Banknote of the Year update

The 200 Rand I nominated for Banknote fo the Year 2012 is now featured on the IBNS website! You can still nominate your own favourite until 31 January 2013.

Steven Thursday 17 January 2013 at 10:14 am | | links | No comments
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Salta Province Bonds

I found an interesting article on the site of LANSA, the Latin American Paper Money Society, regarding the Salta Province Bonds from Argentina. Having been issued in 1985 this was so called quasi-money which could only be used in the nothern province of Salta. I also have one in my collection which you can see here.

Steven Thursday 17 January 2013 at 08:34 am | | links | No comments
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No new signature on New Zealand banknotes yet

Radio New Zealand reports that banknotes bearing the signature of new Reserve Bank Governor Graeme Wheeler may not be in circulation till the end of next year. The Reserve Bank of New Zealand says all notes produced since Mr Wheeler took over the governor's position will have his signature on them.

But it will take some time to work through a stock of notes bearing the signature of previous governor, Alan Bollard, who left the bank after 10 years last September. A spokesperson said how quickly notes bearing the signature of the new governor will be in circulation, will depend on demand for new notes. Given expected levels of demand it could be late 2014 before the public see notes bearing Mr Wheeler's signature.

Graeme Wheeler was appointed Governor of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand in September 2012.

Steven Wednesday 16 January 2013 at 08:35 am | | news | No comments
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Banknotes and the Lunar New Year

Two stories about the preparation for the festivities in Singapore and Macau regarding the Lunar New Year (10 februari 2013). Traditionally people want new and special banknotes as a gift for loved ones... but also to speculate. 

Macau has authorised the Banco Nacional Ultramarino (BNU) and the Bank of China from 2012 to 2023 to issue a maximum of 20 million special notes with a face value of 10 patacas for the forthcoming Lunar Year of the Snake. Last year with the Year of the Dragon 'only' 10 million notes were printed which led to ridiculous speculation. Especially the banknotes with one or more 8's at the end of the serial number were sold for top prizes.

Singapore in the meantime has a tradition of presenting clean crisp new banknotes to family and friends for Hong Bao, the Lunar New Year. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has urged the people of Singapore to use "good as new" notes instead of the crispy new ones. In the past MAS would print and issue an additional 50 million notes to meet the temporary demand for uncirculated notes, but this was much more than the economy actually needed to function. By encouraging the public to accept these "good as new" recirculated notes, MAS hopes to cut its production costs and is also marketing the effort as good for the environment.

Happy Lunar New Year!

Steven Monday 14 January 2013 at 2:21 pm | | news | No comments

Samoa: new type 100 Tala

Samoa has issued a new type of their 100 Tala note. The image is more are less the same as the old note but this one has new signatures (Faumuina Tiatia Faaolatane Liuga and Maiava Atalina Ainuu-Enari) and there is pattern visible at the top and bottom of the note which wasn't there before.

Is it just me or does Samoa always nail it with their design? The last series of banknotes is stunning! 

Pictures from another site, I'm looking for a 'clean' version without a link on it.

Steven Monday 14 January 2013 at 1:56 pm | | news | No comments
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New polymer banknote for Paraguay

Banknotenews reports that Paraguay is going to issue a new 5000 guarani note made from polymer. This will be the first polymer note for Paraguay.  According to this post the note will be issued on 14 January 2013. The new banknote appears to be dated 2011, and is probably printed by Canadian Bank Note Company.

Video after the click

Read on

Steven Sunday 13 January 2013 at 2:08 pm | | news | No comments
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Banknote of the Year 2012: competition is still open!

The IBNS has published the nominees so far for the Banknote of the Year 2012. The nominees are (in random order):

My personal favourite of these six nominees is the Canadian 50 Dollar which I think is beautiful and innovative. But I'm also missing the gorgeous new notes from South Africa with Nelson Mandela on the front and one of the Big Five animals on the back. So I nominated the 200 Rand note today because I think it's worth at least to be nominated (see image below).

If you also want to nominate a banknote, you can do so until 31 January 2013. Banknotes nominated must have been issued to the public (specimens and non-circulating currencies are inelligble) for the first time during 2012, and must have artistic merit and/or innovative security features. 

E-mail with the details, and your membership number (if possible please include a scan of the front and back of your nomination).

Steven Saturday 12 January 2013 at 5:05 pm | | links | No comments

Number of euro counterfeits drops

Besides the presentation of the new 5 euro yesterday the European Central Bank also had other news to report. The ECB said it removed 12,4% fewer counterfeit euro banknotes from circulation in 2012 than in the previous year. The bank withdrew about 531.000 forged notes compared with 606.000 in 2011.

The 20 euro and 50 euro notes continue to be the most forged (together 82,5% of all discovered fakes). The 100 euro banknote was the third-most counterfeited denomination (13%). A complete breakdown of the numbers:

"When compared with the number of genuine euro banknotes in circulation (on average 14.9 billion during the second half of 2012), the proportion of counterfeits remains very low" according to the ECB.

The majority (97.5%) of counterfeits recovered in the second half of 2012 were found in euro area countries, with only around 2% being found in EU Member States outside the euro area and 0.5% being found in other parts of the world.

Steven Friday 11 January 2013 at 09:17 am | | news | No comments
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New 5 euro presented

All has been revealed!

© European Central Bank
© European Central Bank


Mario Draghi, President of the European Central Bank (ECB), today unveiled the Europa series €5 banknote. The unveiling was the highlight of the opening of the “New Face of the Euro” exhibition, which is being held at the Archaeological Museum in Frankfurt am Main from 11 January to 10 March 2013.

© European Central Bank

The new €5 banknote has benefited from advances in banknote technology since the first series was introduced over ten years ago. It includes some new and enhanced security features. The watermark and hologram display a portrait of Europa, a figure from Greek mythology – and hence the name of this series of banknotes. An eye-catching “emerald number” changes colour from emerald green to deep blue and displays an effect of the light that moves up and down.

© European Central Bank

Short raised lines on the left and right edges of the banknote make it easier to identify the banknote, especially for visually impaired people.

© European Central Bank

These security features are planned to be included in all the new banknotes. They are easy to check using the “feel, look and tilt” method.

© European Central Bank

The new series has the same “ages and styles” design and dominant colours as the first series. The €5 will be the first banknote to be issued, starting on 2 May 2013. The other denominations, i.e. €10, €20, €50, €100, €200 and €500, will be introduced over the next few years, in ascending order.

The first series will initially circulate alongside the new banknotes, but will gradually be withdrawn and eventually cease to be legal tender. The date when this occurs will be announced well in advance. However, the banknotes of the first series will retain their value indefinitely and can be exchanged at euro area national central banks at any time.

Further information is available in a press kit and at This website also includes the “Euro Cash Academy”, a learning module which takes a playful approach to the new €5 and other euro banknotes. In addition, leaflets about the new €5 will be distributed to banks, shops and other businesses across the euro area in April 2013. All these measures should give the public and professional cash handlers an opportunity to learn about the new banknotes in good time and this should ensure a smooth introduction of the Europa series.

Another new security feature is the introduction of a security thread. The € symbol and the value of the banknote can be seen in tiny white lettering in that stripe:

© European Central Bank

Some downloads:

  • Pictures (zip - < 1 MB)
  • Press Kit (pdf)
  • Footage of the new €5 banknote (design and security features) (zip - 357 MB)
  • Footage of the production of the new €5 banknote (zip - 918 MB)

Steven Thursday 10 January 2013 at 8:32 pm | | news | No comments
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Jack Lew's signature

A rather funny story in New York Magazine about Jack Lew. In particular his signature. You might ask: what does it matter what the signature of the current chief of staff of president Obama looks like? Well, because mr. Lew is probably going to be the next Treasury Secretary of the United States and his signature will appear on the new dollar banknotes. So yes, it matters a little bit more than the average signature. What's so weird about it? Check for yourself in this photoshopped picture:


He wouldn't be the first Treasure Secretary who would change his John Hancock for his new job. The current Secretary Timothy Geithner also had to change his signature when he took up the job. You can view the before and after version in this interview. To see if any of the previous signatures were also a bit weird or ugly, you can view the entire list of signatures here.

I personally think Lew's signature is pretty cool!

Update 11-1-2013: President Obama jokes about the signature at the press conference announcing Lew's candidacy. He 'promises' that Lew will "make at least one letter legible in order not to debase our currency".

Update 12-1-2013: It just keeps on getting better. You can now see how Jack Lew would sign YOUR name by visiting this Jack Lew Signature Generator. LOL.

Steven Thursday 10 January 2013 at 3:09 pm | | fun, links | No comments

Unveiling of the new 5 euro today

Set your clocks to 16:30 CET when the new 5 euro will be unveiled by Mario Draghi of the ECB

Steven Thursday 10 January 2013 at 06:40 am | | news | No comments
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Canada's polymer money still under fire

What is the deal with Canada's polymer money? For some reason it keeps on getting bad press and nasty comments by angry users. Some of the recent articles I wrote or gathered:

  • There was the issue with the naked women on the 20 dollar which a few people found offensive for some reason. They turned out to be part of a statue commemorating fallen Canadian soldiers in France. Never let the facts get in the way of a good story, I guess.
  • Melting banknotes was the next issue. Polymer notes that melt in your hand, not in your mouth. Or something like that.
  • Now we also have angry shopowners who complain that some vending machines don't accept the polymer notes. There are about half a million machines in Canada that need reprogramming and the Canadians have managed to do so with about 50% of them. Nice job, considering that dummy's of the new banknotes have been sent out months ago.
  • Is that all? No, the new banknotes are also KILLING US with their germs! But wait, were there no germs on the old notes? Sure, but the polymer notes stick together so when people need to separate them, they lick their fingers. More so than with the old notes it seems. And so they infect the whole world with their nasty germs. If you're scared after reading this, try looking at your keyboard and mouse under a magnifier. It's generally speaking safer to lick a toilet seat than touch your co-workers computer stuff.

If you're interested in a more positive story on polymer notes, I suggest you look at this nice article from Scientific American that provides a bit of history and background on these little germ-infested, melting and sticky pieces of plastic.

© Bank of Canada

Steven Wednesday 09 January 2013 at 1:54 pm | | links | No comments
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