header Notes Collection

10 Pounds 1978, Falkland Islands

no number in katalog -
Years of issue: 1978
Signatures: Administrator: Mr. Len Hill
Serie: Jason islands
Specimen of: 1978
Material: Paper
Size (mm): 167 х 86
Printer: Unknown printer

* All pictures marked magnify are increased partially by magnifying glass, the remaining open in full size by clicking on the image.

** The word "Specimen" is present only on some of electronic pictures, in accordance with banknote images publication rules of appropriate banks.

10 Pounds 1978




10 Pounds 1978

To the right is a portrait of Len Hill and to the left is a penguin.

The penguin is the principal element of the design that changes between denominations. The penguins illustrated on each denomination are: 50 pence - a Humboldt Penguin; 1 pound - a Jackass Penguin; 5 Pounds - a Rockhopper Penguin; 10 pounds - a Gentoo Penguin; and 20 pounds - a King Penguin. At the bottom right of each note appears to be a reference number, which is assumed to be the same for each denomination.

Pygoscelis papua

The long-tailed gentoo penguin (Pygoscelis papua) is a penguin species in the genus Pygoscelis, most closely related to the Adélie penguin (P. adeliae) and the chinstrap penguin (P. antarcticus). The first scientific description was made in 1781 by Johann Reinhold Forster with a reference point of the Falkland Islands. They call in a variety of ways, but the most frequently heard is a loud trumpeting which is emitted with its head thrown back.

The application of gentoo to the penguin is unclear. The Oxford English Dictionary notes that gentoo used to be an Anglo-Indian term used as early as 1638 to distinguish Hindus in India from Muslims. The English term may have originated from the Portuguese gentil (compare "gentile").

Gentoos breed on many sub-Antarctic islands. The main colonies are on the Falkland Islands, South Georgia, and Kerguelen Islands; smaller populations are found on Macquarie Island, Heard Islands, South Shetland Islands, and the Antarctic Peninsula. The total breeding population is estimated to be over 300,000 pairs. Nests are usually made from a roughly circular pile of stones and can be quite large, 20 cm. (7.9 in.) high and 25 cm (9.8 in) in diameter. The stones are jealously guarded and their ownership can be the subject of noisy disputes between individual penguins. They are also prized by the females, even to the point that a male penguin can obtain the favors of a female by offering her a nice stone.

The Jason Islands (Spanish: Islas Sebaldes) are an archipelago in the Falkland Islands, lying to the far north-west of West Falkland. Three of the islands, Steeple Jason, Grand Jason and Clarke's Islet, are private nature reserves owned by the Wildlife Conservation Society of New York City. Other islands in the group are National Nature Reserves owned by the Falkland Islands Government.

The uninhabited Jason Islands were purchased by Len Hill in March 1970 as his personal penguin rookery. Leonard W. Hill was a British bird-lover who realized his boyhood dream of building a bird sanctuary in England. The sanctuary is the "Birdland Zoo Gardens", located at Burton-on-the-Water, in Gloucestershire. By a stroke of fate, the Jason Islands were offered to Len for £10,000, which included sheep that had been stocked by the previous owner. After some negotiation, he bought the islands for £5,500 without the sheep.

Len turned the islands into a private reserve for the many birds who made the islands their home, although he did enlist some of the inhabitants for his sanctuary at Burton-on-the-Water. Len also provided birds from his islands to other conservation parks in return for specimens to stock the Birdland Zoo Gardens.


Despite being a successful businessman, the cost of running his sanctuary and purchasing the Jason Islands had stretched his finances. In 1970 Len issued a postage stamp by the "Jason Island" and the sales of this stamp helped to generate revenue for his enterprises. The postage stamp was printed by @Harrison and Sons", the British security printer who has printed British postage stamps for many years. Beneath the banner of "Conservation Year 1970" are a portrait of Len Hill, a picture of Grand and Steeple Islands, and Gentoo penguins.

In the late 1970s Len Hill decided to issue banknotes, purportedly authorized by the Jason Islands. The banknotes were evidently a second attempt to raise money for his conservation activities. The notes consist of five denominations, which are in ascending size and different colours.

The notes are: 50 pence (green), 1 pound (purple), 5 pounds (red), 10 pounds (blue) and 20 pounds (brown).

The design is common to all denominations. "Jason Islands" appears in the top center, the denomination appears at the lower center and Len Hill’s signature, as ‘Administrator’, appears in the center.

The 20-pound notes have "6H 4483", the 10-pound notes have "6H 4484", and the numbers increment to the 50 pence note which has "6H 4487". The numbers are incorporated in the design of the note and are not applied as a secondary process.

It is not known when the notes were issued, but on their back is the statement: "Valid until 31 December 1979". This declaration cleverly protects the issuer from a claim at a later date, and this strategy is used by a number of issuers of private banknotes. The statement also suggests that the notes were issued in 1978 or 1979. The total number of notes issued by Len Hill is unknown, but it is most likely to have been many thousand.

The other missing piece of information is the identity of the printer. Despite being of simple production, the notes are very well printed with the fine lines being clear and well-defined on each note.

The issue of notes by Len Hill caused no concern to the Government of the Falkland Islands. The Government has the sole right to issue notes in the Falkland Islands, which of course includes the Jason Islands. When the notes were issued the authorities on the Falkland Islands quite sensibly viewed the issue as a private sector initiative and took no action against the owner of the Jason Islands.


10 Pounds 1978

The backs of all notes carry the same design, differing only for the text and numerals that give the value of the note. The dominant design is of a vignette of one of the Jason Islands, from which stretches a panel that includes the text "Jason Islands" and the denomination of the note. Peeping above this panel are some flowers, while their stems appear just below the panel. The remainder of the design is constructed with geometric patterns, which in places produce a moire effect.

highest point

Presumably, on banknote is the highest point of Jason islands - the mountain on Steeple Island, 290 meters (952 feet) high.