Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Controversy hits Shs20,000 note

By John Njoroge
Daily Monitor
December 30, 2010

Do you have a Shs20,000 note? Do you see an imprint of sculpture on the front left-hand-side? It turns out that the image was allegedly used without permission and the sculptress now wants to be compensated or to have the currency notes recalled less than a year after they were issued.

Sylivia Nabiteeko Katende, a senior lecturer at the Margaret Trowel School of Industrial and Fine Art at Makerere University, is suing the Bank of Uganda (BoU) for over Shs1 billion for what she calls fraudulent use of her intellectual property on the new Shs 20,000 banknotes released in May.

Never consulted, paid
In court papers seen by this newspaper, Ms Katende from the Department of Sculpture and Drawing, says she was never consulted, contracted or paid by the Central Bank to use an inprint of a sculpture she created in 2000.

Ms Katende says she created the sculpture, named the Socio Economic Growth of Kampala City, to commemorate the city’s centenary celebrations. The inprint of the sculpture was then used on the banknotes and Ms Katende says under the Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act No. 21 of 2000, she should have been consulted and paid for her work before the designers used it on the banknotes.

Her lawyers, who filed the suit on December 15 at the High Court in Kampala, want among other things, the court to halt the circulation of the currency note, until this dispute is resolved.

BoU’s assistant spokesperson Joy Kahwa confirmed knowledge of the suit.
“We will deal with it accordingly,” she said. She, however, added that the images used on all the new notes were public images collected by contracted artists.

“The images were not hidden. Anyone can see and take photos of them,” she said. Ms Katende disagrees, saying the original sculpture can be found in Makerere University while a prototype stands in the Centenary Park, overlooking the Jinja Road Traffic light intersection in Kampala City.

Among those involved in the design of the new banknotes are artist Raymond Nsereko, Uganda Peoples Defence Forces MP Gen. Elly Tumwine, who is also patron of the Uganda Artists Association, Mr Patrick Sserunjogi, Mr Emmanuel Mutungi, Mr Joseph Ssematimba and Dr George Kyeyune (Dean, Faculty of Industrial and Fine Art). It is said the group was paid over Shs2 billion for the design of the new currency notes.

Collectively, these artists sourced the images to be used in the banknotes. There was a review and selection process after which selected images were submitted to M/s De La Rue, the United Kingdom company also involved in the design. De La Rue then translated the images provided by the artists into banknote designs.

In October, Ms Katende notified BoU of her intention to sue them for using her works but no substantive response was given, prompting her lawsuit.

Investigations needed
Ms Katende’s lawyers are now seeking general damages and compensation, legal fees and interest for the fraudulent use of her intellectual property.
They are also asking the court to order an independent investigation into the circumstances under which the images of the sculpture was procured.

They want to know who made the judgment call to use images of the sculpture without the prior knowledge and express instructions of its creator.
Court will decide whether the notes should be withdrawn, the case dismissed or whether Ms Katende smiles all the way to the bank.

Friday, December 24, 2010

More Germans Look Back at the Mark With Fondness

Alan Cowell
The New York Times
December 23, 2010

BERLIN — For the infrequent flier landing here from anyplace else in the euro zone, or at least for people with longish memories, there is still a lingering sense of novelty in the single-currency bills that do not need changing for the cab ride into town, the euro coins that buy an S-Bahn ticket in Berlin as easily as a Métro ride in Paris.

And, equally, there is a sense that those old Deutsche mark notes that preceded the euro — blue for 100s, green for 20s — did a pretty good job, too, even if you did have to buy them at banks or exchange booths, grumbling about inflated rates and usurious commissions.

It is, after all, only a brief nine years since Europe embarked on its greatest monetary experiment, trading national cash for a currency that optimists hoped would surpass the dollar. But as the euro has lurched in recent months from crisis to crisis over the indebtedness of some of the countries that use it, an older and unrealistic hankering for its predecessor is emerging.

Two years ago, opinion surveys here placed the number of Germans pining for a return to the mark at around a third. Now the figure is around half. At his open-air emporium of traditional seasonal fare, Joseph Nieke even accepts the old notes, which may still be exchanged for euros. “Bring out your marks!” says a sign next to the steaming kettles of mulled wine and trays of mettwurst and other pork products at a Christmas market on Unter den Linden near the State Opera.

He might get a shock if the entire nation took up his offer: according to the central bank, there are currently some 13.45 billion marks, the equivalent of roughly $8.7 billion, still to be handed in, squirreled away presumably under mattresses or in drawers, wallets or safety deposit boxes. That’s about 110 marks, or $70, for every one of Germany’s 80 million people.

Currencies, of course, are not just about money and, far more than in many lands, a chunk of recent German history has been inscribed on its bank notes.

In 1948, currency reform replaced the reichsmark, or imperial mark, with new marks, not once, but twice over — one for the Allied-occupied West and one for the Soviet-dominated East.

As the two Germanies grew ever more estranged, their bank notes mirrored their distinctions, reflecting what was called the abgrenzungspolitik, whereby East Germans laid claim to all that was good in Germany’s tortured history and ascribed the bad to the capitalist West.

Though technically worthless in the West as the inconvertible currency of a state-controlled economy, so-called Ost-marks proudly bore the portraits of Goethe and Schiller along with those of Marx and Engels. (In the 1960s, early Western bills displayed images reflecting values like civic pride and openness to the world.)

Across Europe, indeed, bank notes offered microcosms of national self-image. Symbols of inventiveness and élan, French banknotes portrayed the Curies, even though Marie Curie was Polish by birth, and the aviator Antoine de St. Exupéry. (In France, by law, most receipts still offer a conversion from euros to French francs, so nostalgia may not be an exclusively German characteristic.) Printed in fine shadings of blue, green and brown, Portuguese escudo bills celebrated the navigators who plied the oceans in their wooden ships, making landfall in Africa, India and the Americas.

After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, East Germans confronted a new shift when their currency was replaced by the Deutsche mark as part of the reunification of Germany. Just over a decade later, the euro was introduced, first in electronic trading, then, on Jan. 1, 2002, in the cash economy of an initial 12 European countries. That number has now grown to 16 countries, and is soon to be 17. All of them claimed to have signed up to standards of fiscal discipline, but some of those pledges now seem illusory.

In symbolic terms, the new euro bills with their bland, architectural neutrality almost seemed to represent the end of national pride and history: gone were the great navigators, poets, playwrights, inventors, ideologues. In came — bridges.

But in many southern European countries, the new currency offered a rite of passage into a club of northern prosperity and stability.

“The euro opens the geographic door,” said the Rev. Manuel Horacio Gomes, a Portuguese priest who was part of a broad campaign by the Roman Catholic Church to spell out to congregants the pros and cons of the euro.

The perils of that particular portal took less than a decade to emerge in the debt crises savaging the euro zone this year, with bailouts in Greece and Ireland, and nervous governments in Lisbon, Madrid and elsewhere pondering how far the contagion will spread as speculators seek to exploit the currency’s frailties.

It is happening at a time when many Europeans see Germans as uncoupling their own interests from the continent’s, reluctant to pay a cent (or pfennig?) more to rescue the profligate economies of their southern partners unless they finally sign on to Germany’s own standards of hard work and thrift.

And it is happening as the European debate takes an ominous turn. If it is argued that for the euro to work like the dollar works, it will have to be backed by the same political and fiscal cohesiveness as found in the United States, then the converse also holds true: as the currency goes, so goes the Continent.

“With every day that passes, the crisis of the euro is becoming more and more a crisis of the European Union,” wrote a columnist, Matthias Nass, in the weekly Die Zeit.

For all their nostalgia, most Germans are realists. Many might yearn privately for the old bills and the sense of ironclad, anti-inflationary security that came with them. But, like the political and business elite, far fewer believe that the clock may be reversed without severe economic hazard. And, with growing resentment, many here acknowledge that weaker economies will look to Germany to perform yet one more miracle, after postwar revival and the huge costs of reunification.

“The truth is,” Mr. Nass wrote, “the defense of the euro will be very expensive for the Germans. Unfortunately, we have no choice.”

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Banknotes could incorporate electronic components to deter counterfeiters

Brett James
Dec. 23, 2010 (2:55 pm)

Nothing beats the feeling of a crisp $20 bill in your hand, but it appears that not even good old fashioned cash will escape the might of the modern 21st century as New Scientist revealed that bank notes in the future may have electronic circuits stamped directly into the notes.

Modern banknotes already contain up to 50 anti-counterfeiting features, but by adding an electronic element that is deigned to confirm a note’s authenticity researchers hope this will be able to deter counterfeiters and allow the police to track the notes more easily in the event of theft.

A team of German and Japanese researchers are behind the technological breakthrough. They managed to create arrays of thin-film transistors (TFTs) by carefully depositing gold, aluminium oxide and organic molecules directly onto the notes through a patterned mask, building up the TFTs layer by layer. These TFT layers can then give off a small voltage (3v) which could transmit a signal wirelessly and be read by an external reader.

So far the tech has been tested on U.S. dollars, Swiss francs, Japanese yen and Euro notes. Although it seems that researchers have yet to work out how the organic electronics could be harnessed as an anti-counterfeit measure.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Bangko Sentral says ‘no errors’ in new banknotes

Business World
Tuesday, December 21, 2010 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES

THE CENTRAL BANK does not see the need to recall "new generation" peso bills unveiled last week despite critics claiming that the banknotes are error-filled.


"There are no errors in our money," Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Deputy Governor Diwa C. Guinigundo told a briefing yesterday.


"We don’t have to recall these banknotes ... We did not fumble."


Critics have pointed out that wrong colors were used for the blue-naped parrot featured on the new 500-peso bill and that the locations of landmarks were way off.


Mr. Guinigundo, however, said the exact colors of the parrot -- a red beak instead of yellow and yellow tail instead of green -- could not be followed due to printing limitations.


With the wrong locations claim extending to the charge that the representation of the Philippines used is also inaccurate, he said: "The map is not an army navigational tool."


"Our banknotes used an artist’s rendition or abstraction of the Philippine map that cannot be expected to reflect all our islands and precise coordinates of each site," he added.


New 20-peso bills were released yesterday, he said, with all 45 million pieces of the new banknote series to be received by the BSP by yearend.


A remaining 655 million pieces will arrive by March or April next year.

Poland Parts With “Old Zloty” for Good.

By Malgorzata Halaba
The Wall Street Journel
December 20, 2010, 8:32 AM ET

If you happen to have a pre-1995 one million zloty note in the back of a desk drawer, it doesn’t mean your rich—but it’s your last chance to trade it in for money you can actually use in a store. When the New Year arrives, a sizeable chapter in the history of Poland’s jump to a market economy will draw to a close and the old banknotes will turn into souvenirs.

Fifteen years ago Poland passed a very important logistic test—its brand new democratic government and central bank had gotten the hyperinflation fire under control, but still had the task of cleaning up the money situation.

The collapsed communism left huge dislocations in the supply and demand of goods and services and after price controls were lifted and a million businesses bloomed on folding card tables and cots, the animal spirits of Polish consumers had unleashed annualized inflation rate of 600%.

Once prices stabilized, Poland’s money needed denomination. The central bank decided the national currency had four zeros to spare. The reasons behind denomination were straightforward. Shopping required the extra step of carefully counting zeros. A used car sold for a grocery bag of bills—all of which had to be diligently counted by the buyer and seller.

As million and two million zloty notes appeared in circulation, Poles reacted as they had done under communism, they made jokes.

“We can be proud of our country. We have managed to invent an exchange rate transaction involving three currencies—one pound of zlotys is worth one dollar.”

The currency was getting no respect and Polish officials hoped to restore it by denomination, but the complicated operation carried huge risks. Older Poles remembered losing their life savings in the 1950s when the communists had exchanged old money for new. So the central bank, then headed by Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz, Warsaw’s current mayor, had to be very careful in how it communicated the change with society.

On January 1, 1995, the Polish zloty got a new official code, PLN (the “N” stands for new) instead of PLZ, and dropped four zeros. Unlike many other denominations and currency switches, both currencies were allowed in circulation for a full two years, until the end of 1996. But most people decided to get rid of the old money quickly—by the end of 1995 Poles exchanged half of the old notes.

Today, the National Bank of Poland estimates there are still about 8,300 pieces of old notes and coins out there, valued at about 175 million (new!) zlotys ($57.8 million).

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Philippine Unveiled New Series of Banknotes

BusinessWorld
Friday, December 17, 2010 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES

"NEW GENERATION" bank-notes featuring fresh and old elements as well as upgraded security features were bared yesterday and will go into circulation starting this month.

Old faces were maintained with the late former president, Corazon C. Aquino, the only new addition. She joined her husband, the late former senator Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino, Jr. on the P500 bill.


The P500 bill is historic as it features three Aquinos: the two democracy icons and the signature of their son, President Benigno S. C. Aquino III, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Amando M. Tetangco, Jr. said at the launch in Malacañang.


The bills’ reverse sides were all changed to feature a landmark, an animal and indigenous designs: the P20 gets the Banaue Rice Terraces, a palm civet and a weave from the Cordilleras; the P50, Taal lake, a Giant Trevally fish and embroidery from Batangas; the P100, Mayon volcano, a whale shark and an indigenous textile detail from Bicol; the P200, the Chocolate Hills, a Philippine tarsier and a design from the Visayas; the P500, the Subterranean River National Park in Palawan, a blue-naped parrot and a woven cloth design from the Southern Philippines; and for the P1,000, the Tubbataha Reef Marine Park in Sulu, the Pinctada maxima oyster, and a tinalak design from Mindanao.


Younger faces were also used for the personalities featured: former presidents Manuel L. Quezon (P20); Sergio Osmeña (P50); Manuel A. Roxas (P100); Diosdado P. Macapagal (P200); Mr. Aquino’s parents (P500); and Girls Scouts of the Philippines founder Josefa Llanes Escoda, first Filipino West Point graduate Vicente P. Lim and former Chief Justice Jose Abad Santos (P1,000).


Colors for the most part were retained.


Mr. Tetangco said the launch of the new banknotes marked the start of a gradual shift to a new currency series, adding that new security features "are representative of the reforms we are undertaking to ensure honest transactions." -- A. M. G. Roa

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Taiwanese expert puts together £4,000 financial jigsaw

Owen Bowcott and agencies
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 9 December 2010 11.49 GMT

Jigsaw addicts start with corners and straight edges, working inwards to complete the picture, but an expert from the Taiwanese Justice Ministry reversed the process when she pieced together a uniquely complex financial puzzle.

Liu Hui-fen was presented with a bag of 200 mutilated New Taiwan $1,000 notes that a businessman named only as Lin had inadvertently dropped into his company's industrial scrap machine.

Each was torn into some 20 pieces. Liu, a 30-year-old forensic scientist, reassembled all the cash – amounting to $200,000 (£4,000) – in seven days, a task she said had "required patience".

Confounded at first by the unwieldy pile of scraps, Liu soon found a way to attack the problem. She located the Chinese character guo – or country – on each bill and then worked outwards.

When the job was finally completed, she said it was the most difficult she had ever accomplished, but added that she had enjoyed helping Lin out.

Liu usually investigates handwriting samples but has a special brief to work on cases dealing with torn cash and has handled 247 in the past five years.

"I was so happy whenever I was able to put a piece into its right place," she said.

The Justice Ministry in the Taiwanese capital, Taipei, has a special investigations unit that offers a free service repairing damaged cash. It receives around 250 cases of damaged notes each year following fires and accidents.

The central bank determined that the shredded notes had been restored to its requirement for three-quarter completeness, and will return the cash to the lucky Lin.

A chastened Lin expressed his sincere gratitude for Liu's perseverance and said: "I'm sorry the job brought her so much trouble."

Further Problem with Production of New U. S. $100 Bill

CNBC
updated 12/6/2010 2:47:42 PM ET 2010-12-06T19:47:42

A significant production problem with new high-tech $100 bills has caused government printers to shut down production of the new notes and to quarantine more than one billion of the bills in huge vaults in Fort Worth, Texas and Washington, CNBC has learned.

Initially scheduled for release in February of 2011, the new bills were announced with great fanfare by officials at the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve in April.

At the time, officials announced the new bills would incorporate sophisticated high-tech security features, including a 3-D security strip and a color-shifting image of a bell designed to foil counterfeiters.

But the production process is so complex, it has instead foiled the government printers tasked with producing billions of the new notes.

An official familiar with the situation told CNBC that 1.1 billion of the new bills have been printed, but they are unusable because of a creasing problem in which paper folds over during production, revealing a blank unlinked portion of the bill face.

A second person familiar with the situation said that at the height of the problem, as many as 30 percent of the bills rolling off the printing press included the flaw, leading to the production shut down.

The total face value of the unusable bills, $110 billion, represents more than ten percent of the entire supply of U.S. currency on the planet, which a government source said is $930 billion in banknotes. For now, the unusable bills are stored in the vaults in "cash packs" of four bundles of 4,000 each, with each pack containing 16,000 bills.

Officials don’t know exactly what caused the problem. "There is something drastically wrong here," a person familiar with the situation said. "The frustration level is off the charts."

Quarantined
Because officials don’t know how many of the 1.1 billion bills include the flaw, they have to hold them in the massive vaults until they are able to develop a mechanized system that can sort out the usable bills from the defects.

Sorting such a huge quantity of bills by hand, the officials estimate, could take between 20 and 30 years. Using a mechanized system, they think they could sort the massive pile of bills, each of which features the familiar image of Benjamin Franklin on the face, in about one year.

The defective bills – which could number into the tens of millions, potentially representing billions of dollars in face value – will have to be burned, they say. American taxpayers have already spent an enormous amount of money to print the bills.

According to a person familiar with the matter, the bills are the most costly ever produced, with a per-note cost of about 12 cents – twice the cost of a conventional bill. That means the government spent about $120 million to produce bills it can’t use. On top of that, it is not yet clear how much more it will cost to sort the existing horde of hundred dollar bills.

Officials say they remain optimistic that the majority of the 1.1 billion bills will eventually be cleared for circulation.

The problem with the new hundred-dollar bills has remained largely hidden from public view, despite a press release issued by the Federal Reserve on Oct. 1 that announced "a delay in the issue date" of the new bills and cited "a problem with sporadic creasing of the paper."

The redesigned bills are the first $100 bills to feature Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner’s signature. But to stave off a cash crunch as existing $100 bills deteriorate and can’t be replaced, the Federal Reserve has ordered renewed production of the current-design $100 bills, which feature Bush Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson's signature and do not have the new security features.

Officials say that is an important step, because there are 6.6 billion $100 notes in circulation at any given time, and they wear out quickly. Reprinting the current design bills will prevent any disruption in the global circulation of US currency.

The production of American banknotes is a convoluted process. The paper is manufactured by Crane & Company, which has continually supplied the government since 1879. Design and production of the bills is handled by the Department of Treasury and its Bureau of Engraving and Printing. But the currency is actually issued by the Federal Reserve, which is why the bills are emblazoned with the phrase "Federal Reserve Note."

Anti-counterfeiting measures
The new $100 note is the latest denomination of U.S. currency to be redesigned with special anti-counterfeiting features. Treasury first introduced the redesigned $20 note in 2003 and has also redesigned the $50, $10 and $5 notes.

The government says that more than a decade of research and development went into the new security features on the redesigned $100.

The bill features a blue, three dimensional security strip that pictures bells that change to 100s as the strip is tilted. The ribbon is woven into the paper, not printed on it, which is why it is the focus of speculation as a potential cause of the paper creasing problem on the printing presses. The note also features another color-shifting image, of a bell inside an inkwell. The bell shifts color from copper to green as the bill is tilted.

As part of the rollout effort for the new $100 bills, the government set up a website explaining the changes, which can be seen at this website.

After they were printed, officials discovered that some of the new bills have a vertical crease that, when the sides of the bill are pulled, unfolds and reveals a blank space on the face of the bill. At first glance, the bills appear completely printed, but they are not.

Officials have mixed views on what caused the problem, and who is responsible for it. "This is not about assigning blame," said one. But another person familiar with the matter said finger-pointing has already begun. "The Fed’s very unhappy, and the Bureau of Engraving and Printing is taking a beating unnecessarily," the person said. "Somebody has to pay for this."

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Story of the Five Ancient Chinese Notes from Tang to Ming Dynasty


Left: Tang Dynasty 30 Kuan 860-874
Center: Southern Sung Dynasty 20 Taels 1275-1276
Right: Yuan Dynasty 4 Kuan 1330-1332


Left: Ming Dynasty 10 Kuan 1403-1425
Right: Ming Dynasty 1 Kuan 1643

For over 150 years, these five notes had been the prized possession of some very savvy collectors and dealers who believed they were genuine surviving specimens of ancient Chinese paper money.

The notes purport to come from German collector George Pflumer of Hameln. In 1926 Pflumer sold his entire collection to the Marquess of Bute of Great Britain who, in turn, sold the collection to Spink's in 1970. The notes were later acquired by Ted Uhl, a well-known U. S. paper money dealer.

Around 1983, Uhl sold the notes to George D. Hatie, General Counsel and immediate past President of American Numismatic Association (ANA). Hatie had some misgivings about the authenticity of these notes. He sought advice from several experts in ancient Chinese money, among them, Bruce W. Smith and Sup Loy.

For many years, the sole reference for ancient Chinese notes was an 1833 Chinese numismatic catalog, 泉布统誌, Ch'uan Pu T'ung Chih (Ancient Coin Catalog) by Lin Meng. The catalog was later translated by Kojiro Tomita for Andrew McFarland Davis, who published it under the title "Ancient Chinese Paper Money as Described in a Chinese Work on Numismatics" in 1918. Many Asian scholars noticed inconsistencies in the catalog and concluded it's a hoax, and the notes, copied from those described in the catalog, are forgeries. These notes are believed to be printed in the 1800's, and began turning up in the West in the early 1900's. Many now believe the notes are the product of someone's imagination. Genuine ones simply do not exist and never did exist. The work may have been based on forgeries that the author believed were real, but the other possibility is that the author was the forger. In any event, the book and the notes are bogus.

Upon learning that these notes were not genuine, Hatie returned them to Uhl for refund. So what happened to these five notes? They somehow ended up in the collection of William H. McDonald, Founder and first President of Canadian Paper Money Society (CPMS). I bought the notes from his son-in-law who inherited them.

How do we know the Ch'uan Pu T'ung Chih is bogus? Bruce W. Smith wrote:

1. First, every Asian scholar who has mentioned the work, has labeled it a fraud. These scholars include Dr. Lien-Shen Yang of Harvard; Dr. Thomas F. Carter, author of the standard work "The Invention of Printing In China"; Paul Pelliot, the French scholar; and Karl Wittfogel in his book "History of Chinese Society - The Liao Dynasty".

2. These scholars pointed out errors in the texts of the notes; terms that hadn't yet been invented; place names that were not in use at the time of the notes; etc.

3. The first clue to the bogus nature of the book is that the notes, though covering an 800 year range, all look pretty much alike. In fact, they are all based on the Ming note. All have a heading at the top, decorations around the edge, a pictorial representation of the value in the upper center, and a date and text about counterfeiting at the bottom. It is reasonable to assume that the first Chinese notes would be rather simple looking, and that the design and layout would change over 800 years.

4. Furthermore, the names and denominations of the notes described in the Ch'uan Pu T'ung Chih do not agree with descriptions in official government records of the various dynasties. (as published in the official dynastic histories).

5. Finally, there are in existence today a number of plates used to print notes of the Chin (Jin) and Yuan dynasties. These have been published in various Chinese and Japanese works, but are little known in the West. These plates do not match the notes shown in the Ch'uan Pu T'ung Chih. Also, there are some genuine notes of the Chin (Jin) and Yuan dynasties extant today. Several different notes have been found by archaeologists and are preserved in Russia, Sweden and China. These notes have been published in those countries, but are almost unknown to collectors, especially in the USA. These notes also do not match those in the Ch'uan Pu T'ung Chih.

Friday, October 1, 2010

New U. S. $100 Bill Delayed

The Bureau of Engraving and Printing
October 1, 2010

On October 1, the Federal Reserve Board announced a delay in the issue date of the redesigned $100 note. This new design incorporates cutting edge, anti-counterfeiting technologies and the Federal Reserve imposes strict quality controls to ensure that users of U.S. currency around the world receive the highest quality notes. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing manufactures Federal Reserve notes and has identified a problem with sporadic creasing of the paper during printing of the new $100 note, which was not apparent during extensive pre-production testing. As a consequence, the Federal Reserve will not have sufficient inventories to begin distributing the new $100 notes as planned.

The Bureau of Engraving and Printing is working to resolve this problem, and the Federal Reserve Board will announce a new issue date for the redesigned $100 note as soon as possible. The originally scheduled issue date was February 10, 2011.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Town’s scarce banknote goes under hammer

Scarborough Evening News
September 21, 2010

A “SCARCE” Scarborough banknote produced nearly 200 years ago when Scarborough printed its own money is set to fetch up to £120 at an auction later this month.

The valuable black and white one guinea note (or £1.05p in modern money) is emblazoned with the words ‘Scarbrough(sic) Bank’ and was produced in 1818, during the reign of King George III and the year before Queen Victoria’s birth and when Scarborough was less than a tenth of its present size.

The privately-owned Scarborough Bank was launched in 1792 by four North Yorkshire businessmen named Hayes, Leatham, Hodgson and Lister and was based in Queen Street, Scarborough. In 1802,the bank was owned by Lister & Co and became known as Lister’s and then, later on, as Moorson’s Bank.

For some time before 1816 Lister recruited a business partner named William Moorson, whose signature appears on the 1818 banknote coming up for sale at Spink in Bloomsbury, London, on September 29. But in 1822, four years after producing this note, Scarborough Bank went bust in spectacular fashion, with liabilities of £70,000.

In the late 1700s and early 1800s, there were hundreds of privately-owned banks in Britain all printing their own money, as it was too difficult and dangerous to bring in big quantities of cash from London in those days before motorways and security firms.

Barnaby Faull, head of the banknotes department at London auctioneers, Spink, said: “All towns and cities in Britain used to issue their own banknotes. Merchants would get together and start up their own banks, but their notes, which were like IOUs, could only be used locally. So when these provincial banks like Scarborough’s went bust, their notes became worthless.”

The one guinea note coming up for sale at Spink would not have been owned by the average Scarborough worker as this note represented several months’ wages for many workers in those days.It is more likely to have been produced for a property deal or some other commercial transaction.

Mr Faull added: “Scarborough banknotes are scarce. I haven’t seen that many.”

The Scarborough note, which features the bank’s castle emblem in the top left hand corner, is in “very good” condition according to Spink. Six years ago an 1819 Scarborough £1 note came up for sale at Spink and before the auction it had been expected to fetch between £120 and £180, but sold for £240. In recent years, notes produced by English provincial banks in the 18th and 19th centuries have become sought after and increasingly valuable.

At Spink, in London on April 27 2004 an 1829 Wirksworth & Ashbourn Bank five pound note, from Derbyshire, was expected to sell for between £300 and £500, but it ended up selling for £3,335 which set a new world record for an English provincial banknote.

Spink are now offering a free valuation service for Evening News readers.

Mr Faull said: “Banknotes can turn up in unlikely places. Sometimes they were placed in old family Bibles for safekeeping and then perhaps forgotten, so that is always a good place to start the search.”

Thursday, August 19, 2010

What Would It Take To Redesign American Currency?

By Allie Townsend
TIME NewsFeed

An Obama $1 bill? See one British design firm's reimagination of the dollar – now in blue.
UK-based design firm Dowling Duncan has given U.S. currency a modernized face lift, redesigning U.S. banknotes in a rainbow of colors. An entry for The Dollar ReDe$ign Project competition, Dowling Duncan's new dollar aesthetic is surprisingly joyful. Their take on U.S. bills feature historical facts and figures: a tepee on a purple five, the Bill of Rights on a yellow 10, 20th-century scientific and manufacturing achievements on a green 20, the 50 states on a red 50 and an FDR time line on an orange 100.

The visually appealing bills focus on some of America's greatest moments and honestly, have made us look at into our own wallets with disappointment. We never pictured greenback as a drab reminder of U.S. hedonism and a failing economy – until now. Sorry, Mr. Washington.









Dowling Duncan redesign the US bank notes
14 August 2010 05:16

We have submitted a design concept to a competition being run by New York designer Richard Smith. The Dollar ReDe$ign Project hopes to bring about change for everyone. Richard Smith states that he ‘wants to rebrand the US Dollar, rebuild financial confidence and revive our failing economy.’

Why the size?
We have kept the width the same as the existing dollars. However we have changed the size of the note so that the one dollar is shorter and the 100 dollar is the longest. When stacked on top of each other it is easy to see how much money you have. It also makes it easier for the visually impaired to distinguish between notes.

Why a vertical format?
When we researched how notes are used we realized people tend to handle and deal with money vertically rather than horizontally. You tend to hold a wallet or purse vertically when searching for notes. The majority of people hand over notes vertically when making purchases. All machines accept notes vertically. Therefore a vertical note makes more sense.







Why different colors?
It’s one of the strongest ways graphically to distinguish one note from another.

Why these designs?
We wanted a concept behind the imagery so that the image directly relates to the value of each note. We also wanted the notes to be educational, not only for those living in America but visitors as well. Each note uses a black and white image depicting a particular aspect of American history and culture. They are then overprinted with informational graphics or a pattern relating to that particular image.

$1 – The first African American president
$5 – The five biggest native American tribes
$10 – The bill of rights, the first 10 amendments to the US Constitution
$20 – 20th Century America
$50 – The 50 States of America
$100 – The first 100 days of President Franklin Roosevelt. During this time he led the congress to pass more important legislations than most presidents pass in their entire term. This helped fight the economic crises at the time of the great depression. Ever since, every new president has been judged on how well they have done during the first 100 days of their term.






Tuesday, August 17, 2010

An Introduction to Federal Reserve Notes

NUMISMASTER.com
By George Cuhaj
August 16, 2010

The “Nations Bank” is the Federal Reserve. It is broken up into 12 districts – Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Richmond, Atlanta, Chicago, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Kansas City, Dallas and San Francisco. Each of these branches control cash within their service areas, and the New York Fed branch is also given the job of international distribution of cash.

Each district can order qualities of currency from the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. On Federal Reserve Notes the seal color is green. Starting with the 1928 series the Federal Reserve bank name is in a seal at the left side of the note and has a large number in the center. On notes starting with the 1934 series the number in the seal switches to a letter. Each branch has a number-letter combination, Boston is A-1, New York B-2, and so on thru San Francisco L-12.

As an additional security feature that Branch letter is also printed as the starting letter in the serial number (the seal letter and the serial number prefix letter have to match). On currency greater than $5. with a series date since 1996, the Federal Reserve branch letter and number is now printed under the top left serial number, and the branch letter is printed as the second letter in the serial number prefix.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Yemen Issued Revised 1,000 Rial Banknotes

Nutmegcollector
August 15, 2010

The Central Bank of Yemen has issued a revised 1,000 Rial banknote last week. The note is similar to the previous issue except dated 2009 and has improved security features.

Info courtesy of Claudio Marana and MRI Guide Updates

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

New 1000 Rouble note to make life tough for counterfeiters

RT
Published 10 August, 2010, 21:50

Russia's Central Bank is introducing a revised version of the 1 thousand rouble banknote, in response to significant amounts of fraud involving the current version.

On Tuesday the Central Bank began supplying the new version of the note to regional departments with the note tipped to come into mass circulation in October this year. Vladimir Finogenov, head of currency unit at the Central Bank says people in Russia will notice major changes to the note include a translucent guard band, a colour change to the Central Banks seal, and a slightly darker and refined picture of Yaroslavl kremlin chapel, and Yaroslav I the Wise, as well as a number of changes to shading lines and margins.

The bank says the 1000 rouble note accounts for as much as 95% of all counterfeit cases and that the new note will be the most secure against counterfeiting in the world. The Central Bank expects to have 1 billion of the new notes printed by the end of 2011, gradually replacing the old variants, designed in 1997 and revised in 2004, which will remain in circulation, before being taken out as they deteriorate.

The move comes as a response to widespread forgery cases with the banknote and Alexandra Lozovaya, deputy head of analysis at Investcafe telling business FM that the existing 1000 rouble note was becoming subject to counterfeiting.

“According to specialists, the fake notes are of the very high quality and are very difficult to distinguish from the true ones, even with the banknotes assesor using ultraviolet. The thousand rouble banknotes comprise 95% of the total fraudulence cases brought to light in Russia.. 84% of the cases, which is the most, come from Russia's centre – Moscow and its regions.”

According to Central Bank data, there are 2.1 billion banknotes denominated 1 thousand roubles.

Scotland's banknotes - legal tender or not?

STV
By John Kilbride
10 August 2010 12:23 GMT

Can you use Scottish notes in England? English notes in Scotland? What's the bottom line on the currency question?

While most countries have a central bank that issues that country's currency, the situation is different in the UK, with a number of retail banks having the right to produce their own banknotes along with the Bank of England.

In Scotland, the Bank of Scotland, the Royal Bank of Scotland, and the Clydesdale bank all release their own banknotes. Four banks in Northern Ireland also produce their own banknotes.

Until the mid-19th century, all privately owned banks in Great Britain and Ireland were permitted to issue their own banknotes provided they had the means to support their value. Restrictions on banking that were introduced then meant that from then on, no new banks would be permitted to issue banknotes and only the Bank of England would be permitted to issue currency. The banks that did issue their own currencies gradually disappeared, but in Scotland and Northern Ireland several banks retained their right to issue banknotes, provided the value of the circulating currency is backed up by Bank of England notes of a similar value.

This can lead to some confusion for those visiting the country, and a source of irritation to Scots who find that their banknotes are not recognised by traders south of the border or elsewhere.

But it may come as a pleasant surprise to those who have had a Scottish banknote turned down by a shopkeeper south of the border to discover that notes issued by the Bank of England note are not legal tender in Scotland. Bank of England notes are recognised as legal tender in England and Wales only. Needless to say, Scottish banknotes are not legal tender in England and Wales, and a trader would be perfecly entitled to turn down a Scottish banknote.

However, Scottish notes - while the recognised currency in Scotland - are not actually legal tender in Scotland either. It is of course worth bearing in mind that some other means of payment such as cheques, credit cards or debit cards do not constitute legal tender either.

Of course, banknotes do not actually have to be classed as legal tender for them to be acceptable for a transaction. For example, a shop may accept Euros or US or Canadian Dollars despite these not being legal tender in the UK.

In Scotland, no notes are actually legal tender. Coins are the only actual legal tender.

The term 'legal tender' is key to the currency issue, as it only actually refers to a narrow definition of what is acceptable for the settlement of a debt, and does not carry any real practical meaning in everyday life. Just because a note (or other means of payment) is not legal tender does not mean that it is illegal or unacceptable.

In short, the notes are legal to use in Scotland and elsewhere in the UK, but traders may refuse to accept them, in the same way that they can refuse to accept cheques or turn down an offer of payment for a small item with a large note.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Guatemala to Issue 200 Quetzal Banknote

Nutmegcollector
August 5, 2010

The Bank of Guatemala will issue a new 200 Quetzal note on August 10, 2010. The originally scheduled release was November 2009, then delayed to March 2010 and further postponded until now.

This note honors three prominent Guatemalans, Sebastian Hurtado, Mariano Valverde and Germán Alcántara. It also includes many enhanced security features.

August 19, 2010 Update: Delayed again. New issue date is now August 23, 2010.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Costa Rica to Issue New Series of Banknotes

Nutmegcollector
August 4, 2010

The Central Bank of Costa Rica will issue a new 20,000 Colon note on August 11, 2010. This is the first denomination in an entirely new series of banknotes that will replace the existing issues. Other denominations as shown below will be released on later dates.

The front of each note depicts a portrait of a famous Costa Rican, and the back features flora and fauna from the six ecosystems that exist in the country.

Different denominations in the new series will have different sizes to help blind or vision impaired people to distinguish them better.



Maria Isabel Carvajal (January 1888 - May 13, 1949) was a Costa Rican writer and teacher. She was born in San Jose, Costa Rica. Carvajal wrote using the name Carmen Lyra.


Braulio Evaristo Carrillo Colina (March 20, 1800 – May 15, 1845) was the Head of State of Costa Rica (the title as it was known before the reform of 1848) during two periods: the first between 1835 to 1837, and the de facto between 1838 and 1842.


Mauro Fernández Acuña (December 19, 1843 – July 16, 1905) was a Costa Rican politician and lawyer.


Alfredo González Flores (July 15, 1877 - December 28, 1962) served as President of Costa Rica from 1914 to 1917.


José María Hipólito Figueres Ferrer (September 25, 1906 – June 8, 1990), served as President of Costa Rica on three occasions: 1948–1949, 1953–1958, and 1970–1974.


Ricardo Jiménez Oreamuno (February 6, 1859 - January 4, 1945) served as president of Costa Rica on three separate occasions: 1910 to 1914, 1924 to 1928, and 1932 to 1936.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Eureka! Audubon's First Engraved Illustration Discovered

>The Philadelphia Inquirer
By Sandy Bauer
Inquirer Staff Writer
Fri, Jul. 30, 2010

For more than half a century, scholars and biographers of famed bird artist and ornithologist John James Audubon had been stumped.

In an 1824 diary entry, the young French immigrant, who lived for several years at Mill Grove in Montgomery County, mentioned that he had given a drawing of a running grouse to a Philadelphia engraver for use on a New Jersey banknote.

It would have been a key moment - the first published illustration for the struggling artist, then 29 years old.

But if so, where was it? Nobody could find it. And as time went by, many began to dismiss the story as a typical Audubon exaggeration.

But Robert Peck, curator of art and artifacts at the Academy of Natural Sciences, decided to give it one last try.

What he and Eric Newman, a numismatic historian from St. Louis, found has rocked the world of Audubon scholars, who are calling their discovery "a eureka moment."

Their quest began about a decade ago, when Newman visited the academy as part of a tour of libraries and important collections. He and Peck met. They had lunch.

A year later, Peck wrote to him. Had Newman ever seen a New Jersey banknote with a bird on it?

Newman was an expert on the early paper currency of America and had written a definitive work on the subject. He didn't know of any, but he began looking.

Meanwhile, Peck investigated the Audubon side of the mystery.

That first diary reference had been on July 12, 1824. Audubon had since moved from Mill Grove, but he was back in Philadelphia to garner support - from the academy, the preeminent scientific institution in the country at that point - for his bird watercolors.

That never happened, due to what historians contend were jealousies involving another bird artist, Alexander Wilson.

But Audubon wrote that "I drew for Mr. Fairman a small grouse to be on a banknote belonging to the State of New-Jersey."

"Mr. Fairman" would have been Gideon Fairman, a principal in a Philadelphia engraving firm that specialized in making paper currency for financial institutions.

At that time, each bank made its own currency.

Right there!

On a trip to Chicago, Peck checked another diary, and found an entry from 1826. Audubon was in England, where his landmark book, The Birds of America, with full-size printings of his bird watercolors, was eventually produced, beginning in 1827.

He noted that he presented a friend "with a copy of Fairman's Engraving of [my] Bank Note Plate."

But had the money ever been printed? Or was it a plate that never got used?

Newman combed through every book written on New Jersey paper money. "That didn't help me at all," he said.

Then he checked the 10,000 different banknotes issued in the United States for grouse pictures. "I couldn't find any."

Finally, he reexamined his own collection of "sample sheets," printed with various images that bank presidents might want on their bills.

Mostly, such sheets contain portraits of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, images of draped Lady Liberties, and, above all, eagles.

But finally, on a sheet issued by Fairman's firm, likely in 1825 - there! on the lower right! - was a grouse.

More tidbits

As was typical, the image wasn't signed. But while other wildlife artists of the day were producing static images, this had unmistakable Audubon touches - the unusual choice of species, the running posture that revealed a knowledge of the bird in the field, and hints of its grassy habitat.

"All the circumstantial evidence lines up," Peck said. "He writes in diary twice he did this drawing for Fairman. And that it was of a grouse. And that it was for a New Jersey banknote.

"And here, suddenly within months of Audubon saying he gave it to Fairman, the grouse appears on one of Fairman's sample sheets."

More searches led to more tidbits.

Eventually, Peck and Newman put together a likely scenario: Bills may have been printed for the New Jersey institution, the State Bank at Trenton, which employed Fairman's firm to design and print many of its bills.

But the bank began to fail in July 1825, and its notes were worthless by 1826.

Meanwhile, the State Bank of Camden had issued bills similar to the Trenton notes and also printed by Fairman.

In those days, with so many small banks and so much different currency, conditions were ripe for counterfeiting. Forgers altered Trenton notes to look like Camden notes.

The Camden bank eventually recalled its currency and burned it along with bills from the Trenton bank.

"The failure and scandal . . . all that is documented as part of banking history," Peck said. Whether the burned notes actually contained Audubon's grouse is likely, given the timing, he said, but unproven.

Peck and Newman also found later designs with Audubon's grouse - a $3 note for the Bank of Norwalk in Ohio and a $5 note for the Bridgeport Bank in Connecticut. But there's no evidence that either bank followed through and printed the bills.

The academy announced Peck and Newman's findings Thursday. They're being published in the fall journal of the Society of Historians of the Early American Republic, based at the Library Company of Philadelphia.

As word got out, scholars began calling with congratulations - and more tidbits.

"It's been one of the holy grails for Audubon researchers, to find out if that exists," said Nancy Powell, curator of collections and exhibitions at Mill Grove. Now, "it lets us know a little more about him and his art and how he developed it."

"It's the eureka moment where you find that missing piece of the puzzle," said Roberta Olson, curator of drawings at the New York Historical Society.

The society has all 435 original watercolors for Audubon's Birds of America. One is of a similar grouse - the pinnated grouse - and the society dates it to 1824, the same year Audubon supposedly made the image for Fairman.

To Olson, everything fits. Other wildlife artists of the day had found that making drawings for banknotes gave them not only money to live on but a certain cachet. So why not Audubon?

Peck said he thought Audubon's little grouse drawing worked against him. To be sure, it was different from all the eagles, and was not the sort of thing counterfeiters might use or copy. It also showed his prowess as an ornithologist, something he longed for in the stuffy Philadelphia science world that had rejected him.

But the grouse was, in a word, odd.

Bank managers who wanted emblems of security, nationalism, or patriotism might have shied away from it.

"A skittish grouse known for its shy behavior, and running, would not instill in the customer a great sense of confidence," Peck said. "But Audubon was so swept up in his own love of birds and his knowledge of their intimate behavior."

Peck and Newman know they may never learn the whole story. So much is gone.

The engraver went out of business in 1830. The Trenton and Camden banks failed.

The birds - also known as heath hens - have gone extinct. It's yet another detail that resonates among scholars of Audubon, whom many credit with the birth of the conservation movement in this country.

But neither Peck nor Newman can resist the tantalizing possibility that banknotes with Audubon's grouse on them were printed and still exist . . . somewhere.

Given the Trenton and Camden bank connections, they can't help but imagine some tucked away in a Philadelphia attic or stuffed into a Camden wall for insulation.

"That is always possible," Newman said. "Always."

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Indonesia Issues Revised 10,000 Rupiah Notes

Nutmegcollector
July 21, 2010

Bank Indonesia began issuing new 1,000 Rupiah coins and 10,000 Rupiah notes on July 20, 2010.

The new note is similar to previous issue, except the overall color has changed from reddish purple to a bluish purple, and improved security features.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Hong Kong to Circulate New Series of Banknotes Starting in Q4

Hong Kong Government News
July 20, 2010

The new series Hong Kong banknotes in $1,000 and $500 denominations, with advanced security features, will go into circulation in the last quarter of 2010 and early 2011.

Consistent with the current series, the new series will consist of five denominations, each adopting the same colour scheme. The $1,000 and $500 notes' designs were unveiled today, while those of the remaining three denominations - $100, $50 and $20 - will be unveiled around the middle of next year.



Security features


The five more important key features of the new banknotes are:

* a dynamic colour-changing pattern - colour shifting between green and gold with a shimmering horizontal bar seen to be rolling up and down when the note is tilted.

* a colour-changing windowed metallic thread - colour shifting between magenta and green and the "H" and "K" on the thread are made up of microtext.

* a standardised enhanced watermark - comprising a multi-tonal watermark of a bauhinia flower and highlight watermark of the denomination numeral and dot pattern, a standardised design for the three note-issuing banks.

* a fluorescent see-through pattern - perfect registration of the patterns on the front and back, with two fluorescent colours visible under ultraviolet light.

* a fluorescent serial number - the vertical serial number is fluorescent red under ultraviolet light.

Braille and tactile lines have been added to help people with visual impairments differentiate the denominations. A new note-measuring template will be made available through voluntary agencies to serve the visually impaired community.

Monetary Authority Chief Executive Norman Chan said for the past six years Hong Kong has seen a continuous drop in the counterfeit rate.

"We should not be complacent and must ensure that we are staying ahead of counterfeiters. There is a need to revamp the design of our banknotes and introduce latest available security features to minimise the risk of being counterfeited," he added.

Publicity drive

All existing banknotes continue to be legal tender. They will continue to circulate alongside the new banknotes and will be gradually withdrawn from circulation when they become unfit for circulation.

An extensive education programme will be launched to raise public awareness of the new banknotes. Seminars will be conducted for banks, retailers and money changers; and special outreach seminars will be arranged for centres for the elderly and the visually impaired.

Exhibitions will be held in different districts and an interactive online-learning programme is available on the authority's website. Leaflets illustrating the new security features are available at the Monetary Authority's office, the note-issuing banks' branches and District Offices.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Hong Kong Banknote Exhibition Opens

Hong Kong Government Press Release
July 16, 2010

A new exhibition tracing the history of Hong Kong's paper money was launched today (July 16) at the atrium of the Hong Kong Pavilion at the Expo 2010 Shanghai China (Shanghai Expo).

"Stories Behind Banknotes", organised by HSBC, is one of the six thematic exhibitions to be staged at the Hong Kong Pavilion during Shanghai Expo, and will run until August 15.

The Commissioner of the HKSAR Expo Affairs Office, Mr Patrick Chan, and the President and Chief Executive Officer Designate, HSBC Bank (China) Company Limited, Ms Helen Wong, officiated at today’s launch ceremony.

Mr Chan said, "HSBC's exhibition of the banknotes issued by the bank in the past 145 years, in the Hong Kong Pavilion at the first-ever World Expo hosted by our country in the city of Shanghai, has special meaning.

"The banknotes featured in this exhibition are precious and very interesting. Many are rare, and some have never been publicly shown before."

"Stories Behind Banknotes" provides a unique insight into the social and economic transformation of Hong Kong since HSBC issued its first banknote in the city in 1865.

Among the 56 banknotes featured is the "duress note" issued during the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong in World War II. Other rare notes from Shanghai and other note-issuing branches across China are also displayed.

HSBC Chief Executive Officer Hong Kong Mark McCombe said, "The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited has been the principal issuer of banknotes in Hong Kong since the bank issued its first banknote in 1865, the year of its establishment.

"Currently, approximately two out of every three banknotes in circulation in Hong Kong are issued by HSBC. HSBC's banknotes and their constantly shifting designs illustrate the trade and financial development of the region and provide a valuable insight into the culture and character of the city."

HSBC is a diamond sponsor of Hong Kong's participation in Shanghai Expo.

In parallel with the "Stories Behind Banknotes" exhibition, Hong Kong will organise its first large-scale financial forum on the Mainland as one of the major programmes for Shanghai Expo.

The high-level financial forum, to be held at Pudong Shangri-La Hotel on July 21, will be attended by the Financial Secretary, Mr John C Tsang, Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Professor K C Chan, and experts in the financial services sector from Hong Kong, the Mainland and overseas.

The main aim of the Finance Forum is to promote broader exchange and deeper co-operation in financial services between Hong Kong and Shanghai. It will examine important issues related to China's continued opening up and the internationalisaton of its financial markets.

So far, three other thematic exhibitions have been staged at the atrium of the Hong Kong Pavilion – "Green Living in Hong Kong", "HKIA: Global Connectivity. World-class Service" and "One Country, Two Systems".

The "Stories Behind Banknotes" Exhibition will be followed by "Passion for Hong Kong: Exhibition of Works by Professor Jao Tsung-i" from August 16 to September 30, and the "Creativity of Hong Kong Industries" Exhibition from October 1 to 31.

For more details on Hong Kong's participation in Shanghai Expo, please visit www.hkexpo2010.gov.hk .

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Indian government approves new symbol for rupee

BBC News
15 July 2010

India is to have a new symbol for its currency, the rupee, after the government approved the winning entry in a national competition.

The symbol is a cross between the Roman letter R and its Hindi equivalent, and was designed by a teacher at the Indian Institute of Technology.

A panel of artists, officials and bankers picked the new design.

The Indian government hopes it will soon be as recognisable as the dollar, the pound or the euro.

Correspondents say choosing the symbol reflects India's ambition to be seen as a global power.

The winning entry was one of five shortlisted in the public competition announced in March 2009. Designers were given a brief to come up with a symbol that captures the ethos and culture of India.

'Distinctive'

Until now the rupee has generally been shortened to the letters Rs or sometimes INR (Indian rupee).

India's government says these are not symbols but mere abbreviations.

The new symbol will be the "identity of the Indian currency", information minister Ambika Soni says.

"It will distinguish the rupee from other currencies."

The winning design is made up of half the letter R with a horizontal line on top and in between to make it also look like its equivalent in the Devanagari script, which used in a number of Indian languages including Hindi and Sanskrit.

It will soon be introduced on computer keyboards and banknotes in India and is expected to take a year or two to be fully implemented.

The winning entry was submitted by D Udaya Kumar, a newly-appointed teacher of design at the Indian Institute of Technology. He will receive prize money amounting to $5,350 (£3,500).

Experts say implementing a new currency symbol can be an expensive exercise.

According to one estimate, when the euro was introduced in 1999 it cost Europe's biggest companies more than $50bn to update their computer systems to deal with the changeover.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Gibraltar Issues New Banknote Series

Government of Gibraltar
July 8, 2010

New currency notes have been issued by the Gibraltar Government. There will be a £100 note for the first time.

The announcement was made July 8, 2010 by the chief minister of Gibraltar.

There are five currency notes in the series - £5, £10, £20, £50 and £100 note.

The currency notes will be released into circulation in two phases. The £10 and £50 notes were released today and the £5, £20 and £100 notes will follow in early 2011.

The front of each banknote shows the image of Queen Elizabeth II and coat of arms.
The reverse of each of the banknotes carries a vignette which shows an aspect of Gibraltar through the ages.


The oldest part of the Moorish Castle date back to the 11th century. The castle consisted of three wards rising from the area of what is today Casemates Square to the Tower of Homage, which was built in the 14th century. Even today it dominates the old City. The Upper Ward of the castle and the Tower of Homage are featured on the back.








The Great Siege of 1779-1783 was the 14th and last attempt to take Gibraltar by force, by means of a siege. The heroic defense of Gibraltar under General Eliott against the might of France and Spain resonated throughout Europe. The back depicts the valiant General in a scene depicting him directing the defence of Gibraltar.








Admiral Lord Nelson called at the port of Gibraltar on a number of occasions prior to the famous Battle of Trafalgar of 1805, fought close to Gibraltar, where he won a great victory but lost his life. The back shows the dismasted HMS Victory, the Admiral's flagship, being towed to Gibraltar after the battle, bearing the body of the dead Admiral.








Casemates Square originally formed part of the Lower Ward of the Moorish Castle. It was the heart of La Barcina, part of the 15th century Spanish city, at the confluence of the roads leading to the Land and Sea Gates to Gibraltar. The British built a large Barracks at this strategic point, Casemates Barracks, that gave the square its present name. It is now a gastronomic, shopping and leisure hub.







The King's Bastion stands at the centre of the medieval seawall that protected the old City. It was fortified by General Boyd (who is buried in the Bastion) in 1773 in time for it to play a key role in the defence of Gibraltar during the Great Siege. Gibraltar's first electricity generating plant was sited in the courtyard of the Bastion. The Generating Station was demolished to give way to today's leisure centre, a stunning innovative use for a historical military fortification.