header Notes Collection

5 Dollars 1977, Solomon Islands

in Krause book Number: 6а
Years of issue: 24.10.1977
Signatures: Chairman: Mr. John Palfrey , Member Monetary Authority: Mr. Jezriel Korinihona
Serie: 1977 Serie
Specimen of: 24.10.1977
Material: Cotton fiber
Size (mm): 144 x 72
Printer: TDLR (Thomas de la Rue & Company), London

* 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.

5 Dollars 1977




The Sanford's sea eagle catching fish.

The Sanford's sea eagle (Haliaeetus sanfordi), sometimes listed as Sanford's fish eagle or Solomon eagle, is a sea eagle endemic to the Solomon Islands. The "sea eagle" name is to be preferred, to distinguish the species of Haliaeetus from the closely related Ichthyophaga true fish eagles. The species was described in 1935 by Ernst Mayr who noticed that earlier observers had overlooked it, thinking it was a juvenile of the white-bellied sea eagle.

The Sanford's sea eagle was discovered by and named after Dr Leonard C. Sanford, a trustee for the American Museum of Natural History. The first description was by Ernst Mayr in 1935. It can reach a length between 70-90 cm. (28-35 in.) and a weight between 1.1-2.7 kg. (2.4-6.0 lb.). The wingspan is between 165-185 cm. (5.41-6.07 ft.). It is the only large predator on the Solomon Islands. The eagles inhabits coastal forests and lakes up to an altitude of about 1500 m. asl.

The plumage is whitish brown to bright brown on the head and the neck. The underparts are brown to reddish brown and dark brown. The upperparts are darkish brown to gray-black. The eyes are bright brown. Uniquely among sea eagles, this species has an entirely dark tail throughout its life.

The breeding season is from August to October. The nest consists of two eggs.

The diet consists of mainly of tideline carrion, fish, molluscs, crabs, tortoises, and sea snakes, and more rarely birds and megabats snatched from the rainforest canopy. It has also been reported to feed opportunistically on the northern common cuscus.


5 Dollars 1977

HM The Queen Elizabeth II

The original photograph, on which the engraving is based, was an official portrait taken around 1962 by Anthony Buckley in Buckingham palace.

The engraving of this portrait, which was used for the Canadian 1- and 2-dollar notes issued in 1973 and for the 20-dollar notes issued in 1969 and 1979, was executed by George Gundersen of the British American Banknote Company.

HM The Queen Elizabeth II.

This portrait depicts Queen Elizabeth in an evening dress, wearing a diamond necklace and diamond earrings.

South African Necklace and Bracelet

The diamond necklace was presented to Elizabeth in April 1947, while she was still a princess, as a gift from the people of South Africa. The necklace was originally constructed with twenty-one large diamonds, connected by links that contained two small brilliant-cut diamonds mounted to either side of a baguette diamond. Shortly after Elizabeth ascended the throne, she had the necklace shortened to fifteen large stones, with the remaining stones being made into a matching bracelet. The necklace worn in this portrait is the shortened version. (From Her Majesty's Jewel Vault)

queen mary cluster earrings

The earrings worn by Queen Elizabeth are Queen Mary’s Cluster Earrings.

These earrings were made for Queen Mary in 1922 of a central large diamond surrounded by two rows of diamonds set in platinum with millegrain edging. According to Hugh Roberts in The Queen's Diamonds, the large diamonds originally set in the center were the Mackinnon diamonds, one of Queen Mary's wedding gifts. Those were later removed for use in Queen Mary's Floret Earrings, and were replaced in the cluster earrings by another two diamonds from her wedding gifts, these from the Bombay Presidency.

The cluster earrings passed to the Queen in 1953, and she's used them for evening and cocktail events ever since. They are a large and impressively sparkling addition to her earring collection. (From Her Majesty's Jewel Vault)

On left side is a stylized image of the Frigate bird, in local traditions (emblem element and symbol of freedom).

Right are two Hornbills looking in different directions - Barava.

Barava are ornate openwork plaques hand-carved from semi-fossilized giant clam shell. Every tribe and clan in the Western Solomon Islands, in the ancient days, had a barava. It established the tribal identity and the ownership of land. The designs refer to tribal origins and the overall wealth of the tribe (butubutu). The Barava was sacred and was kept in the Tambu house.

The intricate openwork of these reticulate carvings is a lost art. No one alive today has ever seen one being created. The fossilized shell was taken from a quarry high on Mt. Kela (2283 feet) on the remote island of Ranongga. The location of the quarry was known to only a few, as it is today. (

At lower right are three fish.


On the right side and top right corner are the Solomon Islands jewelry.

Kap kap white shell disc with dark brown turtle shell filigree overlay, probably flower/plant motifs.

On banknote, probably, is Dala kapkap. It is still worn as a head or breast ornament on Malaita and Guadalcanal. The intricate overlay design is cut by hand. All photographs courtesy of a private collection.

Shell disk ornaments overlaid with filigree turtle shell are typical of the Solomon Islands. Commonly known as kapkaps, they were worn westward to New Ireland and on into the Papuan Gulf in Papua New-Guinea. (Art-Pacific (Carolyn Leigh - Ron Perry): Guide to artifacts)

ceremonial bowl

At the bottom is a Ceremonial, carved, Solomon Islands bowl. I did not find a photo of exactly the same dish as on the banknote. But what I found is very close to what is shown.

Denominations in numerals are in top and lower right corners, in words centered.


5 Dollars 1977

Native man of the Solomon Islands with traditional martial canoe (Traditional Solomon Islands War Canoe).

On the background is a hut on the beach.

The War Canoe of the Western Province.

The war canoe from Western Province was once a revered sight in the waters of the Western Solomon Islands.

It comes from the people of Roviana in the Western Province, known as "Tomoko" in their native mother tongue. The Tomoko was used during the head hunting days to carry war raiding parties.

The maximum the Tomoko can carry depends on the size of the boat, but an average sized Tomoko could fit fifty to two hundred warriors.

Often, when these warriors were paddling, they call on their gods and deities for strength. "They were all possessed by the gods, who makes their body strong during travel, it also prepares them for fighting".

This ancient god is called Tiola, when the warriors go out to war, they call on him because they regarded it as the god of the province. Even now, when there is an escort in the Western province for a celebration, they still use the war canoe, some still pray to the Tiola to paddle the canoe.


This photograph shows warriors alongside their war canoes on the beach at Vella Lavella, one of the Solomon Islands. The photograph was taken by Edward A. Salisbury (1875-1962), an American explorer, writer, and early producer of travel films who in the 1920s published many accounts of his expeditions to the South Pacific in Asia: The American Magazine of the Orient. Salisbury’s article, “A Napoleon of the Solomons”, which appeared in the September 1922 issue of Asia, was a portrait of Gau, the warrior king of Vella Lavella. Salisbury described the war canoes as “magnificent pieces of workmanship, 35 to 50 feet long, holding from 40 to 100 men, and though without outriggers, seaworthy…. The sides of the canoes were beautifully inlaid with pearl shells in fantastic designs. At both stem and stern were twelve-foot beaks decorated with conch-shells.” (inkbluesky)

Nguzu Nguzu

At lower left side and in top right corner are the figureheads from the canoes.

On the photo is followed figurehead:

Date: late XIX - early XX century.

Geography: Solomon Islands, New Georgia Island possibly, Western province.

Culture: New Georgia Island.

Medium: Wood, paint, shell.

Dimensions: H. 5 1/2 x W. 4 1/2 in. (14 x 11.4 cm).

Classification: Wood-Sculpture.

Credit Line: Gift of Morris J. Pinto, 1976.

On banknote is Canoe Figurehead (Nguzu Nguzu, Musu Musu, or Toto Isu).

Canoes in the western Solomon Islands were essential to transportation, fishing, and warfare. In former times, they were lavishly adorned. The centerpiece of the prow was a distinctive figurehead, known variously as a nguzu nguzu, musu musu, or toto isu. Attached at the waterline so that it dipped in the sea as the canoe rode the waves, the figurehead reportedly served as a supernatural protector, ensuring safe passage and a successful expedition. The images are typically busts depicted with large heads wearing circular ear ornaments and small arms with the hands raised to the chin or clasping a head or bird. The jutting jaws of the images were reportedly attributes of spirits, and nguzu nguzu are sometimes said to depict, or

afford protection from, dangerous sea spirits called kesoko. (The metropolitan Museum of Art)

On the elft side are, again, the Solomon Islands jewelry.

Denominations in numerals are in top and lower left corners, in words and in numeral in lower right corner.


HM Queen Elizabeth II HM Queen Elizabeth IIThe notes of the Solomon Islands were prepared by Thomas De la Rue and this portrait is slightly different to the engraving prepared for the Canadian notes. The De La Rue image uses finer lines in the shading of the face and The Queen looks a little more severe than in the Canadian notes.

On 24 October 1977, banknotes were introduced in denominations of 2, 5 and 10 dollars, with 20 dollar notes added on 24 October 1980. The first issues of banknotes depicted Queen Elizabeth II. However, all new series afterwards had her image replaced with that of the national crest. 50 dollar notes were first introduced in 1986, followed by 100 dollar notes in 2006.