People queue up to buy Olympic banknotes at a bank in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, yesterday. Inset: A woman holds up one of the limited-edition 10-yuan notes in Beijing.
Dong Changchun was a happy man yesterday, after his patience was rewarded with one of the 6 million commemorative 10-yuan banknotes issued by the People's Bank of China (PBOC) to celebrate the Beijing Olympics.
"I spent the whole night outside the bank to make sure I got one of the 100 banknotes it was issuing," Dong, who was first in line at the Chedaogou branch of the Bank of China in Beijing yesterday, said.
"But my tiredness soon faded when I got what I had been waiting for," he said.
"The notes are quite meaningful for Chinese people, as they are an everlasting memento of the Beijing Olympic Games," he said.
Long queues of eager buyers formed yesterday outside each of the 300 bank branches in Beijing designated to sell the notes.
An anonymous client manager at the Huixinxijie branch of the Bank of Communications said: "People started queuing last night, and the 50 bills were sold out in less than half an hour after we opened at 8:30 AM."
This latest issuance is the third time the central bank has printed special notes to commemorate a major event. The first was in 1999, to mark the 50th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, and the second was in 2000, to celebrate the new millennium.
The new 10-yuan note is greenish-blue in color and measures 148.5 mm by 72 mm, making it slightly larger than the regular note in circulation.
On one side is an image of the Bird's Nest stadium set against the Temple of Heaven, and the Beijing Olympic emblem, while on the other is a print of Greek sculptor Myron's famous work "Discobolus" (discus thrower).
The note features watermarks and other anti-counterfeiting technologies, the PBOC said.