Revenant's Bolivares Fuertes Notes
100,000 Bolivares 2007-2017 Issue P100

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Note Details

Set Details

Note Description: Venezuela, Banco Central
100,000 Bolívares 2017 - Printer: CMV
Grade: 66 EPQ
Country: VEN
Note Number: VEN100b
- Wmk: S. Bolívar & BCV
Certification #: 8076118-022  
Owner: Revenant
Sets Competing: Revenant's Bolivares Fuertes Notes  Score: 320
Revenant's Venezuelan Bolivares  Score: 320
Date Added: 10/29/2020
Research: Currently not available

Owner's Description

The Bolivares Fuertes notes were mostly issued in two 6-note series that can basically be thought of as a "Series 1" and "Series 2". The "Series 2" notes use the same designs, but with different color schemes and face values. The government had intended that the "Series 1" notes - which were basically worthless by the time "Series 2" came out - would be pulled from circulation. So, these two groups of notes weren't meant to circulate together and so there was less perceived risk with people getting the notes confused with each other. As a result, VEN93 and VEN99 look essentially the same.

Then the government released VEN100 in Nov 2017, using essentially the same design as VEN93 and VEN99, and threw that idea right out the window. The VEN100 looks REALLY similar to VEN93 because they both say “100” and they didn’t add the extra zeros for the “100 000.”

However, at the time it was announced, it was only worth less than US$2.50 – which is about what the VEN98, 10 000 Bolivar note, had been worth at the time it was announced, just 11 months prior. At the same time, Venezuelans were only allowed to withdraw about 10,000 to 20,000 Bolivares a day and Maduro raised the monthly minimum wage to 177,507 Bolivares.

The annual inflation rate in Venezuela in 2017 was 1087.5% - I guess call it 1100% in round terms.

President Meduro - having replaced Chavez after his death in 2013 as his designated successor - announced that the country would be going paperless and doing away with physical currency at some point in the future in his national broadcast. While I am sure that would make digital money creation easier and cheaper, so, far, as of 2021, about 4 years later, they were still printing new notes and have not gone paperless. But it is not clear from articles contemporary with the announcement is the put a time horizon on that paperless economy goal.

The thing that confuses me at least a little, looking at this, knowing this, is why the VEN100 was released alone and there was not a new 6 note series or at least a 3-note release like what happened with VEN109 to VEN111 in 2019. It is possible that they felt constrained by other things like the withdraw limits mentioned previously and thought those limits would severely impair the useability / accessibility of a 500,000 or 1 Million Bolivar note. However, I think the most likely explanation is, behind the scenes, they had already made the decision that The Bolivares Soberanos were coming with VEN101 to VEN108. That would also explain the decision to just re-use the same design as VEN93/99 – this note was always going to be just a very short-term, gap-filler release and they never intended for it to be in use long.

And so, the Bolivares Fuertes ended with this one-off whimper.

On January 26, 2018 the government admitted the truth, retired the 10:1 exchange rate with the US dollar and devalued the currency by 99.6%, making it 25,000 BsF to 1 USD – making it officially the 2nd least valuable circulating currency, ahead of the Iranian rial. But, according to informal, black-market rates, it was the lowest.

The government announced the coming of the Bolivar Soberano (“Sovereign Bolivar”) on 22 Mar 2018. The switch over was supposed to happen on 4 Jun 2018 at an exchange rate of 1000:1, but the change was delayed to 1 Aug 2018 with a new exchange rate of 100,000:1, because, yes, in hyperinflation, things get that much worse that quickly. The official exchange rate hit 248,832 VEF to 1 USD on 10 August 2018 and 4,010,000 VEF/USD on 13 Aug 2018. A banking holiday was declared on Monday, 20 August 2018, the day the Soberanos entered circulation, to “give the banks time to adjust for the new currency.”

Four months after their, shops and state banks started refusing to accept the 2 Bs.S note on the basis that it was essentially worthless. By November 2019, except for the Bs.S. 500, all notes issued in 2018 were effectively worthless and most people preferred to receive a small candy or a small pack of sugar instead of taking any of the banknotes issued in 2018. Packets of sugar, which shops in the US generally give away for free with coffee or similar purchases, was more desirable than the highest denomination note in the first Bs.S series.

The annual inflation rate for 2018, the debut year of the Bolivares Soberano, was a staggering 1,370,000.00% - more than 1000 times higher than the annual rate in 2017.

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