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Bank Notes of the Isle of Man 9 April 2008

For the first time in its history, Isle of Man Post Office has issued a set of stamps which have been sponsored by two private businesses – the Royal Bank of Scotland International Group and Habib Bank.

Broadly speaking, issues of Manx bank notes fall into four phases. The first types were issued ad hoc by individuals, responding to the need for paper currency in the Island. Concern at the proliferation of notes and card money and the number of counterfeit items in circulation led, in 1817, to an Act of Tynwald which required issuers of notes to apply for a licence and a limit was placed on the quantity of notes which could be issued.

Over the next 150 years a trend moved from the issue of notes by individuals or groups of individuals towards notes issued by private banking companies. The most famous of these was Dumbell’s Banking Company, which was founded in 1853 as the Douglas & Isle of Man Bank. The demise of Dumbell’s Bank in February 1900 accelerated the decline of smaller Manx banks through mergers and takeovers, mainly by English banks which wanted to establish a foothold on the Isle of Man. A unique phase in the history of currency in the Isle of Man occurred during the Second World War, with the issue of specially printed notes for circulation in the Island’s internment camps for enemy aliens.

The final chapter in the story of Manx banknotes came in 1961, with another Act of Tynwald which removed the right of individual banks to issue their own notes in favour of the Isle of Man Government, which has retained the exclusive right to issue notes ever since. In terms of aesthetic quality, the notes produced by the Isle of Man Government have been some of the most pleasing, with much artwork by John H.Nicholson the renowned 20th Century Manx artist.

The stamps

30p - Isle of Man Bank One Pound note 1956 - The penultimate issue of Isle of Man Bank notes, five years later they were withdrawn under the terms of new legislation. The design had remained largely unchanged since the 1930s.

31p - 1972 Isle of Man Government Ten Pound note - The first to feature the new Anthony Buckley portrait of HM The Queen, this early issue ten pound note is broadly similar to that in use today with the same colour and reverse design (Peel Castle) but differs in detail, notably the signature of P.H.G.Stallard.

44p - Manx Bank note - The Manx Bank commenced business in 1882 at its head office, 57 Victoria Street, Douglas. It was bought out by the Mercantile Bank of Lancashire in December 1900.

56p - 1969 Isle of Man Government Fifty New Pence decimal note - Under plans for decimalisation, the Isle of Man Government decided to retain a note instead of using a coin for fifty new pence.

85p - 1983 Isle of Man Government Fifty Pound note - This was the first note of this denomination issued on the Isle of Man. It features on the obverse the portrait of HM The Queen by Peter Grudgeon and Douglas Bay.

114p - Parr’s Bank note 1918 - After the Dumbell’s bank crash in February 1900, Parr’s (an English bank) purchased the wreckage, including the licence to issue notes. This they did until 1918, when they in turn were taken over by the Westminster Bank and ultimately became part of the NatWest group.

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