Shanghai 1930 Gold Backed Currency

by Martin Armstrong

QUESTION: Mr. Armstrong, what were the gold custom units issued by the Bank of China with the image of Sun Yat-sen.


ANSWER: The Customs Gold Unit (CGU) was a currency issued by the Central Bank of China between 1930 and 1948. On May 1, 1930, the Central Bank of China put in circulation notes in denominations of 0.10, 0.20, 1, 5, and 10 Customs Gold Units. These notes were printed by American Bank Note Company and dated 1930. CGU notes were originally issued by the Central Bank of China for payment of import duties. These notes were backed by U.S. dollars until 1935.

During and after WWII, the large-size CGU notes were issued for general circulation in China. The vertical face depicts Sun Yat-sen, who was the first president of the Republic of China. The reverse side features the Customs House in Shanghai, which was the commercial and financial hub of China.