Foreign money bearing canine images boasts booming trade ahead of Lunar New Year

Currency traders are jumping at the chance to inflate the value of certain coins and banknotes

Banknotes from several nations and territories.

Different forms of lucky money printed with images of dogs have been in enormous demand over the past few weeks leading up to Vietnam’s Lunar New Year, or Tet, holiday.

“Lucky money” – either real or fake currency – is traditionally given during the holiday as a wish for health and good fortune in the New Year. 

As 2018 is the zodiac year of the dog, the market for banknotes and coins bearing canine images is booming throughout the country.

“I spent a very long time finding a nice note for a satisfactory price,” said Hong Giang, 21, living in District 4, Ho Chi Minh City.

There are even lucky money websites that specialize in providing customers with particular bills and coins from the United States, Australia, Taiwan, Lithuania, and Belarus that bear a range of canine breeds.

Australia’s coins for the Year of the Dog.
Australia’s coins for the Year of the Dog

 

“Some people were able to buy the money at low prices, so they bought it in large numbers and are reselling at sky high prices,” she said. “It’s important to buy lucky money early, otherwise it will be out of stock.”

Thien Quang, an office worker residing in Tan Binh District, Ho Chi Minh City, has been hunting for dog-decorated Macau banknotes which display words of good fortune under fluorescent lighting.

“A 10-pataca note can fetch VND25,000 [about US$1] while a 100-pataca one can be bought for VND30,000 (under $1.5). That price range is reasonable for students and office workers,” he said.

“I’ve sold more than 100 Macau banknotes myself.”

A set of notes whose designs are related to the four beasts – dragons, lions, turtles, and phoenixes – are valued by collectors for their prominence in Vietnamese folklore.

Maldivian banknotes
Maldivian banknotes

The Maldivian 5-rufiyaa note, printed with sails filled out by breeze, also attracts attention from Vietnamese who conceptualize the image of billowed sails as a wish for smoothness in life.

Pricing schemes vary across business websites, with the cost for each collectable note ranging from $1 to $10.

A pair of Taiwanese coins bearing dog images is touted at VND100,000 (roughly $4.5) on one website but can sell for VND60,000 ($2.5) on another.

Children seem not to figure into the list of receivers of dog-themed lucky money.

US$2 notes issued by the US for the Year of the Dog.
$2 notes issued by the U.S. for the Year of the Dog

“It should be given to businesspeople or one’s superior at work,” said Nguyen Thi Thu, from Nong Lam University in Ho Chi Minh City.

“It is not quite appropriate to offer children the lucky money because it is thought to bring success to business,” she said.

The special cash bears marks against falseness, and is skillfully made and durable, according to Dinh Bao, in Thu Duc District, Ho Chi Minh City, who worries that counterfeit money can pass undetected because it is usually sold without documents of authenticity.

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