The US Treasury is selling red "lai see" envelopes with "lucky" dollars bearing auspicious serial numbers to mark the Chinese Year of the Horse next year.
Exactly 88,888 of the US$1 notes went on sale yesterday, each stuck in a red envelope blazoned with New Year's greetings and horse pictures.
The serial number on each note begins with 8888.
The Treasury is selling each note, with envelope, for US$5.95, though the prices falls to US$4.50 for 50 or more, and US$3.95 apiece for 1,000 or more.
Cheng Wang, a retired official of the Treasury's Bureau of Engraving and Printing, said the annual lucky banknote issue was a hit, especially in years represented by the most propitious animal symbols of the Chinese zodiac. "The Year of the Dragon , it was sold out in one week. That's how hot it was," he said. "The Year of the Horse is good too. You reach a goal with a horse."
The Lunar New Year will fall on January 31.