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Tibetan 100 Tam Srang Note

The use of money in China could be traced back to at least four thousand years ago. China was also the first country to use paper money, or credit currency in the world. Due to the difficult of language and communication, it is not an easy thing for me to study the numismatic history of Tibit. Tibit as a part of Chinese family of nationality, but paper money was only introduced into this minority nationality area in the early 20th century. I posted below is a Tibet 100 Tam Srang Note. This note is believed to be printed in 1937 and it was printed by Cha-Hsi Motor Plant or Cha-Hsi Le-K'ung Mint [The Lhasa Mint of the Tibet Local Government], and or known as the Trabshi Lekhung by Western.

According to the books of "A Study of Tibetan Paper Money with a Critical Bibliography" by Mr. Wolfgang Berisch. Only 50,000 notes with the denomination in "Tam Srang" (with the red octogonal seal which was usually used on the earlier issues of Tam notes) were issued. After 50,000 notes of 100 Tam Srang had been issued, the denomination was changed to "srang". A different red seal and some changes in the design of the obverse of thenotes were introduced.

Paper Money issued by
Tibetan Regional Government

with Secret Security Text

Marks of Rareness of the Collected Currencies
Extremely Rare A ~ Very Rare B ~ Rare C ~ Not So Many D ~ Common E

Mint Evolution and Peculiarity
No.: 380 Size: 117 x 182 mm Mint: Lhasa Rareness: B



This note was printed by Cha-Hsi Motor Plant or Cha-Hsi Le-K'ung Mint [The Lhasa Mint of the Tibet Government] in 1937.
It is printed in red and yellow from blocks bearing various patterns on paper. [100 Tam Srang note needed to repeat printing for 13 times.] The red outer frame is ornated with the rhomboid patterns. The first inner frame is ornated with the common patterns, Symbol of eight good omens. The top left and bottom right corners of the inner frame are each ornated with the two black serial numbers filled in with a pen in Tibetan script for security. The top corners of the second inner frame of the note are ornated with the four Tibetan characters "Tam Srang" means tael whereas the two bottom vertices bear the Tibetan Numbers "100". Nine Tibetan text, meaning the "Tibetan government is all victorious anywhere", is printed horizontally across the top centre of the second inner frame in black. The row of Tibetan words, meaning the "Government and Religion in one and the paper money valued at 100 Srang" printed horizontally across the bottom centre of the second inner frame in black. Two lions are holding with a fruit bowl is printed at the centre of the note between two geometrical seals, Dalai Lama's red octogonal seal and Cha-Hsi Le-K'ung Mint black rectangular seal. [Please be noted that the later issued 100 srang notes, the red octogonal seal would be changed with a small red circular seal. The underprint with four rats pattern also would be changed later.]



The red outer frame is same as the obverse ornated with the rhomboid patterns. But the inner frame is printed with flower patterns in green. Two seated holy men under the linden (lime tree) are printed at the centre of the note with two cranes [means longevity] at left and two deers [means prosperity] lie on the ground in front of the lames. The old holy man is holding with a magic bottle. [means fertilizing the earth]. Two fling bats [means felicity; fortune] are printed at the top left and right. Please also notice that there is a small dot used as security mark printed in blue just under the bat at the top right in the upper right part. Background of the two holy men is designed with landscape of mountains and cloud.

Security Legend

This 100 Tam Srang note was made by pasting together 2 sheets of papers, the rear one having a 2-line security legend printed on it. When you hold up the note facing yourself to a light source, you can see the direct reading of the security text is printed at the center of the note between the two sheets of papers.

Cha-Hsi Motor Plant / Cha-Hsi Le-K'ung Mint

Cha-Hsi Motor Plant or [The Lhasa Mint of the Tibet Local Government], and or known as the Trabshi Lekhung by Western, was established by the 13th Dalai Lama Shidan Jiacuo on 18 November, 1931. It was not only a coinage organization but also a financial organization. The Cha-Hsi Mint struck coins and printed notes until 1953 and it was officially rescinded in 1959. The paper using for printing notes was produced by Chin-Tung Paper Factory , located at northern outskirts of Lhasa, and was established in 1932, as a part of the Cha-Hsi Mint. All the products of the Kam-Tung Paper Factory served the Cha-Hsi Mint only. The materials using to make paper containing with the root of a kind of poisonous weed in order to prevent the spoiling by the insects and the rats. The paper was soft and tough with plain surface. [counterfeit note existed with vertical texture on the surface] Each month, the factory produced 5000 boxes of paper only, and 500 to 1000 pieces per each box.

Symbol of Eight Good Omens

Eight auspicious objects used in religious rites in Lamaism. They are the magic umbrella [rin chen gdugs], gold fish [gser nya], magic bottle [gter cher bum pa], holy lotus [pad ma], white snail of right spiral shell [dung dkar gyas vkhyil], diamond knot [dpal bevu], satin cylinder [chos kyi rgyal mthsan] and gold wheel [vkhor lo].

The Amount of the 100 Srang notes

The Amount of the 100 Srang notes issued by Cha-Hsi Motor Plant is about 136,000,000 taels from 1939 to 1959. (This figure does not including the amount of the 100 Tam Srang notes issued in 1937 to 1938)

More about Tibetan Paper Money
5 Srang Note

More about Tibetan Coinage
Szechuan Rupee : the Imitation of Indian Rupee

More about K'ang Ting Rupee
The Red Face Rupee

More about Tibetan Coinage
Tibetan Coinage I - The Nepalese and Tibetan Coinage in Qing Dynasty

More about Tibetan Coinage
Tibetan Coinage II - The Kong-par Tangka Coins

Some of My Spare Tibetan Coins


  1. : 1987 p.17, 51, 55, 60. (The History of Tibetan Money).
  2. Albert Pick : Standard Catalog of World Paper Money, 7th Editio-Volume 2. p.1156
  3. Tibet Branch of the People's Bank of China: China Numismatics 1990.1 No.28 P.29
  4. Wolfgang Bertsch : A Study of Tibetan Paper Money, ISBN: 81-86470-16-6

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