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Kiao Chau

Situated at the heart of Jiaozhou Bay on the southern coast of the Shandong Peninsula in China, Kiautschou or Kiaochau was a German leased colony that was founded following the agreement between the Qing Dynasty and the German Empire in 1898, during the Imperial and Early Republican China. It was under the administration of the East Asia Squadron of the Imperial German Navy with its seat of government headquartered at Qingdao.

In 1907, the German-Asian Bank, which was established in 1889, started issuing banknotes for Kiao Chau in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 25, 50, 100, and 200 dollars. These banknotes have a unified design but differ in color to distinguish the denominations. Featured on their obverse are two Chinese dragons, the German Imperial eagle with the bank coat of arm, and a seated allegorical woman Germania holding a lance and a shield. They also reflect the branch name TSINGTAU. The reverse of these paper bills are effigies of Germania.  

In 1914, following the outbreak of World War I in Europe, the Japanese forces attacked Kiao Chau and declared war against the German. Later, Germany surrendered and the territory was turned over to Japan. Japanese emptied the vaults of the bank and expelled the staff to Japan.  

In September 1914, the Greater Japan Imperial Government introduced banknotes in 10, 20, 50 sen, and 1 and 2 yen denominations. These paper bills are in a vertical orientation and depict two cockerels and two dragons on their obverse. The front design also includes the title Military Payment Certificate. On the back design are guilloche patterns, the counterfeit clause printed in Chinese, and the denomination with an added phrase “in silver”.  

In 1922, Kiao Chau was handed back over to China. Although the settlement has always remained Chinese, some German influence was still evident including the production of beer.  


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