Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated cities in the world. It is an administrative district of China, where Hong Kong has a certain level of independence and interdependence with the rest of China, under the concept of “One Country, Two Systems”. The unusual political situation comes from its prior status as an English colony. This status began in 1842 as part of the settlement of the First Opium War and was extended with a 99 year lease that ended in 1997. Many of Hong Kong’s early 20th century banknotes included the reigning King of England on them. Queen Elizabeth II appeared on Hong Kong's paper money beginning in 1952. They have the smallest denomination banknotes that have a portrait of QEII- the 1 cent notes from 1961, 1971, 1981 and 1986. Hong Kong is also unique because it has 3 banks that can issue banknotes- Bank of China, Standard Charter Bank and HSBC. A collector can find all denominations from each of the 3 issuing authorities. The banknote designs are similar but have distinct design differences. HSBC focused on the lion, Bank of China often has orchids and landscapes, and Standard charter seems to focus on people and buildings. Collectors like to get all of the designs.
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