​2½ Guilder Note, 1949

I haven’t found figures on how many 2½ guilder banknotes dated 1949 that De Nederlandsche Bank produced, but it must have been a lot. I know that because, at least as of Sunday, one was for sale on eBay for $1.30, plus 50 cents shipping. A valuable collector’s item, it’s not. Suits me.

The one for sale looks roughly in the same slightly worn condition as the one I have, which is on permanent loan from my mother. It’s a smallish note, 4½ inches by 2⅜ inches. My parents picked it up during their time in Europe in the mid-1950s.

The one to have, at least according to valuations on eBay, is the 1939 Dutch East Indies 25 guilders with Javanese dancers. Someone wants $400 for one of those.

I like the fact that its denomination is ​2½ guilders, not a quantity you see often, though for a long time the United States issued ​2½ dollar gold coins, the Quarter Eagle. Twee en een halvee gulden is also fun to say, though I probably don’t sound Dutch when I do.

If I’ve done my research correctly, a guilder was worth about a U.S. quarter in the mid-50s, valuing this note at 62 cents or so. Not as trifling a sum then as now  — its purchasing power was probably over $5 in current money — but not that much either.

Also of note on the obverse: Uitgegeven krachtens k.b. van 4 Februari 1943 en van 18 Mei 1945. My stab at a translation: issued by virtue of royal decree, February 4, 1943 and May 18, 1945. The Dutch government was in exile in the UK on that first date, including the famously strong-willed Queen Wilhelmina. I know that, anticipating an Allied victory, new Dutch currency was produced starting in 1943. Made in the United States as it happens, as the designs more than hints at.

The 1949 reserve has a Spirographic sort of design.

Queen Juliana appears on the 1949 note, new to the job since her mother abdicated the year before. Juliana was still on some of the coins in circulation when I visited the Netherlands in 1983, though she had abdicated three years earlier in favor of Beatrix, who stayed on as queen until 2014, past the time when guilders ceased to be money. I wonder if the Dutch miss their guilders.

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