (4) Tharman Shanmugaratnam.

The banknotes bearing the signature of Hu Tsu Tau (HTT) were issued by the Board of Commissioners of Currency, Singapore (BCCS). When BCCS was merged into MAS and MAS became the banknote issuing authority, the banknotes started to bear the signature of Goh Chok Tong, as Chairman of MAS.

The most important physical changes within these 14 years and probably even in the history of Singapore’s currency has to be moving from paper to PLASTIC.

Do you know which are the banknotes that are in plastic; when did they become plastic?

For my younger audience, this is specially for you: the first issue of the portrait series (all paper), in a $100 money bag.

Port FirstIssue Set 1C

Sealed in a polymer bag is a $100 worth of banknotes: five $2, two $5, three $10 and one $50.

OAA is the prefix of the serial number for the first print. Notes of the same value found in the bag are in running numbers (see first photo above).

The reverse of the money bag clearly indicates this money bag comes from POSB and it has a BCCS sticker marked $100.

Port FirstIssue Set 4C

All notes in paper, bearing the signature of HTT as Chairman of BCCS. Enhanced security features include: kinegram, asymmetrical serial numbers, and latent image.

Q: What do you see in the kinegram?

Port FirstIssue Set 5C

Back of the notes featuring a stardust security thread.

So how many money bags were exchanged to the public in 1999? Are these $100 money bags rare? Because I’ve never seen any of them around. Do you own one of this money bag and are they currently being sold as collectibles?

If you know the answers to any of my questions, tell us on our Facebook page.

In my next post, I will be sharing with you some of the special features of the first issue I noted under high magnification. Surprise, surprise! Stay tuned. Join us on Facebook.

by Russell Cheong

owner & author of

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