From left to right: the authors of the book
(Chee, Eu, Chiew) and Stane Štraus in Hong Kong in September 2005.
The 1st edition of World Polymer Banknotes
is an excellent resource for polymer bank note collectors. It is also
the first comprehensive polymer notes resource that has been printed on
paper, as opposed to WWW resources. Peter Eu, Ben Chiew and Julian Chee
have done an outstanding job in presenting the world of polymer bank
notes. They have made an extensive use of www.polymernotes.org, the
world's leading reference on polymer bank notes, and by compiling
additional data from other sources, produced an informative and
comprehensive reference that offers a wealth of information, including
high-resolution scans depicting every bank note.
Technically, the book is superbly designed
and it comes in full colour. The design of the book
surpasses most endeavours seen so far in the area of numismatic
reference books and catalogues.
Following a brief introduction of polymer
bank notes, every polymer-issuing country is presented in the order of
its first polymer issue, starting with the
Tyvek® issues of Haiti, Costa Rica and the Isle
of Man, continuing with the 23
countries from Australia to Chile. The listing for each country shows
all the bank note issues for that particular country, first in order of
denomination, then in order of issue date. The basic characteristics of
each bank note are given, then brief descriptions of the front and back
side of each bank note accompany the appropriate front and back scans.
The last and very helpful section of the book lists most of the
varieties of polymer bank notes and their prices. The book also includes
tips on collecting, a brief history of bank notes and other information.
In my opinion, certain bank note varieties
presently listed in this edition would need to be reconsidered for the
second edition. Perhaps some varieties should be deleted from the
general listing and kept only in the last part of the book; certain
varieties will need to be added.
This can also be attributed to the fact that
polymer bank notes constitute a complex area of issues and different
authorities sometimes disagree on what constitutes a separate issue and
what designation to ascribe to it.
The book also attemps to list the Australian
collectors' issues, which is an extensive and demanding tasks and with all
the subvarieties numbering in hundreds—a task yet to be accomplished.
The book correctly leaves out the Chatham
Islands Dollars and other privately-commissioned prints. Also left out
are American Bank Note Company
Tyvek® promotional notes, which are rare and of
interest to the highly-specialised connoiseurs of polymer bank notes
The main weakness of this reference is its
cataloguing or reference system. A complicated reference system is far
from intuitive and is difficult to use. It will also change every time a
new edition of the book is made as the numbering follows first the
country, then the issues of that particular country. For instance, a new
issue for Australia, which is at the beginning of polymer issues, would
shift or change all the subsequent references (22 countries and all
For those already advanced in their polymer
knowledge or for those only starting their polymer collection, this
book is a must-have. Even general bank note collectors that so far had
no specific interest in polymer bank notes would find this book a great
idea for a new and exciting field of collecting. With more and more
countries converting to polymer every year, this is an excellent
opportunity to start riding the polymer wave.