Viet Nam
50 Dong - Click to enlarge 50,000 Dong - Click to enlarge 100,000 Dong - Click to enlarge 500,000 Dong - Click to enlarge
Issue: 50 Dong.

In mid 2001 a 50 Dong polymer note was issued by the State Bank of Viet Nam to commemorative its 50th anniversary. I am currently unsure when this note first became available as supplies were tightly held by Bank and Government officials for several months and those changing hands did so at a very large premium. It probably appeared in May or June.

50 Dong is a very small amount of money although it would seem that the denomination was chosen to match its commemorative characteristics - at the time of issue the exchange rate was 15,000 Dong to One US Dollar. As such, this is not a circulating note, but a legal tender packaged presentation issue.

For several months, little was known of this issue outside Viet Nam and very limited supplies appeared on the international market at the Hong Kong International Coin Convention in August / September 2001, perhaps for the first time. Initially it sold at a considerable premium with prices of about $US50 being received on e-bay for a number of weeks thereafter.

Eventually supplies became readily available in November 2001 and a sensible price has been established albeit still at a considerable premium over face. There is, of course, a cost for the packaging. Compared with some packaged issues the gap between face value and price is not unreasonable.

This note was printed in Viet Nam by the State Bank's security printing works using Guardian polymer substrate supplied in a press ready state by Securency Pty Ltd. As stated, it comes in a presentation folder. The serial number font used (particularly for the prefix) is typical of that used for notes in Russia and many former Soviet bloc countries. It is understood that printing equipment was acquired from Russia; some earlier paper issues were printed in Moscow.

It is understood that notes presented to Bank and Government officials also came with an envelope for the folder. Those appearing on the market now tend not to have that envelope. A premium is charged by the Vietnamese suppliers for the envelope; most external distributors do not purchase it.

The State Bank has announced that this polymer note is the forerunner of a new series of banknotes. This may or may not mean that issued polymer notes will follow. It is not specific nor is any further indication given as to timing and issue. Should developments occur, they will be featured in the Market Watch segment of this website.

To add to the Australian flavour, the folder shows an image of the Friendship Bridge linking Cambodia, Laos and Viet Nam. This bridge was partially funded by Australian Government aid.

Viet Nam - P New - Front - 50 Dong
Viet Nam - P New - Front - 50 Dong
Viet Nam - P New - Back - 50 Dong
Viet Nam - P New - Back - 50 Dong

Ho Chi Minh, whose portrait appears on most of Viet Nam's notes, features predominantly on the front of this one. At centre left is a Vietnamese bronze drum which, in the words of the State Bank, "symbolises 4,000 years of formation and struggle to defend the country".

The main office of the State Bank at 47-49 Ly Thai Street, Hanoi, is the main feature on the back of the note.

Security Features:

Those discrete to this note are:
(a) Two clear windows. One contains an image of the offices of the State Bank in Hanoi with the dates 1951 and 2001 across the top and "50 NAM" below. The second at lower right in the shape of a flower blossom contains the numeral "50".
(b) Micro-printing behind the portrait of Ho Chi Minh in a wavy pattern with the words "50 Years State Bank of Viet Nam" and "NHVN".
(c) Latent image of the Lac bird.
(d) Intricate line drawings.
(e) Anti -copying and scanning features.
(f) Serial numbers fluoresce under ultra-violet light along with minor background patterns.

"NGAN HANG NHA NUOC VIET NAM" - "State Bank of Viet Nam"
"NAM MUOI DONG" - "Fifty Dong"
"THONG DOC NGAN HANG NHA NUOC VIET NAM" - "General Director of State Bank of Viet Nam"
Catalogue No:SCWPM PNew.
Precise Date of Issue:Not known. Thought to be available to officials only in May / June 2001.
Numbers Issued:Not known.
Prefix Range:Only NH prefix has been observed.
NH presumably stands for Ngan Hang or State Bank.
Signature:General Director of the State Bank - M/s Le Duc Thuy.
Dimensions:165 x 82 mm.
Printer:State Bank of Viet Nam on Guardian polymer substrate acquired from Australia.
Specimens:None observed.
Replacements:None known.
Country Ranking:Viet Nam is the 18th country to issue an NPA based polymer note.
Printing Method:Lithograph.
Sheet Size:Not known.
Product:All notes are presentation notes issued in folders.
Some folders are with envelopes.

New polymer 50,000 Dong and a 500,000 Dong note released.

Viet Nam issued its first polymer banknote, a 50 Dong, in mid 2001 as a presentation item on the 50th anniversary of the foundation of the State Bank of Viet Nam, its central bank. This is now followed up with the issue on 17 December 2003 of two circulating notes, a 50,000 Dong and a 500,000 Dong.

Viet Nam’s currency is undergoing some changes with new coins replacing some lower denomination notes. The 500,000 Dong is a new denomination and the 50,000 Dong a new design. Word has it that a 20,000 Dong polymer will issue later in the year. Viet Nam’s highest denomination was the 100,000 Dong and it will be interesting to see if it issues in polymer.

Since the Democratic Republic of Viet Nam was proclaimed in 1945 Ho Chi Minh has appeared on virtually all note issues.

Ho Chi Minh was born Nguyen Tat Thanh in May 1890 in Kim Lien, a village in the central province of Annam. For a short time he attended school in Hue. He travelled to Europe in 1911 living in London and Paris. After the Great War, he was a founding member of the French Communist Party and in the early 1920’s he travelled to Moscow for training. In 1924 he settled in Canton in China championing the Communist cause. From time to time he fell foul of the authorities with brief terms of imprisonment in China and in Hong Kong before another stint in Moscow.

Forming the Indochinese Communist Party in the 1930’s he worked for independence of Viet Nam from its French masters. During World War II he fought the Japanese occupiers and on Japan’s surrender Ho Chi Minh proclaimed the Democratic Republic of Viet Nam in Hanoi with himself as President.

The French, returning after the War, did not recognise it and for the next 8 years Ho Chi Minh (the “Enlightener”) as Nguyen Tat Thanh was now known, waged guerrilla warfare against them. Seventy years of French rule ended with their defeat at Dien Bien Phu in 1954. Subsequent peace talks in Geneva led to the division of the country between North and South for the next 20 years until unification following withdrawal of support for South Viet Nam by the USA and others.

The blue and pink 500,000 Dong measures 152 x 65 mm. Ho Chi Minh’s portrait is to the right and the nation’s seal is just left of centre. On the back is his birth place in Kim Lien village.

The front of the rose coloured 50,000 Dong is very similar. Buildings in the strategically placed old capital of Hue is depicted on the back. Similar to the Australian approach, both notes are the same depth however the 50,000 Dong is shorter by some 12mm.

These notes are loaded with security features. Ho Chi Minh’s portrait is also shown in latent image when viewed from the front and the back of both notes. Perfect registration devices, see through windows, simulated security threads, micro printing, fluorescent inks and see through windows are employed.

Serial numbers have the two alpha characters followed by an abbreviated year and a six digit serial number which has become a hall mark of polymer issues. For each denomination, the serial number to the left is vertical, is printed in red ink and is of uniform size whereas the one to the right is horizontal, is printed in black ink and its digits are of ascending size.

Initial quantities of these notes were printed by Note Printing Australia in Melbourne. Subsequent printings were done in Viet Nam by the printing works operated by the State under a technology transfer and training arrangement with PolyTeQ Services.

Viet Nam - P119 - Front - 50.000 Dong
Viet Nam - Front - 50.000 Dong
Viet Nam - P119 - Back - 50.000 Dong
Viet Nam - Back- 50.000 Dong

Viet Nam - P120 - Front - 500.000 Dong
Viet Nam - Front - 500.000 Dong
Viet Nam - P120 - Back - 500.000 Dong
Viet Nam - Back- 500.000 Dong

New polymer 100,000 Dong note released.

On 1 September 2004 the State Bank of Viet Nam issued its third circulating polymer note and its fourth polymer overall (a presentation 50 Dong was issued in 2001). This latest release is 100000 D and complements the 50000 and 500000 D which appeared on 17 December 2003.

For the paper series, 100000 D was the highest denomination. This polymer is a new design and is consistent with the 17 December releases in style.

As for all Viet Nam issues Ho Chi Minh appears on the front. He needs little introduction to most readers having lead the Vietnamese in their struggle for independence from the French in the immediate post World War II period (and against the Japanese during their occupation from 1941 to 1945) culminating in the establishment of the Democratic Republic of Viet Nam (North Viet Nam) in 1954.

As President of North Viet Nam he headed the fight against the Democratic Republic of Viet Nam (South Viet Nam) and its allies which culminated in its defeat in 1975 and unification with the North to form the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam (1976). Born as Nguyen Tat Thanh a committed nationalist and communist, Ho Chi Minh (the Enlightner) died in 1969.

The national Coat of Arms also features on the front. There is much fine line engraving some of which appears to create traditional designs.

Van Mieu, the ancient Temple of Literature, adjacent to Quoc Tu Giam University, in Hanoi is represented on the back. Established in 1070, Van Mieu is of cultural and historical significance and over the centuries has taught Confucian ways and practices. It is the most important temple in Viet Nam. Both it and Quoc Tu Giam (established 1076) have been important educational institutions; the Vietnamese royal family was educated there through the ages. Both are currently undergoing restoration.

A subdued image of Ho Chi Minh forms a watermark like image to the left of the note. Another image, perhaps of a flower, appears below Ho. Beside the panel is a curved line with a repetition of “NHNNVN 100000” in small print representing Ngan Hang Nha Nuoc Viet Nam or State Bank of Viet Nam and of course the denomination numeral. “NHNNVN”, “NH” and “100000” feature elsewhere on the note in micro printing.

There are two see through windows. A small one possibly representing a flower and a large one to the right in what appears to be in the design of an artist’s palette and two brushes. An “embossed” 100000 denomination numeral appears within the larger window.

Each of the three current polymers, use the NPA style numbering system incorporating the abbreviated date.

Neither this note nor the 17 December issues are signed. This is not at all unusual for socialist countries although the polymer 50 D presentation note issued for the 50 th anniversary of the State Bank was signed by the Bank President Le Duc Thuy.

It is understood that this note is printed by the State Bank’s printing works on ready to print polymer substrate supplied by Securency, a joint venture between the Reserve Bank of Australia and the Belgium group UCB. For the 50000 and possibly the 500000 D initial quantities of the notes were printed by NPA and the balance in Viet Nam; technical support was provided by PolyTeq. It is possible a similar arrangement was in place for the 100000 D although by this time the State Bank printers may have been sufficiently familiar with the process to go it alone.

The 100000 D is predominantly bright green however there does seem scope for confusion with the pale blue 500000 D after some circulation particularly as the Australian system of dimensions is used. Both notes are the same height but the 500000 D is just 6mm longer – and the 50000 D 6 mm shorter.

Viet Nam - P New - Front - 100,000 Dong
Viet Nam - P New - Front - 100000 Dong
Viet Nam - P New - Back - 100,000 Dong
Viet Nam - P New - Back - 100000 Dong