Papermoney Dictionary

N & O

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N — New, qv, or North, pricelist abbreviations.

narodna — National, in Slovakian.

narodni — National, in Czech.

narodowy — National, in Polish.

National Bank Notes(s) — Notes issued by federally chartered banks in USA, 1863-1935, backed by US bonds on deposit with The Treasury.

national currency — Street name for National Bank Notes, qv.

nd — No date (on note), a pricelist abbreviation re undated notes.

necessity money — Emergency money, Notgeld.

negotiable — A note, check, bond, etc, which is still redeemable.

nemzeti — National, in Hungarian.

Neplanté — Specimen, in Czech.

New — Equivalent to Uncirculated in describing collectibles, while avoiding the negative connotation of the latter.

new issue(s) — A collectible newly or recently issued. A valuable lesson for collectors: The rarity of today was, at one point in time, a new issue, very likely obtainable at close to face value!

Nippon — Japan, in Japanese.

Nippon Ginko — Bank of Japan, in Japanese.

nominal value — Stated or par value, as for a stock certificate. Distinguished from actual or market value. See also: denomination, face value.

non-redeemable (or non-negotiable) — A note, check, bond, etc, which is no longer redeemable.

Norge — Norway, in Norwegian.

notaphily, notafily — A particularly severe form of cancer, con-tracted exclusively from handling filthy lucre. Fortunately, it is not catching for papermoney collectors, in fact, it isn't catching on, period.

note, notes — Papermoney, papermonies, qv. Or, paper money, paper monies. This dictionary is biased toward using note to refer to a piece of papermoney within this dictionary. We don't really care whether or not the musically inclined, but syngraphically challenged, will rise up in protest.

Notgeld — Emergency money, in German. Specifically, a generic term for the hundreds of thousands of local notes, issued in Germany and Austria, before, during and after World War One. Most of the later issues were blatant money making schemes "issued" primarily for selling to collectors, long after the emergency had disappeared. The term has been extended to cover similar local issues in other countries (Spain, Portugal, France, etc), and at later times (eg, the Spanish Civil War).

number — The reader may decide to spend a pleasant half-hour studying the multitude of definitions in an unabridged dictionary. Here, we are concerned only with numbers as they appear on notes and other syngraphic documents. Since even this leaves us with a multitude of similar, hence sometimes confusing, things to discuss, we have put it all into the following table.


block letter — See: block number.

block number — That portion of a note's serial number, qv, which is incremented each time the serial numerals, qv, pass their upper numerical limit; may be expressed in numerals, letters, alphanumerics, or characters (Oriental, Arabic, etc); may be appended to the serial numerals or printed in a different location on the note; usually applied by letterpress simultaneously with the serial numerals. In some cases, eg, Japanese Occupation notes of WW2, the block number or letter is used alone without any accompanying serial numerals, either because the issuer did not worry about counterfeiting, or didn't find the use of numbering machines economical.

plate number — A number engraved into or otherwise made a permanent part of a printing plate which identifies that plate, usually uniquely, and is used for plate accountability and production control within the printing plant.

serial number — A combination of numbers, letters, or other characters applied to notes for accounting and control purposes, and composed of the block number (if present) and serial numerals. If the block number is not printed adjacient to the serial numerals, the latter are often referred to alone as the serial number.

serial numeral — That portion of a serial number which is incremented singly with each new note to which it is applied. When used alone, the serial numeral is also the serial number. When used in conjunction with a block number, the block number and serial numerals together compose the serial number. Note that block numbers and serial numbers can be numbers, letters, or characters, depending on the system adopted by the issuer.

series number — A number, letter, or combination thereof which identifies a particular EDITION of a note issue. Often changed when only a minor change is made to the note, eg, to the signature combination and/or date. See also: minor and major varieties.

numeral — A character, symbol, letter, or word, or a group of any of these, expressing a number.

numismatics — The collection and study of coins and related materials.

obsolete — Antiquated. Disused. Out of date. Out of fashion. Possibly replaced by a newer version. But, without relevance to negotiability. Ergo, an obsolete note may or may not be still redeemable.  On the other hand, all non-negotiable documents are obsolete as well. See also: current, negotiable, redeemable, demonetized, non-negotiable, non-redeemable.

obsolete note (or currency) — A popular term for the vast number of notes issued by many kinds of private banking institutions in USA, c1790-1865. All obsolete notes, as well as all CSA currencies are now, of course, demonetized as well as obsolete.

obverse — The front side of a coin or medal. Never used with paper documents.

occident, occidental — West, western. Opposite of orient.

occupation note(s), or currency (-ies) — Notes issued by the occupying government for the use by the local population; its own personnel may also use them in dealing with the locals. Distin-guished from military currencies, qv, issued strictly for the use of the troops. After WW2, for example, the Allies issued occupation notes for Germany, Austria, Italy, France and Japan. During WW2 Japan issued occupation notes in numerous countries in Southeast Asia. USA brown seals are not occupation notes, as they are sometimes called, but special security devices, used also by American soldiers. Similarly, USA yellow seals were used exclusively by American soldiers in Africa, and thus can be considered the forerunners of Military Payment Certificates.

Oesterreich — Austria, in German and Austrian.

omnibus issue — Stamps or coins, with an identical theme, issued by more than two countries simultaneously. Stamp omnibus issues include the QEII coronation issue, issued by all the then British Colonies and Dependencies. Coin omnibus issues include the FAO coins. On the other hand, certain common theme stamp issues such as Boy Scouts stamps, issued at various intervals by diverse countries, are merely topicals, qv. Mercifully, no papermoney omnibus issues have appeared so far. The somewhat similarly designed notes of certain French and Portugese colonial issues are not really omnibus issues.

Operation Bernhard — A code name for a German World War II plan to ruin the Bank of England, and hence the British economy, by producing high quality counterfeits of BofE notes.

optical delusion — The seeing of something which is not there. Syngraphic examples include The Devil's Head Note of Canada, The Vampire Note of Germany, and The SEX Note of Seychelles. The possibility always exists that the designer intentionally created something to play with the observers minds, for example, to make a sociopolitical statement.

orient, oriental — East, eastern. Opposite of occient.

ost — East, in German.

outre-mer — Overseas, in French, referring to a multitude of French colonies, territories, dependencies, possessions, districts, etc.

overprint — Additional printing on a note or stamp that was not part of the original design. Overprinting may be applied by an authority different from the original issuer. The coin equivalent is an overstrike (or a counterstrike). Unofficial overprints are merely graffiti, qv. See also: surcharge, for a very specific kind of overprint.

overprint authentication — A catalog of things attempted with the hope of generating unearned profits by manipulating paper documents is light-years beyond the scope of this dictionary. Moreover, the multitude and variety of techniques used by expert authenticators is also beyond this book. There is, however, one technique even a novice collector can use. Given that an overprint is one of the easiest things to fake, and that this is very tempting if the overprinted note is substantially more valuable than its plain counterpart, how does one decide the genuineness of an overprinted note if he doesn't have a known genuine specimen at hand for comparison? If the note to be tested is uncirculated, you're out of luck. However, if the note is well circulated, while the overprint is sharp and its ink extends into the fibers of the creases, you know that this is a fake overprint. A genuine overprint, you see, would exhibit wear similar to the background, and the overprint's ink would be missing from the exposed fibers of the creases. This whole discussion would fall apart if the "issuer" used also circulated notes for overprinting. See also: rubber stamp overprints.

ovpt — Overprint(ed), a pricelist definition.

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