The very first commemorative banknote in my collection was the 2000 lei Romanian banknote issued in 2000. Dedicated to a total solar eclipse, it  was also the first polymer banknote in Europe.

On May 9, 2000, I was traveling by train across Romania, from Bucharest to Timisoara, it was a long journey, about 8 hours. In the middle of the trip, a seller of chocolate, biscuits and water passed by on the train. As I was bored, I decided to buy something from him, I gave him a 5000 lei banknote and waited for the change. You should have seen my surprise and my eyes when he took out his wallet, and there were 2000 lei polymer banknotes in it. I began to point my finger at them and say that I agree to receive change only with these banknotes and no others.

Moreover, I agreed to buy all 2000 lei banknotes from him and I was ready to pay more than face value.

He thought I was crazy, twisted his finger at his temple, gave me change in coins and went on to the train’s end. But I decided to go till the end, waited for his return and explained to him that I am a collector and polymer banknotes for me - this is a very big find, I cannot forgive myself if I miss and do not receive it. Then he smiled and exchanged one banknote for me.

These banknotes can still be bought at the Central Bank of Romania quite calmly, but then it seemed to me that I had acquired the rarest, best, most exquisite banknote in my collection. The banknote showed a map of Romania, painted with the colors of the national flag, indicating the passage of the solar eclipse on August 11, 1999. The map shows the areas and cities where the eclipse was most noticeable.

Since then, my experience with commemoratives has expanded significantly and now in my collection there are many banknotes from various countries. I am attracted by their unusual performance, the originality of the equipment and the additions in design. And also, I perfectly understand that they are issued on special dates and for the citizens of their country, these dates are of particular value. And it often happens that they have a limited edition so it’s not always easy to get them.

The photo shows a commemorative 2000 Peso Philippine banknote issued in 1998 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of independence from Spain.

Do you collect commemorative banknotes?