Collecting banknotes is very much similar to collecting other antiques. The rarer it is, the more valuable it becomes. This is quite the same with stamps and coins. Malaysia has its long history of currency where it has gone through many revisions of designs and denominations.

How to know if they are valuable?

Banknotes are produced and printed in mass volumes. In most cases, they are just the same besides their serial numbers. This means that they are valued as their commerce figures while obsolete ones would fetch higher prices. If you have any banknotes which are:

  1. misprinted
  2. missing or special numbers
  3. strange looking

Then, they might be worth a lot more.

Rarity is most important

Generally, it is not really about when the banknote was issued and if its already obsolete. Rarity would be most important here. The value will depend on the condition as well. It was recently reported that a 50sen coin with a milled edge was auctioned off for about RM7,000. This is because it was one of a kind.

Another example is a RM1 note which was produced in 1999 but was not issued was valued for more than RM1,000 because it was wrongly printed with the signature of the then Bank Negara Governor Tan Sri Ali Abul Hassan Sulaiman.

If you happen to see the $10 Malaya British Borneo note signed by the then former finance minister Tun Lee Hau Sik, you could be about RM20,000 richer if you sell it off. This is one of the rarest banknotes ever produced in Malaysia. It is a set of 3 notes with running serial numbers.

Most expensive Malaysia banknote

It was reported recently that the most expensive banknote in Asia is the complete set of A/1 000001 First Series banknotes. Back in 2007, the set of 6 pieces of banknotes were sold off for £115,100. CIMB Bank won the auction and presented to Bank Negara Malaysia as a gift. Although it holds the record to be the most expensive banknote in Asia, it still pales in comparison with the most expensive banknote in the world which is the US Grand Watermelon Banknote which was sold for USD$2,255,000.

This series came in the following denominations:

  1. 1 Ringgit – Blue and multi-coloured
  2. 5 Ringgit – Green and multi-coloured
  3. 10 Ringgit – blue and multi-coloured
  4. 50 Ringgit – blue and multi-coloured
  5. 100 Ringgit – purple and multi-coloured

All the notes have the serial number A/1 000001 and comes with the portrait of the first Yang Di- Pertuan Agong of Malaysia, Tuanku Abdul Rahman. The signature on the note is that of Ismail Mohd Ali.

For a single banknote, the record is held by a RM1,000 note which was sold off at an auction for RM322,000. This was the 1000 Ringgit 5th Series Replacement note with a serial number of ZZ 0000001 which came with a grade of PMG 64 EPQ.