Did You Know: The 500 Peso Note in the Philippines Features a Rolleiflex TLR


Here’s an interesting photo trivia question: can you name any major world currencies that feature an image of a camera?

Answer: the old five hundred peso bill over in the Philippines. On the back of the original series is an image of a Rolleiflex twin-lens reflex camera!

The bill was first issued back in 1987 after the assassination of Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr. in 1983. Aquino is a national hero, and his son Benigno Aquino III is the current President of the Philippines.

The front of the bill features a portrait of Aquino:


On the back of the bill is a collage showing Aquino at various points in his life. One of the portraits is of Aquino’s time as a journalist for The Manila Times. At age 17, Aquino was the youngest war correspondent to cover the Korean War for that newspaper (he would receive an award from the country’s president the next year for his work):


The portrait illustration shows Aquino writing on some paper with his right hand. At his left hand is a Rolleiflex camera. Look closely, and the brand name can be clearly seen across the front of the camera body:


This particular bill design was replaced a few years ago with one that features Aquino and his wife on the front. Sadly, there’s no camera to be seen on the reverse side of the newly issued bills.

If you’re dying to spend cash that has a camera on it, head on over to the Philippines soon — the “Rolleiflex” 500 peso note is still legal tender, but only until 2014.

Thanks for sending in the tip, Tim!

  • Nate Matos
  • Ely Poink Poingk

    ripoff 500php = 12usd

  • ChairmanKaga

    Well, it’s already being faced-out and will stop from being used by 2014. I’d say it’s a bargain if you’re not from PH that is.

  • Tom Milton

    or the reverse of a thai 1000 baht note, the king is holding an slr

  • hugh crawford

    Until 1996 the US $10 bill had a man taking a photograph with a Graflex 4×5 SLR camera on the back. It’s the bill with a picture of the US treasury building at a diagonal with a 1920s car. One of the figures is holding a 4×5 SLR camera

  • Marco

    Wow, i have a bunch of these in my wallet and never noticed the camera until I read this article. Well spotted Michael!

  • Matt Mills

    There’s a Canon DSLR on the 1000 bhat note from Tailand. Apparently the king is quite the photo enthusiast. :-)

  • Michael Zhang
  • petervandever

    Aquino is FAR from a hero!!!!!!!!!!