The Republic of Panama is strategically located on the Isthmus of Panama which links North America and South America. This transcontinental country is bordered by the Caribbean Sea, Costa Rica, the Pacific Ocean, and Colombia. The country prides its Cordillera de Talamanca mountain range that creates the continental divide, the Panama Canal that unites the Caribbean Sea, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Pacific Ocean.

Panama Canal
Source: AS

Panama’s national currency is the Panamanian balboa along with the U.S. dollar. The balboa is named after Spanish explorer Vasco Nunez de Balboa who also founded the first European settlement in the country. Introduced in 1904 following the nation’s independence from Colombia, the balboa replaced the Colombian peso. Since its establishment, the monetary unit has been pegged to the USD at a rate of 1:1. In its 1904 Panamanian constitution, balboas are only issued as coins.

USD Banknotes Circulate In Panama as Well as Balboa Coins
Source: Banknote World

In 1941, President Arnulfo Arias forced the government to propose a law allowing banks to issue banknotes. This led to the establishment of the Banco Central de Emission de la Republica de Panama. The bank issued balboa banknotes on October 2, 1941, in the denominations of 1, 5, 10, and 20 balboas. The obverse of these issued notes featured Vasco Nunez de Balboa, indigenous Panamanian chieftain Urraca, an ox cart with sugar cane and farmers, and the Old Panama respective, while their unified reverse design depicts the coat of arms of Panama.

Panama 1 Balboa | 1941 | P-22 |
Source: Banknote World Educational

A week later, president Arias was replaced by Dr. Ricardo Adolfo de la Guardia in a coup supported by the US government. The new administration shut down the bank and withdrew the issued banknotes while the remaining unissued notes were burned. Only a few of these short-lived issues have survived. As a result, these “1941 Arias Seven Day Issues” are a valued collector’s piece.

Panama 20 Balboas | 1941 | P-25a |
Source: Banknote World Educational

Some fantasy notes designed by Richard J. Reed from Sarasota, Florida, were also made available with diagonal red ESPECIMEN SIN VALOR overprints on their front side.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *