Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Cape Verde introduces a new series of banknotes




The Bank of Cape Verde issues new 200 and 1000 Escudos banknotes on December 23, 2014. On the same day the bank also launched a new 2000 Escudos banknote. The new series honors Cape Verdean figures in the fields of literature, music, and politics. The 200-escudo note is printed on polymer, whereas the other denominations are on paper.

The 200 escudos note features the doctor and Cape Verdean writer Henrique Teixeira de Sousa, as well as his native island, Fogo.

The 1000 escudos note features the composer and Cape Verdean musician, Gregório Vaz "code di Dona" and also exalt the music genre funaná.

The 2000 escudos note features the singer Cesaria Evora and Morna music genre.

In January 2015, one of the founders of the literary movement "Clarity", Jorge Barbosa and his island, Santiago will be honored with the note of 500 escudos. The first president of the Republic of Cape Verde, Aristides Maria Pereira, who as well as his native island, Boa Vista, will be honored with the 5000 escudos note.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Crimean winemakers ask Russia for celebratory banknote

A design of the banknote, published by Legends of Crimea.

The group of producers known as Legends of Crimea has written to the head of Russia's central bank, Elvira Nabiullina, to ask her to create a 200-ruble note bearing a landscape view of Crimean vineyards. Two hundred rubles is around £2.

The move comes less than a week after the bank said it would release a special 100-ruble note to celebrate Russia's annexation of Crimea. It has reportedly released special 10 ruble coins already.

According to the Legends of Crimea website, its general director, Mikhail Shtyrlin, said a 200-ruble note adorned by vines would 'raise the patriotic spirit of society and draw attention to Crimea as a centre of winemaking'.

Shtyrlin is also vice-president of the Russian winemakers' union. The Legends of Crimea cited Russian news publication as saying winemakers spent 1m rubles to design the 200-ruble notes.

In October, Russia's government said it would invest up to €250m to help Crimean wineries to expand and grow sales.

Last week, a Russian government spokesperson told that president Vladimir Putin would consider a call by politicians in the state parliament, the Duma, to ban imports of French wine. Relations between Russia and western powers have worsened in the wake of the political crisis in Ukraine and Russia's subsequent move to annex Crimea.

Article courtesy of

Kazakhstan issues new 1000 Tenge bill


The Central Bank of Kazakhstan has issued a new 1000 tenge bill, Tengrinews reports citing a representative of the bank.

The new bill was put into circulation on December 12. “The banknote has already been put into circulation. It will be used alongside the old banknotes issued in 2006,” the representative of the Central Bank said.

The 1000 tenge bill is part of the bank's Samruk series. There are two SPARK protection elements on the new banknote. This, according to the Central Bank representative, did not change the design of the banknote. The banknote features the signature of the Head of the Central Bank of Kazakhstan Kairat Kelimbetov.

Answering a question why a lot of banknotes had been issued lately, the Central Bank of Kazakhstan explained that they had been issuing commemorative banknotes only. The Bank representative said that counterfeit notes were a rarity in Kazakhstan - one counterfeit note in one million tenge notes. In comparison, Russia has 10 to 15 counterfeit notes in one million rubles, while Europe has around 25 counterfeit notes per a million.

2000 tenge note is the most counterfeited note in Kazakhstan, he said. In Europe, € 50 is the most counterfeited note and $20 is most falsified bill in the United States.

Article courtesy Gyuzel Kamalova, Tengri News

Monday, December 8, 2014

Mauritania issued a new 1000 Ouguiya polymer banknote

The Central Bank of Mauritania announced on December 4, 2014 that it has issued a new 1000 Ouguiya banknote printed on Guardian® polymer substrate. The polymer note is similar in design to previous paper issue but smaller, making it easier to handle. Both notes will circulate in parallel.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

How polymer banknotes were invented

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) and CSIRO’s 20-year “bank project” resulted in the introduction of the polymer banknote – the first ever of its kind, and the most secure form of currency in the world.

The project commenced in 1968 and continued until 1988 with the release of the A$10 bicentennial commemorative banknote. But it’s the story behind this story – a personal note of forgeries, underworld figures and CSIRO – that is just as impressive.

Australia’s transition from the pound to the dollar – on Decimal Day, February 14 1966 – was a momentous occasion. The new currency was seen as being a marker of our independence from the mother country, and the changeover from pound to dollar was well-planned and executed.

(A little-known fact: a nationwide competition was held to find a name for our new currency with an “Australian flavour”. Among the more than 1,000 submissions were the “austral”, “boomer”, “kwid” and “ming”, but “dollar” was chosen.)

By April 1966 most of the old imperial banknotes had been removed from circulation, and a new range of state-of-the-art dollars and coins were doing the rounds of the nation’s tills, wallets and pockets. With designs by leading Australian artists and cutting edge security features such as watermarks and metal thread, things couldn’t have been better for the note-issuer, the RBA.

But the new notes were not infallible, and it didn’t take long for counterfeiters to strike.

Enter the forgers

By the end of the year, a team of amateurs from suburban Melbourne, armed with simple office equipment and a desire to make some money, were able to produce a batch of fake notes with no intaglio printing, no watermark and no metal thread that would net them almost A$800,000 worth of forgeries. (That figure’s not to be sneezed at – it would be worth A$9.6 million in 2013.)

The nucleus of this team were two “regular joes” with no real criminal history: Francis Papworth, an artist from Bentleigh, and Jeffrey Mutton, who owned a failing milk bar in Moorabbin near a printing plant where Papworth worked.

As with many great schemes, this one was hatched over a beer – Papworth and Mutton often met at the Boundary Hotel in East Bentleigh. It was January 1966, only a few weeks before the introduction of the dollar, and the two mates were looking for an easy way to reverse their fortunes. Papworth worked at a printing plant … so why not print some money?

Deciding it was a “goer", they enlisted a third contemporary, Dale Code, along with Ron Adam (a professional photographer) and Bert Kidd, a notorious career criminal who was to provide the funding for the scheme. Their original target was the ten shilling note, but on the release of the A$10 note on Decimal Day they decided that the new version was going to be even easier.

What followed was a tale of ingenuity, intrigue and deceit. Using only their basic printing equipment, the forgers were able to produce three batches of fake notes – each more sophisticated than the next – that would stay in circulation for many years. But despite their initial success, the authorities soon picked up on their activities.

Adam, Code and Mutton were tried and found guilty of forgery in 1967 but Papworth, who had been a police informant, was found not guilty. Kidd was arrested in 1969 after Mutton, who was already serving time, gave evidence against him.

News of the forgery soon became public, and a period of unrest followed. Instructions were issued by the Reserve Bank on how to spot the forgeries, which were then to be handed to authorities. But anybody turning a note in would not receive a genuine note in return, so many continued to be circulated.

A general distrust of A$10 notes permeated Australian society – at one stage, members of the Amalgamated Engineering Union refused to accept them as part of their pay packet.

Call in the scientists

The RBA’s Governor, HC (Nugget) Coombs turned to science – or, more specifically, to CSIRO. The challenge was set: could we create the world’s most secure banknote?

After some preliminary planning, the “bank project” began. Coombs originally enlisted seven top Australian scientists – five physicists and two chemists – to help the RBA develop a more secure banknote. They met on April 1, 1968, and despite the date, these were no April fools – the two chemists were Jerry Price, who went on to become chairman of CSIRO, and Sefton Hamann, chief of the CSIRO Division of Applied Chemistry.

The group was introduced to the general principles of banknote design and production, and sent off to think about it before reconvening for a second meeting at Thredbo in June 1968.

Two more scientists were invited to Thredbo: Neil Lewis, recently retired from Kodak, and David Solomon, a young, award-winning polymer scientist from CSIRO. It was during these first few years that Dr Solomon first hit on the idea of a plastic banknote after being given a business card printed on plastic by a visitor from Japan.

By February 1972, CSIRO and the RBA had agreed to commence a project to develop polymer banknotes with a range of optically variable security devices. The CSIRO team soon developed a “proof of concept” and presented it to the RBA.

The concept had:

1. a see-through panel
2. diffraction grating (an optical component which splits and diffracts light into several beams) embedded in the note
3. and it was, of course, plastic.

As well as being difficult to forge, these new notes were also more durable than the traditional “rag notes”, more environmentally friendly and less likely to carry dirt and disease.

These technical improvements were made within the first ten years of the bank project, but behind-the-scenes delays prevented the issue of these revolutionary notes until the bicentennial year 1988. In a defiant gesture to Papworth, Mutton and co, the first note issued was – you guessed it – A$10.

Today, there are more than 30 different denominations totalling some three billion polymer notes in service in 22 countries worldwide.

Article courtesy of The Conversation

Thursday, November 20, 2014

New Zealand Unveiled New Series of Polymer Banknotes

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand has unveiled more vibrant and secure bank note designs which will progressively enter circulation next year.

New $5 note due to be released October 2015.

New $10 note due to be released October 2015.

New $20 note due to be released April 2016.

New $50 note due to be released April 2016.

New $100 note due to be released April 2016.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Nigeria Unveiled 100 Naira Banknote to Commemorate 100 Years of Existence


Nigerian President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan unveiled a new 100 Naira banknote on November 12, 2014 to commemorate Nigeria's 100 years of existence. The front of the banknote features Chief Obafemi Awolowo, same as in the current 100 Naira note. The back features traditional dancers.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

US currency reimagined to celebrate ideas, not the dead

Travis Purrington imagines money without the Founding Fathers

Travis Purrington's interpretation of the US currency looks like it belongs in a cyberpunk movie. Gone is the uniformed green, and the portraits of long-dead presidents. Purrington's designs are subtle yet sleek, embossed with astronauts, crashing waves, ice-capped mountains, and distant galaxies.

The project draws inspiration from the Swiss Franc, and was conceptualized to showcase banknotes that placed greater emphasis on the accomplishments of the living, rather than "codifying myth or legend." Purrington says he removed the Founding Fathers from his design as this was a practice Congress had wanted to abolish following the American revolution. He wanted to focus instead on the attributes shared by workers in a community, and "how these attributes contribute to the principles we end up seeing as valuable."

Each dollar bill contains two phrases: "This currency is upheld by the integrity of its people," and "Uires Alit," which means "strength feeds" in Latin. Purrington says that while not immediately obvious, his reinterpretations include elements from the existing bank notes such as the eagles, the US flag, and the Treasury seal. In addition, there are also key phrases from the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and the national anthem embedded within the notes. "I think these are very America' but in a different context than we have grown accustomed," Purrington tells The Verge in an email.

Courtesy Cassandra Khaw, The Verge, October 28, 2014

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Zambia Launched 50 Kwacha Banknote to Commemorate 50th Anniversary of Independence

THE Bank of Zambia (BoZ) has unveiled a 50th Independence Anniversary K50 commemorative banknote bearing portraits of former Presidents and the current Head of State.

Minister of Finance Alexander Chikwanda launched the note in Lusaka yesterday as Zambia’s tribute to founding President Kenneth Kaunda, former presidents Frederick Chiluba, Levy Mwanawasa and Rupiah Banda, and the incumbent President Sata for their visionary leadership which has united the country.

“The K50 commemorative banknote, unlike previous commemorative coins which the Bank of Zambia issued to celebrate various historical events, will circulate side by side with the current K50 note,” he said.

Mr Chikwanda said the commemorative banknote bears the same features as the currently circulating K50 banknote except for the portraits of the five heads of state and the “50th Independence Anniversary” wording.

And BoZ governor Michael Gondwe noted that this is the first time a commemorative banknote is being circulated as legal tender in the country.

Dr Gondwe said printing and minting of banknotes and coins is a global phenomenon that is done to preserve important events.

Dr Kaunda was grateful for the honour bestowed on him and urged Zambians to continue to build the nation together using the “One Zambia, One Nation” motto.

Mr Banda, who was touched by the gesture, urged Zambians to maintain peace, love and unity.

Representing late President Chiluba, his widow Regina Chiluba said it was a great gesture for the government to recognise her husband’s contribution to Zambia.

“I would like to congratulate Zambians for being peaceful. My late husband would have been happy,” she said.

And representing late President Mwanawasa, his widow, Maureen, thanked Government for recognising the role her husband played in the development of the country.

Courtesy Lusaka Times, October 23, 2014

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Elephant image on Nepal 1‚000-rupee bank note confuses even wildlife experts

You must have noticed that all Nepali bank notes in circulation contain pictures of animals.

For instance, the five-rupee denomination note contains a picture of a pair of yaks. Bank notes of various other denominations also bear pictures of different animals, such as black bucks, swamp deer (stag), thar (Himalayan male goat), one-horned rhino and tigers.

It is not known why the back side of bank notes here bear images of animals, although Nepal Rastra Bank officials say it’s because of their neutral characteristic. “If images of temples are used, they might trigger controversy because of religious connotations. That may be the reason,” a senior NRB official said on condition of anonymity.

Whatever the reason, all pictures of animals printed on bank notes are said to be of animals found in Nepal — except for one, which has confused even wildlife experts. And that is the image of an elephant printed on the back side of the 1,000-rupee note, which, experts say, resembles the elephant found in Africa.

This ambiguity has prompted many to suspect whether the 1,000-rupee notes have long been bearing the picture of an African elephant rather than of those roaming the country’s forests.

No wonder, NRB, which issues bank notes, has started reviewing pictures of all animals printed on notes and is mulling their replacement with images of animals found in the country.

Bank notes of 1,000-rupee denomination were first issued in December 1969 — although the history of bank note circulation dates back to September 1945.

At that time, these 1,000-rupee notes contained the picture of a rural setting with Mount Annapurna in the backdrop.

Then in December 1974, the design was reviewed and the picture of an elephant with long tusks was used.

Since then, 1,000-rupee notes are being printed with the same picture of an elephant.

The picture of the elephant used in the note, according to ‘Notes and Coins of Nepal’— a book published to mark NRB’s Golden Jubilee — is that of an ‘Asian male elephant’.

But experts doubt it.

“The picture contains features of both Asian and African elephants,” Narendra Pradhan, an elephant expert, told The Himalayan Times.

“For instance, the head appears to be that of an Asian elephant, as it contains two humps on the top part of the skull,” he said. The top part of the head of the African elephant, on the other hand, is more round in shape.

But the similarity ends here.

“The appearance of the elephant in the picture, especially body size and ears, resembles those found in Africa,” Pradhan added. African elephants are bigger and have larger ears, Pradhan said. “Also, the shoulder of the African elephant rises above the head, as in the picture.”

However, a wildlife expert working for World Wildlife Fund Nepal, said it would not be wrong ‘to call that elephant in the picture Asian’. “Its ears are not as big as those of African elephants and the body resembles Asian elephants,” the source said. But she quickly added: “I don’t think it’s a real life picture. It must be artwork.”

NRB is not aware of the source of the image. “Many images were taken a long time ago. We don’t know who took them or from where they were extracted. But they are definitely not artwork,” the NRB official said, adding, “We are planning to replace all images of animals with those found in Nepal.”

If things go as planned, the 1,000-rupee note will soon contain a picture of twin baby elephants — along with their mother — born some time ago at Chitwan National Park, according to the NRB source.

Courtesy RUPAK D SHARMA, The Himalayan, 2014-10-16

Saturday, October 11, 2014

What banknotes would look like if kids designed them

Norges Bank held a competition to design their new banknote. It received loads of submissions and then whittled them down.

Participants had to communicate a theme of "The Sea" in their designs, with the Norwegian bank finally deciding that this is how the new notes will look.

The bank is now working further on motifs and designs to enable security elements intended for the public and machine-readable security elements to be designed and incorporated into the notes.

While there were many impressive entrants to the competition, one attempt in particular stood out.

Aslak Gurholt Rønsen put together a series of fetching designs, and then passed the notes on to children to design the obverse. The results are wonferful (and a little hilarious). Click on the gallery below to see Aslak's design, followed by a child's attempt.

Our favourite is definitely the 500 krone note.

Courtesy Sinead Moore, Aol, October 11. 2014

Monday, October 6, 2014

The Art of Discarded Memories - Currency Collage

Old banknotes become more valuable than ever in the dramatic portraits of Zwe Yan Naing

ZWE YAN NAING introduced a new art genre - "currency collage" - to Myanmar in his first solo exhibition in 2011 at the Pansodan Gallery. He followed that up in his second show, the just-ended "To Value Something", again creating striking portraits with disused banknotes.

Zwe Yan Naing, 30, has been creating art since he was a child and was already quite talented by the time he was attending the Yangon School of Fine Arts. Today he's considered a pioneer of new or little known art forms and ideas.

"I don't want the old banknotes or the iconic people in Myanmar history to be forgotten and buried in the past," he says. "I'm well aware of the significant historic figures and I'm trying to pass on their legacy to the next generation. That's the main concept behind this exhibition."

His currency collages are images of yesteryear's heroes built with banknotes. They combine art and architecture, he says, and entail considerable dexterity as well as commitment.

Zwe Yan Naing begins by cutting up and arranging the banknotes on a prepared template, then glues everything together in a dramatic display of colour-coded uniformity. The notes' dominant colours - green, cyan, pink and white - limit the tone range of his "canvas". Black dye is finally used to mark the boundary along which the central figure is cropped.

He chiefly uses 25, 45 and 75-kyat bills, which ceased to be legal tender in 1987. It's not easy finding them in bulk nowadays. "It's taken me almost three years to stage this second exhibition," Zwe Yan Naing says. "Hunting for the vintage banknotes took most of that time. I scoured old markets and people's private collections and so on.

"I spent a fortune turning these valueless notes into invaluable art pieces, though, so the time has been well spent."

His works sell for anywhere from US$600 to $1,800 (Bt19,000 to Bt58,000).

Most of his collages are portraits of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of the opposition National League for Democracy. Zwe Yan Naing explained on the exhibition's invitation cards why she predominates.

"I need a main character for my artistic journey that will end only when I die, someone like Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who is strong and intelligent and devotes her life to the greater good of the country."

As well as the series "The Myanmar Lady", he's done portraits of her revered father, General Aung San, former UN general secretary U Thant and Thakhin Ko Taw Hmine, the literary powerhouse regarded as the father of Burma's nationalist and peace movements.

Between 2011 and 2013 Zwe Yan Naing had shows in Britain, the Netherlands, Hong Kong, Bangkok and Mumbai in India, all well received by critics and the public.

It has not always been such smooth sailing. While Myanmar was still under military rule, the portraits of "the Lady" ruffled feathers and the censors blocked three planned exhibitions in 2009 and 2010. Only in the following year, with liberalism permeating the political air, did he obtain permission to stage his first exhibition.

"I'm now working on my next show, though I don't have an exact date," says Zwe Yan Nain. "I'm very worried about what kind of misfortune might befall me and my art. That's why I have to double my efforts while luck is still on my side."

He's developing another technique, called "stamp collage", using postal logos from the colonial era. "I've got the very first stamp issued with Bogyoke Aung San on it, and other stamps predating that one, plus some foreign stamps that depict Daw Suu Kyi. My next show should be even more remarkable."

Zwe Yan Naing is clearly not interested in "art for art's sake", only in "art for history's sake".

Courtesy Nay Thiha, Myanmar Eleven, October 6, 2014

Monday, September 29, 2014

Rare £1,000 banknote is expected to sell for £20k!

A rare £1,000 banknote is expected to sell for 20 times its face value!

The high value note was issued in 1935, when it could buy you two average-sized homes and was worth five times the average salary. We wouldn't fancy walking around with that in our back pocket!

But everything higher than a £5 note was pulled out of circulation after a Nazi plot to flood wartime Britain with forged money was discovered.

The planned plot would put £130m of fake currency into the economy, so the banks acted quickly to pull notes higher than £5 out of circulation.

Those notes taken out of circulation were destroyed - but 63 of the £1,000 notes were unaccounted for and it's thought that at least 20 still exist somewhere.

Although £1,000 would now be worth around £30,000 in this economy, it is expected that the note will fetch around £20,000 at auction.

We still wouldn't mind having that!

Courtesy Chanel O'Etienne, Reveal, Sep 29 2014

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Myanmar to Issue New 5000 Kyat Bank Notes

The Central Bank of Myanmar will introduce a new Ks 5,000 bank note on October 1, 2014 in order to prevent counterfeiting, it said on September 18.

The new bank note will be varnished and its quality higher than the current Ks 5,000 notes in circulation. It will be the same size, colour and design of the notes now circulating, which will continue to be used.

The new notes will last longer and be cleaner, the central bank said.

The announcement follows recent media reports that counterfeit Ks 5,000 and Ks 10,000 bank notes are circulating widely. Police seized eight counterfeit Ks 10,000 bills and a printer allegedly used to make them on September 12 in Yangon’s Tamwe Township.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Sculpture of Eleanor Rigby Made from £1 Million Bank Notes

Leonard J Brown's 'million pound bag lady' Eleanor Rigby

A sculpture of Eleanor Rigby made out of £1million worth of old bank notes is on show at the Museum of Liverpool.

The artwork was created by Liverpool-born sculptor Leonard Brown to honour the well known character made famous by the Beatles song bearing her name.

He made the five foot two inch sculpture using thousands of shredded £5, £10 and £20 notes supplied by the Bank of England.

Leonard, who is originally from Dingle, but has lived in Yorkshire for 40 years, hopes his creation will demonstrate the relationship between wealth and poverty.

He said: “The sculpture serves to show people that money isn’t the only way to make you happy, or indeed ‘buy you love’ and we should all be thankful for what we have. “There are people in every town and city like Eleanor Rigby who live a lonely life, and whose only worldly goods are kept in the bags that they carry.”

A note accompanying the sculpture reads ‘I cried because I had no shoes, until I saw a man who had no feet’, a saying which Leonard says he was often reminded of as a youngster growing up in Liverpool.

The artist says he remembers Post-War Liverpool waterfront as a derelict area following heavy bombing of the city.

The sculpture is made from thousands of shredded £5, £10 and £20 notes supplied by the Bank of England

As a child he and his friends played in the area, running in and out of dock buildings and across the Hartley Bridge, which joins Mann Island and the Albert Dock next to the Museum of Liverpool.

He said: “To have this sculpture on display here in my home city, and on the site of the place I used to play as a young boy, is absolutely phenomenal and a dream come true. I left the city in 1966 to pursue a career as a singer in the Channel Islands, but I still have the accent and will always be a proud Liverpudlian.”

In order to get the high quantity of bank notes he needed to create his Eleanor Rigby sculpture, Leonard had to go straight to the top and started off trying to contact the Governor of the Bank of England to grant his request for £1million bank notes.

After months of discussion, he was invited to London to pick up the notes, which were given to him in the form of shredded pellets. £300,000 worth of the notes make up some of the materials that fill the chest cavity, and the rest of the pellets were then mashed and moulded over a steel frame bound in wire, to create the figure.

Leonard says he was inspired to create the sculpture after seeing an old lady – much like Eleanor Rigby - carrying a large number of bags through the centre of Hull where he now lives.

The sculpture took six months to complete and was finished in August 2013. It will be displayed in the atrium of the Museum of Liverpool until January 2015.

Courtesy Helen Davies, Liverpool Echo, September 21, 2014