by Björn Schöpe
March 29, 2012 – When people sleep in front of a building to be first in queue normally a new Apple product is being launched. However, this time in Hong Kong similar scenes ending in general mayhem were caused by over 1,000 persons attending the opening of the Bank of China. In occasion of the Bank’s centenary jubilee – making it thus the only bank in China operating since hundred years in continuation – banknotes in limited edition have been issued with red tint. Their front depicts the Great Wall and the Bank of China building in Beijing, on the back a landscape of modern Hong Kong and the Bank of China Tower in Hong Kong is printed.
Bank of China (Hong Kong) Tower. Photo: Filzstift / Wikipedia.
On February 15, 2012 the Bank of China sold banknotes of the limited centenary edition comprising 1.1 million single HK$100 notes, 100,000 sets of three uncut notes, and 20,000 sets of 30 uncut notes for HK$150, HK$600 and HK$6,000, respectively. When arriving on the previous day the first people had brought sleeping bags with them. Each person could buy only a limited number of notes.
Many expected the banknotes to raise in value, thus dealers tried to buy as many as possible offering up to five times the sum which had been paid for them. At a certain point, however, due to the huge demand, the Bank issued purchase slips to the people in queue. A man told journalists that he bought 77 of these slips paying HK$1,000 each – only to learn that the slips were linked to the personal holders being thus worthless to him.
But many people stated as well that they would never sell these notes because they marked such an important occasion. Anyway, experts are skeptical on whether this limited edition will fulfill value expectations. Maybe soon the hype will have passed away and then collectors will certainly enjoy much more their reward charged with emotions instead of those who tried to make quick money with it.