Mountaineering on banknotes

A few days ago we heard the sad news that Dutch mountaineer Eric Arnold had died while climbing the Mount Everest. He was only 35 years old. The day before he had been finally successful (after 4 failed attempts in previous years) in reaching the summit. During the descent from the top it is believed he died from altitude sickness. Two other people have died from the same climbing group.

Mountains and the people who try to climb them have always sparked people's imagination and admiration. So it's no surprise we can find several of them on banknotes from different countries. The highest of them all, the Mount Everest (although that is up for debate), is on the banknotes of at least three two different countries: Nepal and China and New Zealand.

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The last note from New Zealand is of course the Banknote of the Year 2015. It is also one of two notes I could find with an actual climber on it, in this case the famous Sir Edmund Hillary who was the first to climb to the summit of Mount Everest in 1953. Update: you know that feeling when you've always assumed something to be obvious just to find out it's not true? Well... I always assumed the mountain on the 5-dollar note from New Zealand to be Mount Everest since it has Sir Edmund Hillary on it but as Wez correctly pointed out in the comments it's Mount Cook, the highest mountain in New Zealand. 

The other note I could find with mountaineers on it, is the 500-intis note from Peru.

One other mountaineer deserves to be included in this story and that is Sean Prockter from Jasper, Canada. He made the news last year when he was the first person to climb all 7 peaks shown on the Canadian 10-dollar banknote in one season.

© Bank of Canada

Steven | Wednesday 25 May 2016 at 10:58 am | | articles | Two comments

New banknote series in India?

The Reserve Bank of India has indicated that a new set of banknotes will be issued in the future. The new currency notes might get a new look.

No word yet on the design or issue date. Perhaps this will also be the opportunity to finally introduce the polymer notes in India? Last I heard about them was that the trial in five cities was cancelled because of 'technical problems'.

Steven | Tuesday 24 May 2016 at 11:50 am | | news | No comments
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Competing Central Banks in Libya

The Guardian reports that a rival Central Bank in Libya might issue competing banknotes. This will certainly help to solve the already chaotic situation in Libya...

"A political battle between the UN-recognised Tripoli government led by Fayez Sarraj and the Tobruk-based parliament loyal to General Khalifa Haftar in the east has led to parallel splits in the country’s financial institutions, with two central banks threatening to circulate rival Libyan dinar banknotes in the country.

De La Rue, the Basingstoke-based currency printer and a long-term supplier of notes to the Libyan government in Tripoli, sent 70m dinars, worth about $50m, to the country last month and is in the process of delivering a further 1bn dinars before and during Ramadan.

A rival bank governor in the east, Ali Salim al-Hibri, once recognised as the bank governor by the IMF, claims to have printed 4bn dinars worth of banknotes with the help of the Russian state.

The two currencies would have different serial numbers, security details and watermarks, diplomats say. The danger is two central banks flooding the country with conflicting currencies that are not interchangeable in banks. They are also likely to worsen inflation. Food inflation has reached 14% a year."

Update 24 May 2016: the images below are supposedly of the competing dinar banknotes.

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Steven | Monday 23 May 2016 at 11:31 am | | links | No comments
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Swiss won't abolish the 1,000-franc note

Good news if you happen to be a criminal in search for ways to transport your dirty money in a convenient way. The Swiss National Bank (SNB) has announced that it will not follow the example of the European Central Bank when they announced the end of their highest denomination. The 500-euro note might be coming to an end but the Swiss 1,000-franc note will be available to us all. In a matter of speaking for most of us...

"The cabinet argued that the Money Laundering Reporting Office (MROS) had also not received any information on the illegal use of high-value banknotes."

Steven | Monday 23 May 2016 at 11:21 am | | links | No comments
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Scientist finds mistake on Turkish 5-lira banknote

The Hurriyet Daily News reports that Nobel laureate Aziz Sancar has found a mistake in the DNA helix on the Turkish 5-lira note.

"Speaking during a visit to schools in Istanbul’s Üsküdar district on May 21, Sancar said the left-handed Z-DNA helix on the reverse of the banknote mistakenly wound from left to right. He added that he informed the Central Bank about the mistake five years ago but there had been no change yet.

Issued on Jan 1, 2009, the left side on the reverse of the 5 lira banknote features a portrait of Turkish scientist Adnan Sayili along with pictures of the left-handed Z-DNA helix, atomic symbols, the solar system, and hand figures.

Sancar, who currently works at the University of North Carolina, was among three scientists awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2015 for their work on DNA repair. He won the prize along with Tomas Lindahl and Paul Modrich for their work in mapping cells that repair ultraviolet damage to DNA. The research marks an important step in the quest to beat cancer."

Steven | Monday 23 May 2016 at 11:05 am | | links | No comments
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Will Nellie McClung return on a Canadian banknote?

The Bank of Canada announced on 8 March 2016 that for the first release of its next series of banknotes it wants a woman to appear on the new note. A public call for names resulted in a list of 18,000 women which was narrowed down to 12 eligible women: politician Therese Casgrain, aeronautical engineer Elsie MacGill, 'Anne of Green Gables' author Lucy Maud Montgomery, artist Emily Carr, black activist and businesswoman Viola Desmond, poet E. Pauline Johnson, author Gabrielle Roy, artist Pitseolak Ashoona, suffragette Idola Saint-Jean, humanitarian Lotta Hitschmanova, athlete Fanny (Bobbie) Rosenfeld and suffragette Nellie McClung. 

Out of these 6 women Nellie McClung received by far the most votes in a poll according to the Winnipeg Free Press. A massive 27% of all voters voted for her, while the other women didn't get more than 10% of the votes. From Wikipedia: "She was a part of the social and moral reform movements prevalent in Western Canada in the early 1900s. In 1927, McClung and four other women: Henrietta Muir Edwards, Emily Murphy, Louise McKinney and Irene Parlby, who together came to be known as "The Famous Five" (also called "The Valiant Five"), launched the "Persons Case," contending that women could be "qualified persons" eligible to sit in the Senate. The Supreme Court of Canada ruled that current law did not recognize them as such. However, the case was won upon appeal to the Judicial Committee of the British Privy Council—the court of last resort for Canada at that time."

If Nellie McClung is indeed chosen to be the face of one of the banknotes of the next series it will actually be a return for her. She was also featured on the back of the 50-dollar note from the previous series together with the other members of The Famous Five (see below) which was issued in 2004.

The new note from the next series will be issued in 2018.

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Steven | Thursday 19 May 2016 at 10:30 am | | news | No comments
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Tea banknotes

Although banknote collecting is my biggest hobby, I do have several other interests keeping me off the streets. Fountain pens and fountain pen ink for instance. I have collected several fountain pens and use them all the time. I just love tinkering with the pens, diassembling them, cleaning them and filling the pens up with all kinds of beautiful new ink colors. For me there's some great satisfaction in finding a beautiful fountain pen, combining it with a gorgeous ink color and writing smoothly with it on a blank piece of paper.

Another 'hobby' is tea. Or not so much a hobby perhaps but definitely something I enjoy very much. I visit a local tea shop regularly searching for new varieties and tastes. Again, I get a huge feeling of satisfaction when I manage to brew a delicious cup of tea from some tea variety I hadn't tried out before.

When having several hobbies it's always nice if these separate worlds collide. I was searching in vain for banknotes with fountain pens on them (if anybody knows any, please let me know) when I did stumble upon banknotes with tea motives on them. Several countries that produce tea have issued banknotes in the past with scenes of tea plantations on them or people picking tea. And of course there are tea pavillions where tea ceremonies are usually held.

Here's a little taste (no pun intended) of my search for 'tea banknotes' after the click.

Read on

Steven | Wednesday 18 May 2016 at 2:40 pm | | articles | Two comments
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Honduras: coins for low denomination banknotes?

The Central Bank of Honduras is examining the possibility of replacing the denominations of 1-, 2- and 5-lempiras notes with coins.

Because the buying power of the lempiras has worsened, more and more higher denominations are being used. The existing coins of 1-, 2-, 5-, 10-, 20- and 50-cents are almost worthless. While at the same time the cost of maintaing the lower denominations has increased. Coins have a longer life and don't have to be replaced as often as banknotes. Also the cost of minting is lower than the printing of banknotes.

The final decision will be made in 2017 when a new series of banknotes and coins will be issued.

Steven | Wednesday 18 May 2016 at 2:14 pm | | news | No comments
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New Zealand issues last three notes of Series 7

The The Reserve Bank of New Zealand has issued the new 20-, 50- and 100-dollar notes to the public today. This means all of the new banknotes from Series 7 have now been issued since the 5- and 10-dollar notes had already been issued in October of last year.

The new 5-dollar note was recently crowned as the IBNS Banknote of the Year 2015. My guess is that at least one of these last three notes will also be on the shortlist for the Banknote of the Year 2016. 

20 dollar

50 dollar

100 dollar

Steven | Monday 16 May 2016 at 10:20 am | | news | No comments
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Disney Dollars to be discontinued from 14 May 2016

Sad news from Walt Disney World: from 14 May 2016 Disney will no longer sell any new Disney Dollars and won't issue new series anymore. Disney Dollars were first issued in 1987 and were a legal means of paying for Disney stuff in Disney Parks and Stores.

Several series have been issued to the public. All existing Disney Dollars will continue to be accepted at Disney locations as they do not expire. To get a look at the series which have been issued so far, I highly recommend visiting

I'm glad I managed to buy a few notes during my recent visit to Disney World. Reading the comments on WDW News Today, I expect the few remaining notes to be sold out very quickly.


Steven | Friday 13 May 2016 at 09:37 am | | news | No comments
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Guyana presents commemorative 50-dollar note

The Bank of Guyana has presented its 50-dollar commemorative banknote. The new note commemorates that 50 years ago on 26 May 1966, Guyana became an independent country. The note was announced in November last year.

As you would expect of a note commemorating such an occassion, the note is filled with national symbols. The front of the note shows the 50th Independence Anniversary logo to the right, the crest of the Bank of Guyana in the centre and the people of Guyana standing together as one on the left. The reverse side of the note portrays the national flag and the map of Guyana in the centre, peace doves on the right and the national flower (Victoria amazonica or giant waterlily) on the left.

As for security features: on the right hand side on the front is a windowed security thread which, when held up to the light, shows a complete thread. On the left of the note there is a watermark of a Macaw and the value of the note will be seen when the note is held up to the light.

There is no set date yet when the note will be issued to the public but I expect it in the next couple of weeks since the independence date is 26 May. I think this note looks very nice!

Steven | Friday 13 May 2016 at 09:20 am | | news | No comments
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Innovia Group buys Australian secure ink maker

Bloomberg reports that Innovia Group will buy Barroven, an Australian maker of secure inks. This move is seen as Innovia trying to secure the supply chain needed for making polymer substrate used for polymer banknotes.

Innovia is responsible for 99.9% of all polymer sheets used for making plastic banknotes. From its new facility in Wigton, Innovia will be manufacturing the new polymer banknote substrate for the Bank of England beginning with the £5 note due to be issued in September 2016 and the new £10 note in 2017.

Steven | Wednesday 11 May 2016 at 1:43 pm | | links | No comments
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