This chapter focuses on ghost bills which, as a paper simulation of real money made from paper, seem to defeat the conceptual power of a “paper money” and thus appear more real than the other, older forms of paper money. After providing an overview of the history and diffusion of ghost bills, the chapter considers the semiotics and use of ghost bills such as the Hell Bank Note. In particular, it examines the extent to which ghost bills represent a paradigm shift in the paper money tradition. It also discusses the identity of human figures and bank officials printed on paper notes; replicas of national currencies; notes that resemble the real-world Renminbi (RMB); face values and inflationary tendencies of ghost bills; signs of decommoditization of ghost bills; and a pedagogy of ghost bills.
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