N.C. writes: I have a bill I would like to know the value of. It has “10 customs gold units” on it with a serial number, printed in dark green ink on an off white background with red/green ink drawing on one side with picture of Chinese man, and has the Bank of China on it with signatures and date of Shanghai/1930….in good condition. Is this real currency, and could you tell me anything about it? Thanks.
The Republic of China “Shanghai Customs Gold Units” were originally used to pay customs payments and were in use from 1930 to 1948. They also circulated, along with other Chinese currency, as money. Most of the issues are printed vertically. There are many denominations, issues and signature varieties and many of the notes are fairly easy to acquire from dealers. Shanghai Customs Gold Unit currency can be collected as a mini-series. The issues are colorful but a bit boring, Sun Yat Sen and the Bank of China building is the theme on all of the notes.
Your note sounds like Pick #327, 1930 10 Customs Gold Units, Olive-grey (this issue was printed into the 1940’s with the same date). The collector value depends on the state of preservation (grade) and the signature combinations – anywhere from $1 to $40+. Interestingly, these earlier notes were printed by the American Bank Note Company.