Yesterday I read a very interesting article on the website FTM.nl (Follow The Money) titled "This is our new currency (if things go wrong with the euro)". It's an investigative journalism site which is unfortunately behind a paywall, but if you sign-up you can read the first month for free after which the subscription is cancelled automatically (articles are in Dutch but Google Translate will get you pretty far, for those interested).
Anyway, what peaked my interest was of course the title and subject of the article. There have always been rumours that during the Greek debt crisis the financial world and the Finance Ministers in particular took into consideration that the euro might collapse. What then? We couldn't just open the vaults and bring out the old gulden banknotes again.
The Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem never publicly admitted it but in deepest secret the Dutch banknote printer Royal Joh. Enschedé was preparing for exactly such an event. The article describes the search for these illustrious banknotes and the secrecy surrounding the production. Even admitting that such banknotes were being printed for a worst case scenario could very well have been explained as the Dutch already giving up on the euro furthering its downfall.
Although the journalist eventually had confirmation that the banknotes had indeed be printed, he never had visual proof of them. Rumour has it that they are still being kept in a gigantic vault in the middle of The Netherlands. No proof, until he met a retired public servant from the Dutch Ministry of Finance who (after some hesitation) showed him the note below.
It's supposed to be a banknote of 5-florijn, the so-called proposed new currency of the post-euro Netherlands. As you may know, the florijn has been a currency in the past and is still used today in some parts of the world. How totally awesome would a find like that be??
Well... it's not. What the journalist was shown is a 5-florijn testnote from Royal Joh. Enschedé. A note which is not a secret at all but can be bought on eBay. The search for the real secret post-euro banknotes continues, I guess.
Yes'it's that time of the year again: voting has started to elect the Banknote of the Year 2016. The winner will be decided by a vote of the IBNS, who will consider the artistic merit, design, use of colour, contrast, balance, and security features of each nomination. The winner will be announced at the the first IBNS Board meeting of the year in Valkenburg, the Netherlands in April 2017 at the annual Paper Money Fair.
Every member of the IBNS is able to vote and choose their personal top 3. I haven't nominated any banknotes myself this year because the note I wanted to nominate (the Swiss 50-francs note), had already been sent in by another IBNS member.
This video was recently posted on YouTube: The Evolution of the American One Dollar Bill. Some real beauty's here! And I never realised that the very first dollar note from 1862 didn't have George Washington on the front but Salmon P. Chase who was Secretary of the Treasury from 1861-1864 and used the note for better recognition of his face to further his political career.
On Tuesday 13 September 2016 the new polymer 5-pound note will be issued to the British public at last. Because of that historic moment a very nice article has appeared on the site of The Telegraph. A look inside the vaults of the Bank of England and a rare insight into the process of getting the new banknote into the hands of the British citizens. I especially liked the photos of places most people never get to see.
The oldest banknote from 1697 and the new polymer 5-pound. (Credit: Heathcliff O'Malley)
Historic notes, sketches and unique banknote artwork, printing plates and test prints will all be on display.
In the new gallery you can:
Discover the origins of paper money in ancient China, and how the ‘running cash’ notes of sixteenth-century Britain became the precursors to our modern banknotes.
Find out the story behind the ‘Inimitable Note’ competition: a quest at the beginning of the 1800s to create a banknote that couldn’t be copied, and the many intricate and beautiful designs that were the result.
Explore the complex designs that make banknotes difficult to counterfeit, and how cutting-edge technology is used to create the Bank of England’s newest note, the polymer £5.
Trace the lifecycle of your banknotes from initial design and manufacture to destruction and recycling.
What would have happened if the Cold War had turned into a Hot War and the armed forces of the Warsaw Pact would have steamrolled into Western Europe? More precisely and on-topic: what kind of banknotes would I have used living in the Netherlands?
I love to ponder these 'what if'-questions, to explore the road not taken. Luckily sometimes we get a glimpse of that alternative universe. The Narodowy Bank Polski (National Bank of Poland) has for the first time made public what banknotes would've been in our pockets if countries like Denmark, the Netherlands and West-Germany would have been captured by the Warsaw Pact. Surprisingly they would have been Polish!
"Codenamed E-17, the crisp notes were issued in the 1970s and kept locked in chests deep in the bowels of Poland’s central bank. They were classified as top secret until 2015. (...) Emblazoned with the skylines of several Polish cities, the notes range in value from one to 2,000 zloty and will be on public display at the national mint in Warsaw as of next year."
I am very glad these events haven't come to pass... But then again, from a historical and numismatical perspective, how cool are these notes?!
The Guardian reports that a rival Central Bank in Libya might issue competing banknotes. This will certainly help to solve the already chaotic situation in Libya...
"A political battle between the UN-recognised Tripoli government led by Fayez Sarraj and the Tobruk-based parliament loyal to General Khalifa Haftar in the east has led to parallel splits in the country’s financial institutions, with two central banks threatening to circulate rival Libyan dinar banknotes in the country.
De La Rue, the Basingstoke-based currency printer and a long-term supplier of notes to the Libyan government in Tripoli, sent 70m dinars, worth about $50m, to the country last month and is in the process of delivering a further 1bn dinars before and during Ramadan.
A rival bank governor in the east, Ali Salim al-Hibri, once recognised as the bank governor by the IMF, claims to have printed 4bn dinars worth of banknotes with the help of the Russian state.
The two currencies would have different serial numbers, security details and watermarks, diplomats say. The danger is two central banks flooding the country with conflicting currencies that are not interchangeable in banks. They are also likely to worsen inflation. Food inflation has reached 14% a year."
Update 29 May 2016: I deleted the previous posted images. The images below are the notes issued by the rival central bank. The are slightly different from the already issued new notes: the new notes have different security features, watermarks, and serial numbers and are printed in Russia. The two central banks have apparently agreed to supervise the issue of new notes. The new notes are expected to be issued from 1 June 2016.
Update 11 July 2016: The "Russian" 50-dinars notes used in the west can be distinguished from the "British" ones used in the east because they have uniform serial numbers instead of ascending and lack the seal at the left top of the front.
Good news if you happen to be a criminal in search for ways to transport your dirty money in a convenient way. The Swiss National Bank (SNB) has announced that it will not follow the example of the European Central Bank when they announced the end of their highest denomination. The 500-euro note might be coming to an end but the Swiss 1,000-franc note will be available to us all. In a matter of speaking for most of us...
"The cabinet argued that the Money Laundering Reporting Office (MROS) had also not received any information on the illegal use of high-value banknotes."
The Hurriyet Daily News reports that Nobel laureate Aziz Sancar has found a mistake in the DNA helix on the Turkish 5-lira note.
"Speaking during a visit to schools in Istanbul’s Üsküdar district on May 21, Sancar said the left-handed Z-DNA helix on the reverse of the banknote mistakenly wound from left to right. He added that he informed the Central Bank about the mistake five years ago but there had been no change yet.
Issued on Jan 1, 2009, the left side on the reverse of the 5 lira banknote features a portrait of Turkish scientist Adnan Sayili along with pictures of the left-handed Z-DNA helix, atomic symbols, the solar system, and hand figures.
Sancar, who currently works at the University of North Carolina, was among three scientists awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2015 for their work on DNA repair. He won the prize along with Tomas Lindahl and Paul Modrich for their work in mapping cells that repair ultraviolet damage to DNA. The research marks an important step in the quest to beat cancer."
Bloomberg reports that Innovia Group will buy Barroven, an Australian maker of secure inks. This move is seen as Innovia trying to secure the supply chain needed for making polymer substrate used for polymer banknotes.
Innovia is responsible for 99.9% of all polymer sheets used for making plastic banknotes. From its new facility in Wigton, Innovia will be manufacturing the new polymer banknote substrate for the Bank of England beginning with the £5 note due to be issued in September 2016 and the new £10 note in 2017.
Hello, I'm Steven Bron and welcome to my blog on banknotes! Here you can find: breaking news, background articles and of course my personal collection (world notes or at least one from each country, commemorative notes and polymer notes).