To those who have seen Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) booth before in exhibitions in our countries such as HALFEST, BOOK Fair in PWTC or in PUTRAJAYA Youth Festival 2014, you may have seen they display a series of Malaysian Banknotes with a word "CONTOH" on the notes with a serial number. These are Specimen banknotes and it might invites danger to personnel in charge of the BNM exhibition. What kind of danger are we talking about?
2 weeks ago, I have a meeting with my numismatics friends and one of the topic that we discuss is how danger awaits BNM personnel who is in charge of the specimen banknotes. They risk their life without their knowledge, risk of being robbed and also likely to be hurt by the robber.
Why robber want to rob BNM personnel who is in charge of the specimen banknotes? The notes face value are not even close to 10 thousands ringgit if you combine all of the note face value. To Paper Money collectors, the value is much higher than that.
Do you know how much is the value of Malaysia specimen banknotes for banknote collectors?
Looking back at past auction by many auctioneers in Singapore, we look at the realised price for some of the specimen Malaysia banknotes:
Mavin auction 30 on 30 March 2012:
Lot 347: Malaysia $1000 Ringgit Specimen 6th series
Malaysia $1000, (1986-95), 6th series, sign. Jaffar Hussein, specimen, (P.34s; KNB.39), specimen no. 251, "CONTOH" ovpt., PMG Gem UNC65EPQ.Sold SGD5,800
Mavin auction 33 on 29 March 2013:
Lot 856: Malaysia $20 Ringgit Specimen 5th series
Malaysia $20, (1982-84), 5th series, sign. Aziz Taha, specimen, (P.22s; KNB.27), serial no. 0000000, specimen no. 004, "CONTOH" ovpts., handling, AU.Estimate: SGD7,500 – SGD8,000
Monetarium (Singapore) Private Limited auction 11 on 27 March 2013:
Lot 738: 100 Ringgit Malaysia Specimen 7th series UNC
MALAYSIA. 7th Series: SPECIMEN RM100 1995 AN0000000 specimen no. 200 (KNB43) Original UNCSold SGD4,800
Mavin auction 34 on 19 July 2013:
Lot 935: Malaysia $5-$1000 specimen 6th series
Malaysia $5, $10, $50, $100, $500, $1000, (1986-95), 6th series, sign. Jaffar Hussein, specimen, (KNB.33, 34, 36, 37c, 38, 39), $5 serial no. NE 0000000, $10 serial no. PR 0000000, $50 serial no. VP 0000000, $100 serial no. XX 0000000, specimen nos. 164 ($5, $10, $50 notes) and 250 ($500, $1000 notes) respectively, "CONTOH" ovpts., $5, $10, $50 graded PMG Choice UNC64 NET - Previously Mounted, $100 note graded PMG Choice UNC63EPQ, $500 note graded PMG Gem UNC65EPQ, $1000 note graded PMG Choice UNC64EPQ. (6)Sold SGD13,000
Monetarium (Singapore) Private Limited auction 12 on 26 October 2013:
Lot 796: 5 Ringgit Malaysia Specimen 6th Series UNC.
MALAYSIA - 6th Series RM5 Specimen No. 089 with ovpt “CONTOH” (KNB33e) Rare. Original UNC.Estimate SGD1,500 – SGD2,000
Lot 802: MALAYSIA RM50 8th Series "CONTOH" Specimen
MALAYSIA - MODERN ISSUES / 马来西亚－现代发行 8th Series: RM50 “CONTOH” Specimen No. 0299 AA0000000 (KNB48) Original UNC.Sold SGD1,800
Monetarium (Singapore) Private Limited auction 13 on 27 March 2014:
MALAYSIA - MODERN ISSUES / 马来西亚－现代发行 1st Series: Specimen 10-Ringgit A/1 000000 Specimen No. 9, oval TDLR & SPECIMEN overprints, single official punch hole (KNB3b) Original UNC.Sold SGD6,500
MALAYSIA - MODERN ISSUES / 马来西亚－现代发行 1st Series: Specimen 50-Ringgit A/1 000000 Specimen No. 12, oval TDLR & SPECIMEN overprints, single official punch hole (KNB4b) Original UNC.SGD11,000
Mavin auction 36 on 21 March 2014:
Lot 457: Malaysia $2 Ringgit Specimen Ahmad Don
Malaysia $2, (1996-98), 8th series, sign. Ahmad Md. Don, specimen, (KNB.46b), serial no. AA 0000000, specimen no. 0012, "CONTOH" ovpts., crimps, AU-UNC.Sold SGD2,200
Mavin auction 37 on 25 July 2014:
Lot 681: Malaysia $100 Ringgit Specimen 4th series
Malaysia $100, (1981-83), 4th series, sign. Aziz Taha, specimen, (KNB.23), serial no. A/25 000000, "CONTOH" ovpts., PMG Choice UNC64 NET - previously mounted.Estimate: SGD8,000 – SGD8,500
Lot 709: Malaysia $1 Ringgit specimen Zeti signed
Malaysia $1, (2000), 11th series, sign. Zeti Aziz, specimen, (KNB.61), serial no. MX 0000000, control no. 2276, "CONTOH" ovpts., PMG Gem UNC65EPQ.Estimate: SGD1,500 – SGD1,600
I am assuming the BNM booth will display 4 types of banknotes set since BNM current banknotes series is the 4th series. The 4th series don't have a RM500 and RM1000 notes.
4th series (RM1, RM5, RM10, RM20 RM50 and RM100) value: RM*****.
The value of the specimens that they brought to any exhibition is around RM***** for today market value. It might value more in the near future with the fast changing in Malaysia Numismatic scenery. Eventhough, there is no real market prices for specimens and the price realised most of the time is an agreement between buyer and seller, I put the price in here as a reminder to BNM Staff.
In the world nowadays people will try to get money if they have a chance even if they need to rob or steal. Bringing RM***** alone without a bodyguard to a public places is a risk that BNM personnel might be not realized. They should change their exhibit items to replica banknotes which don't have a high value for collectors. I have seen many times before how BNM personnel bring their "collection" to the exhibition ground. I guess I am not the only one watching. If you have a BNM friends who working at their exhibition booth forward it to them or their bosses to make sure bad thing dosen't happen to BNM staff in the future.
PS: 1 Singapore Dollar equals 2.53 Malaysian Ringgit