Foreign Paper Money

Or, how to search for what your foreign paper money might be...

There are various ways of identifying a banknote from a money image, but the following shows ways of using a search engine for that purpose.


A lady called Carol asked me (via my contact me page) about a particular foreign paper money banknote (or bill) that she had that she wanted to find out about, so I did a quick search for her to find out.


Can you please tell me what country has a $50.00 bill with a woman/angel on one side and a circle in the center of an archway with the letters RIKO? Lettering is not an English alphabet, more like Greek.

Carol, United States


I like research, so I figured this shouldn’t be too difficult.

It turned out that it wasn’t really difficult at all. It took me about 10 or 15 minutes. However, I guess it depends on how well practiced you are at searching. So, here are the details of what I did:

My foreign paper money search:

The following is the search methodology that I used to answer Carol's question:

1.    Opened up a search engine (Google) in a web browser.

2.    Clicked through to image search.

3.    Entered "money $50.00 woman angel RIKO" in the search box.

4.    Looked through the resulting images – however I soon realised this wasn't going to help me find the image. There were lots of images of women's jeans, bags and jewellery.

5.    Tried "money woman angel RIKO" as an image search, but just got lots of images of people and Manga cartoon characters.

6.    Went back to the normal Google web search page and tried the search term "money woman angel RIKO". This gave me some interesting results, of which NOT ONE in the top 10 results was at all relevant. The results included Wikipedia pages on a music rapper and something about racketeering, pages on Angel investors and women entrepreneurs, Youtube & MP3 results, a relationship matchmaking website, and a couple of sites about Manga cartoons.

7.    Tried "money & RIKO", but got video and audio pages (and pages and pages) about music tracks by Kingpin, featuring Scrufizzer, P Money & Riko Dan.

Yup, not what I was after…!

8.    Back to the search engine. Tried typing "money notes" and Google helpfully suggested keyword searches that others had done, so I chose the most relevant: "money notes from around the world".

9.    Hey presto! Getting somewhere now. The results included images of foreign paper money, people selling foreign currency banknotes, and one, entitled World Currency Museum, from (

10.  Clicked through and looked at their page. I thought, if I'm lucky, there might be a search box for people to use to search through the site.

11.  Great! Typed "RIKO" in the search box on their website.

12.  Nothing, no results

13.  Tried "50".

14.  Lots of results – had a look at a few – China, Japan, Korea.

15.  Too many results, so I tried "50 arch".

16.  Bingo! A few more, different results. Including the one that must be Carol's. The answer is (drum roll, please!):


(scroll down)

Macedonia 50 denari note from 1996

Copyright: property of Audrius Tomonis &

Obverse: Copper Folis, Emperor Anastasie I (491-518); decorative stucco arch from the south wall of the church of St. Pantheleimon in Gorno Nerezi, Skopje.

Reverse: Archangel Gabriel from the the scene of the Annunciation on the east wall of the church of St.Ghiorghi in Kurbinovo on the Lake Prespa.

Watermark: Copper Folis

› Foreign Paper Money

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