The New Hebrides Condominium, situated in the South Pacific Ocean, represented a unique archipelago jointly governed by both French and British forces, rather than being subjected to the rule of a single power. This distinctive sovereignty was administered through three distinct governments: British, French, and a collaborative joint administration. The Condominium's existence spanned from 1906 until its declaration of independence, leading to the establishment of the Republic of Vanuatu in 1980.
The New Hebrides franc served as the official currency during this period, coexisting alongside the British pound and later the Australian dollar. Although divisible into 100 Centimes, the smallest unit of the currency was the 1 franc.
In 1921, the Comptoirs Français des Nouvelles-Hébrides (French Trading Posts of the New Hebrides) issued a 25-franc banknote dated August 22, 1921, featuring a banana tree, a thatched house, a bridge, totems, and a palm tree on its obverse. The note’s reverse illustrates pottery.
The New Hebrides hadn’t issued banknotes again until in 1941. At the onset of the Second World War, the Banque de l’Indochine ordered banknotes from the American Bank Note Company in New York for its Saigon branch. Production of these notes were halted when Japan invaded Indochina. Some of these notes were repurposed for New Caledonia and subsequently overprinted for use in the New Hebrides. These notes were in denominations of 5, 20, 100, 500 and 1000 francs.
The arrival of American forces in May 1942 prompted the issuance of additional banknotes by the Services Nationaux Francais des Nouvelles Hébrides.
In 1966, the Institut d'Emission d'Outre-Mer was established, introducing banknotes in denominations of 100, 500, and 1000 francs. These notes were distinctively overprinted with "NOUVELLES-HÉBRIDES" in capital letters. The 1970 - 1980 issue maintained the same design as its predecessors but featured a Nouvelles Hébrides overprint in script.