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Date Pick# Denomination Observations Obverse Reverse
1960 876 5 Yuan  
1990 884b 1 Yuan  
Obverse Design: Two Youths
Reverse Design: Great Wall
1980 886 5 Yuan  
Obverse Design: Two people
Reverse Design: River between mountains
1980 887 10 Yuan  
Obverse Design: Two people
Reverse Design: Mountains
1990 888 50 Yuan  
Obverse Design: An intellectual, a farmer, and an industrial worker
Reverse Design: Waterfalls
1990 889 100 Yuan  
Obverse Design:  Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai, Liu Shaoqi, and Zhu De
Reverse Design:  Mountains
1999 891 50 Yuan  
1999 895 1 Yuan  
Obverse Design: Mao Zedong
Reverse Design: Three Pools Mirroring the Moon at West Lake
1999 897 5 Yuan  
Obverse Design: Mao Zedong
Reverse Design: Mount Tai
1999 898 10 Yuan  
Obverse Design: Mao Zedong
Reverse Design: Three Gorges of the Yangtze River
1999 900 50 Yuan  
Obverse Design: Mao Zedong
Reverse Design: Potala Palace in Tibet
1999 901 100 Yuan  
Obverse Design: Mao Zedong
Reverse Design: Great Hall of the People
2000 902 100 Yuan  
2005 903 5 Yuan  
Obverse Design: Mao Zedong
Reverse Design: Mount Tai
2005 904 10 Yuan  
Obverse Design: Mao Zedong
Reverse Design: Three Gorges of the Yangtze River
2005 905 20 Yuan  
Obverse Design: Mao Zedong
Reverse Design: Scenery of Guilin

Foreign Exchange Certificates

1979 FX3 1 Yuan  
1979 FX5 10 Yuan  

The history of the Chinese Yuan
China was never united monetarily prior to the second half of the twentieth century. Prior to this many different locally issued currencies and currency systems were in use in China. Prior to 1948 banks, local government and private companies were free to issue their own banknotes. In 1948 The Bank of Central China, the Bank of Peihai and the Bank of Shansi, Chahar and Hopeh were consolidated to create the People’s Bank of China, which became the sole banknote issuing authority in China.

 The current currency the Yuan Renminbi was first issued shortly before the takeover of mainland China by the communists in 1949. One of the first problems the new communist government faced was to end the hyperinflation and the currency confusion which had been plaguing China since the end of Chinese nationalist rule. In 1955 the currency was revalued at a rate of 1 new Yuan to 10,000 old Yuan.

During the time of the centrally-planned economy the value of the Yuan-Renminbi was set unrealistically against other foreign currencies and very strict currency exchange controls were put into place. When the Chinese economy opened in 1978 a dual track currency system was instituted, the Yuan-Renminbi was inconvertible and usable only domestically. Foreigners coming to China were forced to use foreign exchange certificates which were only useable in certain shops but foreigners had the ability to reconvert their unused foreign exchange certificates back into hard currency.  The unrealistic exchange rates and strict rules set by the government remained in force which created let to a huge black market for foreign currencies.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Chinese government worked to make the Yuan-Renminbi more convertible, through the use of exchange centers, the exchange rate was brought to realistic levels and the dual track currency system was abolished.  The use of foreign exchange certificates has also been abolished.

The Chinese Yuan Renminbi’s ISO 4217 code is CNY although it is also equally common to be written as RMB by the international community. Since the sales tax now in China is included into the prices, the fen and jiao have become increasingly unnecessary. Retailers in China seem to prefer to avoid decimal values by pricing most items to the nearest Yuan. Prices are generally expressed using  after the price i.e. 100 although the use of ¥ or Y before the price is also common i.e. ¥100.

The current series of banknotes in use in China, dated 1999 and 2005 are issued in the following denominations: 1 jiao or ¥0.1, 5 jiao or ¥0.5, ¥1, ¥5, ¥10, ¥20, ¥50 and ¥100. The previous series issued since the late 1980s circulates alongside the new series. 1 and 5 jiao notes are still being issued as the old series and have not yet been redesigned.  Coins are currently issued in denominations of of ¥0.1, ¥0.5, and ¥1 One of odd thing is that all denominations of Chinese currency are available in banknote form. Older Chinese banknotes dated 1960 have been withdrawn and were recalled completely in 2000, these notes are no longer legal tender.

Page created:     1 September 2006
Last Update:      28 September 2006

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