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Story about the Macau 1000 Patacas 1988 banknote


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In the mid eighties the bord of directors of the BNU bank (Banco National Ultramarino) gathered for a special meeting. The economical expansion of the Macau market had risen so much so a new high denomination banknote had to be released to the market. For the first time the high denomination of 1000 patacas was descided to hit the streets. One important thing was to show China that the portuguese were preparing for the handover 1999. This has also to be shown on the next series of banknotes. Also a date for the release had to be descided.

A very special date was approaching and was therefore choosen.

This was the 8th of August 1988. What is so special with that date, you might think?


In China numbers and numerical combinations has held the interest of lots of people, in symbolism and folklore. It is easily seen in eBay, were a lot of deals of asiatic banknotes with special numbers are done with chinese people, both as buyers and sellers. Well, one more dimension to that is that chinese language can give with almost the same pronunciation very different meaning words. The number 4 has almost the same pronunciation as the word death, and is not very fun at all (for example asiatic hotel staff do not give rooms on the fourth floor to chinese or they can get insulted). The number 8 on the other hand is sounding simillar to the word wealth, and is therefore the best number. A banknote with numbers 88888888 is king, but can actually be beaten. If you put number 1 in front of 8 you get the meaning be rich, but only in that order. In other meaning 141414 is very bad.


Well back to the date. 8/8 1988 is as you now can see a good and realy rare date.




The front of the banknote shows a chinese dragon, a powerful symbol. It is big with the dimensions 163 X 81.5 mm. This is the first Macau banknote that does not show any portuguese symbol (the series before shows the portuguese republican arms), which was a very important mark, to show to the chinese





The back shows a view of the Macau city and the Macau-Taipa bridge. I shall describe more about that, a bit later.


The BNU bank had for a long time been the only big and important bank in Macau. But 1991 the BOC (Bank Of Cina, Macau branch) made a big impact when their HQ building in Macau were finished. 160m high with 38 floors, and a rocketshape, it is a dominant buiding on the Macau skyline.




Here it is shown on the back of a 1995 BOC 10 patacas banknote. The bank building is situated rather close to the waterfront and suprise, suprise, close to their rival the puny (at that time) BNU HQ.


Well it did not take long time for the BOC to demand more power over the Macau finances, including the right to make their own banknotes.

In an effort to appeace the BOC the BNU descided to make some adjustments to the then (1992) newly designed 100patacas banknote, which would be followed on the 20p and the 50p.




Here is the back of the BNU 100p banknote. It is also showing a view of the Macau city and the Macau-Taipa bridge. Se if you can spot the differences between this one and the 1000p and then read further on.


Well, it is basically the same view, with only a slightly different angle. Some of the buildings are simillar, but one that should now be familiar is only showing on the 100p.

It is of course the BOC HQ, situated as I said before, close to the waterfront. The BNU changed the back of the newly designed banknotes to show that.

But it was of no help. 1995 the BOC was allowed to give out banknotes at a fifty-fifty basis to the BNU. As a reult of that (maybee) the 10P, 500P and 1000P backs were not changed, and were continously released with the old skyline.

Also, the small BNU office was upgraded to a skyscraper with flashing neon signs on the top. It is a realy interesting building as the old structure is still standing at the bottom, but overbuilt by a hugh glass structure.


To end the story, it can be said that until 2010 the BNU and the BOC is jointly releasing banknotes for Macau. My sources at the BNU say that they have got confirmation until 2049 for BNU releases, but are not completly shure.

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