A few years ago, I mounted an exhibit of $1.00 Notes from the Bahamas and displayed it at several local and regional coin shows. I've recently updated my Bahamas collection with a pair of notes that have been issued since I created the exhibit so I decided to reproduce the exhibit here and expand it to include the new notes. I recognize that the notes presented here aren't rare or particularly valuable, but the collection finds its roots in my childhood days and a cruise my parents took to the Bahamas (on the SS
Oceanic). As I was already a coin collector, my parents brought back a group of local coins and bank notes for me; I also got a model of the cruise ship! These simple "souvenirs" spurred me on in later years to acquire an uncirculated set of Bahamanian coins from 1966 (their first year of issue) and maintain a collection of $1.00 notes from 1966 forward. It's fair to say that the true value of this collection of notes comes from the memories of my parents that it helps to keep alive vs. any market value.
My plan is to post one type note per day.
And now, without further adieu...Introduction
The first European to set foot within the territory of what today is known as The Bahamas is believed to have been Christopher Columbus in 1492; he came ashore on a small island that he named San Salvador.
English colonists began to settle in the area around 1648. In 1670, the Lords Proprietors of the Carolinas received administrative control of the islands through a grant from King Charles II. The islands became a refuge for area pirates which wreaked havoc on the local government. As part of its initiative to rid the islands of pirates and restore order, Great Britain made the islands a British Crown Colony in 1718.
The early money of the colony was primarily of Spanish origin and consisted of silver "pieces of eight" and gold doubloons. In 1838, the British sterling system (i.e., pounds-shillings-pence system) became the official currency. The first Government-backed banknotes were issued in 1919; notes of 4 and 10 shillings and 1 pound were issued.
The Bahamas were granted internal autonomy by Great Britain on January 7, 1964. Shortly thereafter, in 1966, the islands transitioned from the British Pound to the Bahamian Dollar. The exchange rate was set at 7 shillings = 1 dollar. The rate was chosen to allow approximate parity with the US dollar. At the time, the US dollar traded at a rate of £1 = $2.80. As there are (were) 20 shillings in a British pound, the exchange rate for the new Bahamian dollar was approximately £1 = $2.86. Today, the Bahamas dollar is pegged to the US dollar and the two are used interchangeably on the islands.
The Bahamas Government, through its Board of Commissioners of Currency, issued its first dollar-based coins and banknotes in 1966. It issued notes of the following denominations: 50 cents, $1.00, $3.00, $5.00, $10.00, $20.00, $50.00 and $100.00. The unusual $3.00 denomination was issued to provide a note with the approximate purchasing power of the previous £1 note.
The Bahamas Monetary Authority was established in 1968 and assumed responsibility for the issuance of coins and banknotes. It issued a series of notes in 1968 using the same denominations as the previous series.
The Bahamas were granted full independence from Great Britain on June 22, 1973. It joined the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank on August 21, 1973. On June 1, 1974, the Central Bank of the Bahamas was created and was given responsibility for managing the monetary policy of the Bahamas and for issuing its coins and banknotes.
This exhibit presents a complete Type Set* of the $1.00 banknotes issued for The Bahamas between 1966 and today; there have been 12 different design types issued.* My Type Set provides an example of each major Design Type / Series, it does not include all signature combinations.