TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The Central Bank of Taiwan has raked in nearly NT$60 million (US$19.2 million) for the government coffers over the past eight years through an unusual moneymaking method – auctioning special-number New Taiwan Dollar banknotes.
Since 2011, the Central Bank has conducted 13 auctions that brought in an accumulated NT$57 million from sales of banknotes printed with specific serial numbers. The most sought-after notes included numbers 888888 and 666666, the pronunciations of which are homophonic with words carrying auspicious meanings in Chinese, reported UDN.
A large number of people in Taiwan, and beyond the island, are enthusiastic collectors of New Taiwan Dollar banknotes bearing specific numbers either for investment or collection purposes. The fever has spawned business opportunities from trading such notes, an activity that is particularly appealing to senior citizens, said the Central Bank, which takes charge of affairs related to issuing currency.
The largest bid occurred in September 2012, when a set of three notes with the serial number QU888888AL and the face value of NT$100 sold for a staggering price of NT$688,888. An NT$100 note with the serial number of 888888 was auctioned off at NT$15,360 in May 2013, which is 153.6 times its face value, making it the highest ever bid for a single banknote, the report wrote.
The 14th auction, slated for the period between 10:00 a.m. on May 23 and 10:00 a.m. on May 28, will be carried out by the Bank of Taiwan (BOT) and will be conducted through online bidding. The bank will put 5,600 banknotes in 130 sets up for sale, each with special serial numbers in denominations of NT$100, NT$500, and NT$1000, according to the Central Bank.