De La Rue announces financial results

According to a press release dated 26 November 2019, security printer De La Rue announced its half year results for the six months ending 28 September 2019.

Clive Vacher, Chief Executive Officer of De La Rue, said:
“The business has experienced an unprecedented period of change with the Chairman, CEO, senior independent director and most of the executive team leaving or resigning in the period. This has led to inconsistency in both quality and speed of execution. The new Board is working to stabilise the management team, which we believe will take some time.
“At the same time, we have seen significant changes since the start of the year in the market for Currency, including pricing pressure as a result of reduced overspill demand. This has had a material impact on volumes and profitability in H1 2019/20 and it will also take time for the currency market to normalise. Our Authentication business continues to show good growth and provides some degree of balance to the Currency headwinds, while demand for polymer substrate is also exceeding our expectations.
“In response, we are reviewing our cost base and will make the structural changes that will further strengthen our competitiveness in a challenging market. We continue to focus on building momentum in the higher-margin security feature market and continue to innovate to improve our position in this fast-growing area.
“Between now and the end of calendar Q1 2020, we will complete a full review of the business and design a comprehensive turnaround plan for the Company. In the meantime, we have already identified and started to implement the urgent actions needed to stabilise the business and allow us to complete the review. With strong emphasis on cost control and cash management, coupled with a focus on innovation and reversing the revenue decline, we will become a leaner, more efficient Company and drive shareholder value.”

SCWPM publisher F+W Media files for bankruptcy

According to a Coin World article dated 15 March 2019, “The firm F + W media, a major periodical and book publisher whose titles include Numismatic News, Bank Note Reporter, and the seminal references Standard Catalog of World Coins and Standard Catalog of World Paper Money, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection to reconcile $105.2 million in outstanding debt. In its March 10 filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware in Wilmington, F + W Media cites just $2.5 million in cash on hand. The company plans to remain in operation while it plans liquidation of its holdings.”

According to Amazon, the 25th edition of the SCWPM will be released on 2 April 2019, but F + W is hoping to sell its magazine and book divisions in their entirety, not individual titles, so the future of the SCWPM is uncertain at this point.

Rest assured, we remain committed to making The Banknote Book the best possible reference for our hobby. If you are not already a subscriber, please show your support by subscribing today.

Archives International to hold 50th Milestone Auction on 3 December 2018


Contact: Dr. Robert Schwartz
(201) 944-4800


The auction will be held by Archives International Auctions, in NYC and their offices in Fort Lee, N.J.

FORT LEE, N.J. – Archives International Auction’s December “50th Milestone Auction” scheduled for Monday and Tuesday December 3rd & 4th, consists of over 1150 lots of rare and desirable banknotes, scripophily, Presidential autographs and historic Ephemera. Featured will be an extensive collection of Chinese banknote rarities, U.S. & Worldwide Banknotes, Scripophily, Security Printing Ephemera and a U.S. Presidential Autograph collection as well as hundreds of other desirable banknotes, bonds and shares and historic ephemera.

“The worldwide banknote market has been exceptionally strong this past year with dozens of price records being set every sale. We do our best to cater to every level of collector and dealer and look forward to celebrating our 50th Milestone Auction with the collecting community with another exciting offering that includes hundreds of worldwide banknotes, scripophily and historic autographs,” said Dr. Robert Schwartz, president of Archives International Auctions.

The first and second sessions scheduled on December 3rd to take place at the Collectors Club in New York City begins with U.S. & Worldwide Scripophily with many highlights from the John E. Herzog Collection including major rarities such as the impressive Spanish, Real Compania de San Fernando de Seville, 1740's Share Certificate; 2 different 1917, Dominion of Canada War Loan Specimen bond rarities as well as many 18th and 19th century rarities. Modern Scripophily is represented by numerous stocks such as Apple Computer, Amazon.com, NYSE Group, Inc. and Berkshire Hathaway Specimens. Additional Highlights include a 1778 Danish West Indies Bond; 2 different Nathan Rothschild Russian Bonds; an 1845 Michigan, Mackinac and Lake Superior Copper Co. Stock Certificate and hundreds of additional desirable Bonds and shares emphasizing railroads, mining and modern bonds and shares offered over the 2-day auction.

Security Printing Ephemera is highlighted by a spectacular 1866 British American Bank Note Company, Engravers & Printers, Proof Advertising Sheet Rarity, dozens of spectacular early advertising notes from ABN, BW&C as well a pioneer polymer Tyvek and DuraNote banknote rarities and numerous other desirable items. We are also privileged to offer a historic group of Presidential signed documents including an Abraham Lincoln signed Military Appointment of N. J. Sappington, later assigned to Elmira Prison to feed captured Confederates, as Commissary of Subsistence of Volunteers; 2 different James Madison signed documents and numerous other Presidential signed documents from an old estate collection that has been off the market for over 30 years.
U.S. banknote highlights begin with impressive obsolete banknotes including a dramatic 1850-60s Continental Bank $3 Obsolete with the well-known Polar Bear attacking men in boat image as well as dozens of rare and attractive obsoletes, both issued and proofs; National banknotes are highlighted by an extremely rare Uncut Pair of 1875, $10-$20, Charter #2382, The Central National Bank of Washington City, with this being the only known uncut pair of notes from this bank; an Alaska, First National Bank of Fairbanks, 1902, $5, Plain Back rarity; a German National Bank of Memphis, 1866 Proof $5 Banknote Rarity; an Oilfields National Bank in Brea, CA, $5 Ty.2 in CU 64; a First National Bank in Reno, $5 Uncut Sheet of 6 notes, Ch#7038; a Nevada, 1929, First National Bank of Lovelock, Nevada, $10, T1, Ch#7654 rarity, and dozens of other outstanding U.S. Obsolete, Type and National notes from various collections and estates.

Foreign Banknotes include many desirable rarities such as an Australia, 1941, Camp Seven Bank Hay Internment Camp 2 Shillings note; a 1937 Bank of Canada, $100 Specimen graded PCGS 66 OPQ; a Chile, 1878-79 Banco Nacional de Chile Specimen Banknote Quartet, all extremely rare notes; a DWI, 1905 Proof $100 National Bank of the Danish West indies rarity; an amazing Irish Republic, 1866 Issued Uncut Sheet of 3 $5 Notes; Possibly the finest known, Germany, Imperial Treasury Note - Reichskassenschein 1906 Issued Banknote in AU 55 EPQ with no other notes listed in the PMG census as well as dozens of additional rare and desirable notes.

We are ending the first day with a significant offering 128 lots of rare China and Hong Kong Banknotes and Chinese Scripophily featuring a Hong Kong, Mercantile Bank of India, 1941, $5, Issue Banknote Rarity; a Sin Chun Bank of China, 1908, $10 high grade Private Banknote; a 1920, 10 Tael Specimen Commercial Bank of China Rarity and dozens of other rare and desirable Chinese banknotes. The first day end with Chinese scripophily highlighted by a Chinese Government 5% Gold Loan of 1912, Issued £1000 Bond.

The auction features hundreds of additional rare and desirable banknotes, coins, and scripophily in every price range, for the beginner to the advanced collector. Previews will be held at Archives International Auctions offices Wednesday to Friday, November 28, 29 and 30 from 10 AM to 5 PM and by appointment and on Monday, December 3rd at the Collectors Club located at 22 East 35th Street in New York City beginning at 9:30 am until 2:00 pm EST. For an appointment call 201-944-4800 or email info@archivesinternational.com.

The Online catalog for the December 3rd and 4th sale is on Archives International Auctions’ website and can be viewed via the ArchivesLive bidding platform. It can also be viewed as a virtual catalog or downloadable .pdf on their website. To pre-register for live internet bidding, log on to the Archives International Auctions website, at www.ArchivesInternational.com.

Archives International Auctions is currently seeking quality consignments for 2019 Winter and Spring auctions and is looking for U.S. and worldwide banknotes, coins, stocks, bonds, stamps, postal history, historic ephemera, autographs, and documents to buy outright. To sell or consign one piece or an entire collection, please call AIA at (201) 944-4800; or e-mail them at info@archivesinternational.com. You can also view AIA’s weekly eBay offerings at their eBay ID ArchivesOnline.

You may also write to Archives International Auctions, at 1580 Lemoine Ave., Suite #7, Fort Lee, NJ 07024 U.S.A. To learn more about Archives International Auctions and the auctions planned for 2019, log on to www.ArchivesInternational.com.

IBNS opens voting for Banknote of 2017 award

Members of the International Bank Note Society (IBNS) have until 25 March 2018 to vote for the Banknote of 2017 award.

Free subscription to The E-Sylum numismatic newsletter

If you're not already on The E-Sylum mailing list, subscribe today. It's a free weekly newsletter edited by Wayne Homren for the Numismatic Bibliomania Society, though you don't have to be a member to subscribe. The newsletter goes out by email every Sunday night to over 3,000 numismatic bibliophiles, researchers, and collectors around the world. Topics are all over the numismatic map, and most people find something of interest each week. Banknotes are frequently a topic along with news on a wide spectrum of numismatics and numismatic personalities.

Back issues for 2017 can be found here.

Dutch printer Joh. Enschedé to quit banknote production

According to reports, Dutch security printer Joh. Enschedé plans to quit banknote production due to overcapacity in the sector, and will instead focus on printing stamps and visa documents.

Courtesy of Claudio Marana.

Press release: Track & Price announces World Paper Money software upgrade

[Owen W. Linzmayer, editor: I'm happy to publish the following press release for Track & Price because The Banknote Book relies heavily on this unique service to provide timely, accurate, and inclusive pricing history based upon actual sales. Our editors interpret this information and distill it down to a snapshot of values listed in The Banknote Book, but Track & Price is the only place you can see the big picture.]

Screen Shot 2016-11-22 at 5.29.48 PM
Naples, FL- 22 November 2016
Track & Price, a one-of-a-kind collection of software tools, has released an updated software version of World Paper Money. Track & Price is used by paper money collectors, dealers, and auction houses globally to assess the value of paper money. This easy-to-use and highly accurate software helps even amateur collectors seamlessly maneuver through millions of auction results. Giving you complete control, Track & Price conveniently lets you search using your local language and currency, sorting the results by grade, note type, auction date, price, individual catalog number, and more!

Track & Price makes sense of huge price swings, with actual auction results, by using its sophisticated prorating algorithm. This software is the only constantly updated World Paper Money auction report! 500 to 2,000 real auction results are added daily from across the world. To date, Track & Price offers more than 1 million useful results. Don’t waste any more time searching through pricing catalogs that are consistently off by many orders of magnitude, both wildly underpriced and overpriced. Finally, there is no need to spend hours searching through the SCWPM as we make it easy for you to input the details of any given note for the most accurate pricing results.

Estimating the price of multiple note lots has also never been easier! 40-50% of auction lots consist of multiple notes. Track & Price breaks down these multiple note auction lots and prorates their relative values based on the final auction price, including the buyer premium. T&P allows you to effortlessly search specific parameters to get actual values, which eliminates estimating and guessing! You can also refine your searches by note variety (i.e. P1, P1a, or P1b, etc.).

Track & Price is a highly trusted tool used by auction houses throughout the world. The U.S. software is used by all the major auction companies and has been providing U.S. auction results and census data for auction houses, dealers, and collectors since 2001. World Paper Money is used by Archives International, The Banknote Book, Heritage, Lyn Knight Auctions, Spink, Stack’s Bowers, and other market leaders.

We invite you to try a free trial of Track & Price. Simply go to http://trackandprice.com/ and select the software you would like to use for the next 30 days! Questions? Please call Sandy Bashover at (239) 384-9674 or write trackandprice@yahoo.com.

Christoph Gärtner auction 35 takes place 19 October 2016 and is now online on Sixbid

(35)_Banknoten_B7-1 cropped
According to a press release, Christoph Gärtner auction 35 contains more than 3,000 banknote lots from all over the world, and all are now online on Sixbid.

Among them many rarities from Europe with rarely seen specimen banknotes including a comprehensive collection of Bulgaria will be offered.

"A special focus on banknotes from Russia and the Ukraine will be created by 1,400 different lots which will be offered as small collections and rare single notes. They start with the very early 18th century state issues, containing for example the very rare issue of 1,000-rubles 1895 P.A77, many specimen notes and nearly all issues of the “chervonetz”-series of the 1920s. The highlight of this section will be a prototype of a not issued project design of a 1-chervonets banknote from 1923. Furthermore a wide range of Russian regional and local issues will be auctioned, from North Russia to the far eastern regions – surely an exceptional collection of banknotes and an outstanding possibility to complete a collection.
But the auction will also show high value banknotes from Asia and Africa to complete this impressive offer of world banknotes which are waiting for your bids."

How to design beautiful banknotes

Check out this interesting DesignWeek article on "How to design beautiful banknotes."

Frank van Tiel collection to be auctioned by MPO on 29.01.2016

On 29 January 2016, MPO, the Dutch affiliate of Heritage Auctions in Dallas, Texas, will auction the Frank van Tiel collection of Dutch and world banknotes. Frank has been a long-time contributor to The Banknote Book, and this auction features many better notes, both old and modern. Check it out, and bid to win!

World Paper Money author Albert Pick passed away 21.11.2015

I am saddened to report the death of Albert Pick, 93, on 21 November 2015 in a nursing home in Germany. Mr. Pick was the author of the original Standard Catalog of World Paper Money (SCWPM) in 1975, and is responsible for creating the eponymous numbering system still in use today. Banknote collectors to world over owe Mr. Pick an enornmous debt of gratitude for his seminal work in creating the first general issues catalog, an impressive feat made all the more remarkable when you consider he did so without the help of desktop publishing, email, and the Internet. Rest in peace.

Recommended reading: Money for everything

In the 3 October 2015 edition of The Economist, there's an interesting article "Money for everything" which asserts that "Despite many usurpers, cash is still king." Good news for banknote collectors!

Courtesy of Mark Irwin.

Recommended reading: The secret codes of British banknotes

Omron rings
The BBC has a very interesting article dated 25 June 2015 by Chris Baraniuk entitled "The secret codes of British banknotes," which discusses the so-called EURion Constellation (aka Omron rings) patterns' role in deterring digital counterfeiting.

Unmentioned in this article is that the simplest way to defeat this anti-counterfeiting feature is to use older scanners and photo editing software which do not interfere with the manipulation of banknote imagery. For example, Adobe Photoshop 3 will detect if you attempt to open a banknote image, but it will allow you to open, edit, and save same, but you can't print. With Photoshop 4, you're blocked from even viewing any image determined by the software to be a banknote.

Courtesy of Anthony Rodov and Christof Zellweger.

Excellence in Holography Awards 2015 now open to nominations

IHMA_logo_black_MAC copy
The International Hologram Manufacturers Association (IHMA), are inviting applications and nominations for the Excellence in Holography Awards 2015, ahead of the annual Holography Conference in held on 2-4 December 2015 in Shanghai, China.

The IHMA represents many of the leading hologram and holography technology developers and manufacturers from across the world. The 2015 awards, sponsored by Laczynski and Angus Creative Consultancy, are to showcase the leading developers in holography technology worldwide and recognise innovation in this ever changing field.

The award categories include innovations for the best in Holographic Technology, Origination, Holographic Optical Element Applications and Applied Security, Decorative and Packing Products.

General Secretary Designate of the IHMA, Dr Mark Deakes, said ‘For many years holography has played a key role in decorative and brand protection security for anti-counterfeiting applications. As counterfeiters are increasingly trying to profit from illegally duplicating not only consumer goods but also commercial and industrial products, holography is increasingly being used to promote authenticity within many global industries which rely on the high quality spare and replacement parts within their supply chains. Our awards seek to recognise and reward those companies who continue to showcase the best examples of holography in all these areas of application.’

The award categories cover the full end-to-end spectrum of holograph techniques in origination, production and finishing. The awards will showcase the best examples of design, artwork and techniques used in holograph origination to the application of holographic optical elements, for example in display screens, lighting, communications and vehicular systems. The awards will also showcase exceptional real-world uses of security and authentication holograms by a customer.

Any number of applications or nominations can be submitted - either directly from a company or on behalf of another company or project. People or organisations involved in a hologram project may apply for an Award; others may nominate holographic projects for an Award as long as details can be given of the user or producer of the hologram.

The closing date for receipt of applications or nominations is August 17, 2015. No applications will be accepted after this date. Only holograms first produced commercially or holographic processes or techniques introduced after August 1, 2014, are eligible for the 2015 Awards.

The Awards will be announced and presented at the Awards Dinner on 3rd December during the 2015 Holography Conference™.

For an application form, please contact: Kim Del Pellegrino - info@ihma.org or visit www.theholographyconference.com

What Does It Take to Design a Banknote?

This article was reprinted from SPECIMEN Issue 4 with the permission of Innovia Security, maker of Guardian polymer substrate.

What Does It Take to Design a Banknote?

When it comes to designing a new banknote, aesthetics are just one aspect to be considered. The challenge goes well
beyond the initial concept — —it is to innovate and compose all the visual elements in perfect harmony while incorporating
a selection of complex security features. Banknote designer Carlos Almenar walks us through the process, which at times
can be a maze and requires thinking at multiple levels.

Carlos Almenar
Having worked across the banknote industry, Carlos Almenar knows what makes for a great design.

What is the role of concept design in today’s banknote industry?
A banknote designer is a person capable of interpreting the culture and identity of a nation, to then translate these semantic
concepts into the specic techniques required to build a banknote.

The banknote designer is also an architect who works with a team of specialists in the banknote industry. Their thoughts and reflections must focus on the designs, substrates, security features and printing techniques.

The banknote designer advises central banks regarding the architecture and manufacturing of a banknote – its aesthetics, colours, sizes, security features, substrates, etc. They guarantee that the banknote design will go beyond the aesthetic concept – as a true work of art, the design will be adapted to the complex techniques involved in banknote manufacturing.

In my opinion, today’s banknote designer must adapt and transform the design techniques and concepts to a new dimension of our presentand future.

Should it be a concept or an actual illustration of the fiŸnal note?
A banknote design or concept must be conceptualised with manufacturing in mind. The banknote designer sits between their central bank customer and the manufacturing industry. The design concepts that are created and presented to the central bank must correspond exactly to each step of the manufacturing process. For this reason, there must be fluid and open lines of communication between the banknote designer and all the key groups responsible for the security features.

How much detail should the concept contain?
The banknote designer must consider many di‘erent details, especially since a design cannot just be “beautiful”. The design must go beyond the aesthetic so it can become a truly functional feature that adapts perfectly to the expectations of the central bank. And above all, the banknote design must be fully compatible with the substrate manufacturing and printing techniques.

How much freedom is there to change the concept as the project progresses?
Freedom to introduce changes in a concept design will always be present, although the problem is not its freedom but the time it takes to complete these changes in the design. When a design project is at a late stage in its development and the need to change it arises, time plays a very important role. If the proposed changes are based on subjective reasons, work
can continue for hours on end and it may never reach any conclusions. However, if the reasons are objective and based on sound logic, apositive outcome can be reached in a short time.

How do you cater for the different expectations of various stakeholders?
For me it is important to listen to the div‘ergent views and opinions that participate in the design process towards the creation of a banknote, especially since banknotes are normally made using very complex systems and every note has its own identity and specific security codes. But the most important part is to listen and understand the needs of the central bank. Each country has its own economy and specic needs regarding cash management. It is very important to understand that banknotes are diff‘erent in each nation or issuing authority of circulating currency.

From abstract to concrete: Carlos Almenar’s interpretation of the invisible comes alive.

In your experience, are there many differences between designing a concept banknote in polymer versus designing for paper?
The basics of banknote design are simple; however today there is a diversity of substrate technologies propelling the evolution of design into more complex eff‘ects.

Paper substrates have existed for centuries and evolved, not in the raw materials, but in the development of watermarks, security threads and durability. Today there are other substrates such as polymer, and this specically has made banknote designs a lot more dynamic and complex due to its wide array of alternatives intransparency and opacity integrated in highly detailed security features and printing.

Today polymer has evolved in an incredible manner and the creation of a design has evolved accordingly. The security features and composition of the many design layers that form a polymer substrate inspire the designer to focus their activity in the synchronisation of polymer and the associated security features. But beyond this, all these elements must be adapted to the printing systems and therefore an integrated concept design can be achieved: substrate, design architecture, security features and printing. This enables the design to off‘er a variety of products adapted to new technologies that whilst highly-secure, pose greater challenges for would-be counterfeiters.

How do you deal with these differences yourself?
I have had the privilege of designing banknotes on both paper and polymer, which includes working at the Central Bank of Venezuela Print Works, Oberthur Fiduciaire, and now as Banknote Designer at Innovia Security. These experiences have enabled me to understand and appreciate the di‘fferences between the processes used to create a banknote in paper or polymer.

Currently, my work involves an increased use of technology and therefore I must integrate the concepts developed for the
substrate and interact in more detail with the experts in polymer substrate design, as well as with the scientists behind the complex security features. Personally, I think this harmony enables me to create true works of art using leading-edge technology.

This is my biggest challenge: to achieve distinct dimensions of eff‘ects, transparency and opacity
that can be understood by the central bank and accepted by the public. Users must be able to quickly authenticate the note, and banknote accepting machines must also be able to decode security features immediately.

Which country has the least sexist banknotes?

The BBC News has an interesting artlcle, "Which country has the least sexist banknotes?"

Courtesy of Mark Irwin and Jim Chen.

IBNS Banknote of 2014 voting is open through 29.03.2015

The International Bank Note Society would like to remind members that voting is now open for Banknote of 2014. Members may choose their top three notes from those depicted above. Voting is open until 23:59GMT Sunday 29th March. The result of the voting will be announced at the IBNS Board Meeting in Valkenburg in April 2015.

De La Rue reports declining profits and revenue on increased volume

According to a press release dated 25 November 2014, security printer De La Rue's profits fell 36%, to £18.1 million, in the six months ended 27 September, with revenue down by 8%, despite banknote printing volume up 4% to 2.7 billion notes. The company blamed “ongoing challenging market conditions” for ad­versely impacting financial performance.

De La Rue insider reveals insight into banknote design

The Financial Times has an interesting article dated 28 April 2014 in which Andy Sharman interviews Malcom Knight, "former research and development director and now consultant at De La Rue, the discreet British banknote maker that has designed more than 40 per cent of the paper currency to have entered global circulation in the past two years."

Courtesy of Jim "Rubycored" Chen.

RIP: Michel Prieur of Compagnie Generale De Bourse

It is with great sadness that his family and the employees of Compagnie Generale De Bourse announce the death of the founder and chairman of their company, M. Michel Prieur, following cardiac arrest on 18 March 2014. The religious ceremony was held in Saint-Nicolas-du-Chardonnet Church on 28 March.

While I never met Michel in person, we exchanged many emails over the years and he was an early supporter of The Banknote Book, graciously sending me a hard drive containing thousands of note images from past CGB sales for use in my catalog. In addition to sharing images, he was also generous with his time and provided thoughtful insight into our mutual hobby of banknote collecting. My heartfelt sympathy goes out to his family, friends, and colleagues.

International Currency Grading adopts The Banknote Book catalog numbers

San Francisco - 21 February 2014 - International Currency Grading (ICG) is pleased to announce that they have begun printing The Banknote Book catalog numbers on ICG grading labels.


“As a new grading service focused exclusively on world paper money, we offer accurate grading that collectors demand and deserve. The precise and complete identification of the notes we grade is an important part of our service, and The Banknote Book is unequaled in accuracy, detail, and specificity,” said Jaime Sanz, a manager at ICG. “ICG staffers rely upon The Banknote Book as our primary reference source because its editor shares our curiosity, rigorous standards, and love of world paper money.”

According to Owen W. Linzmayer, editor of The Banknote Book, “ICG was looking for detailed, error-free and up-to-date information for their grading labels and I am honored that they have embraced The Banknote Book. When I began publishing my catalog three years ago, I never expected collectors and dealers to abandon the venerable Pick numbers for The Banknote Book numbers. ICG’s decision to print both on equal footing demonstrates they are bringing a progressive new approach to banknote grading services.”

If you would like to try ICG's grading service, use the coupon code TBB to receive a 30% discount.

For more information, contact:

Jaime Sanz
International Currency Grading
London, United Kingdom

Valkenburg show report

Owen at Valkenburg
I am happy to report that I thoroughly enjoyed attending and exhibiting at the Paper Money Fair held in Valkenburg, Netherlands over 5-7 April 2013. This was the first time I had ever been to the "Maastricht" show, and it was a great experience. The highlight was meeting in person many of The Banknote Book's contributors and subscribers, such as Frank van Tiel shown at right in the photo above.

I was in awe of the wide assortment of notes on display, from very rare older items to modern notes available in bulk from many wholesale dealers. Never before have I seen so many straps and bricks of notes! I was also taken with the general sense of comradery rather than competition that prevailed among the dealers assembled from the far reaches ot the globe.

My only regret was that I was unable to spend much time visiting with other exhibitors and pouring over their offerings because I had to be at my own table extolling the virtues of The Banknote Book. I did manage to buy a few new additions to my collection, but the best things I brought home were memories of meeting old friends and making new ones in this great hobby of ours.

IBNS seeks Banknote of 2012 Nominations

The International Bank Note Society (IBNS) would like to remind its members that they have until midnight 31 January 2013 to nominate notes for the pretigious Banknote of 2012 award.

So far the nominations are:

Brazil's 20 Reais Note
Costa Rica's 5,000 Colones Note
Jersey's 100 Pound Note
Argentina's 100 Peso Note
Canada's 50 Dollar Note
Malaysian 5 Ringgit Note

Images can be found on the IBNS web site.

Banknotes nominated must have been issued to the public (specimens and non-circulating currencies are inelligble) for the first time during 2012, and must have artistic merit and/or innovative security features.

To nominate a note (IBNS members only), please email banknoteoftheyear@ibns.biz providing your reasons for the nomination, and if possible, a scan of the front and back of the note.

CoinWeek video of Maastricht 2012 banknote show

CoinWeek has posted an interesting video created by David Lisot, host and producer of CoinWeek video news service, during a recent trip to Europe attended the Maastricht Paper Money Fair held in Valkenburg Netherlands.

David interviewed many of the participants at the show finding out what collectors have in common with their counterparts in the United States. He addressed the economic situation in Europe and whether the hobby has been affected by the downturn in the workplace and the debt crisis affecting so many countries. He also shows examples of the some of the more popular bank notes collectors are buying.

Courtesy of Aidan Work.

Wanted: Contact info for numismatic publications

I am trying to compile a list of printed numismatic publications which cover banknotes. I know of a few of the major ones in the United States, but am not familiar with international magazines or newsletters.

If you subscribe to such a publication, whether in English or another language, please send me the precise name of the publication, as well as URL, email address, and postal address.

Click here to write to me using the Contact form.

Thanks in advance for everyone's assistance. I'll post the results on a new page in the Links section of this site.

Ottawa Numismatic Society's moneta journals available for free download

The Ottawa Numismatic Society voted unanimously in favour of making its journal, moneta, available to all, for free. To download current and past issues, visit www.ons-sno.ca.

Courtesy of Serge Pelletier.

New Links section added to BanknoteNews.com web site

In the interest of helping spread useful information about the hobby of collecting banknotes, I have assembled the following pages with links to useful web sites. You can access these pages via the Links button at left, or click any of the bullet items below.
If you would like to suggest additional categories of links, please click here to write to me using the Contact form.

Hybrid Term Misused

The following is a letter that I recently wrote to the editor of the International Bank Note Society's Journal. I do not know if it will be published in an upcoming issue, but I thought visitors to this site might find it interesting nonetheless.—OWL

Dear Editor,

I enjoyed reading Marc Riquier's article, "The History of Plastic Banknotes: It All Started in Belgium!" in Vol. 51:1 about the role Union Chimique Belge played in the development of the Guardian substrate popularized by Securency International. However, I have practical and technical objections to the use of the term "hybrid" to describe notes employing Giesecke & Devrient's varifeye or De La Rue’s Optiks.

As a practical matter, Hybrid (with a capital H) is G&D's term for its patented substrate comprised of cotton fibers sandwiched between layers of plastic. To use hybrid (with a lower-case H) in conjunction with different, competing products only invites confusion.

From a technical standpoint, both varifeye and Optiks create see-through windows by applying thin transparent films over apertures in paper substrates (see my articles in Vol. 47:1 and 47:4, respectively). While it's true that the films are polymers and appear on paper notes, the mere addition of a disparate material to the substrate doesn't change the classification of the substrate. If it did, any banknote with a security thread, foil patch, or holographic stripe would be a hybrid.

Collectors should adopt the terminology used by the security printing industry, in which the term hybrid is applied only to banknotes with substrates that are a combination of paper and polymer. G&D's Hybrid substrate certainly qualifies and has already been used on notes such as Swaziland's 100- and 200-lilangeni commemoratives dated 2008. Landqart's Durasafe takes the opposite approach, placing paper on the outside and a polymer core at center. The Swiss National Bank is using Durasafe for its new series of notes expected to be issued in 2013.

Owen W. Linzmayer 7962

IBNS Banknote of 2011 voting open until 18 March 2012

Members of the International Bank Note Society (IBNS) are reminded to cast their votes for Banknote of 2011 prior to 18 March 2012.

The Nominations are:

  • Costa Rica's 1,000 Colones Note
  • South Sudan 100 Pound Note
  • Peru 200 Nuevo Soles Note
  • Kazakhstan 10,000 Tenge Note
  • Canada 100 Dollar Note
  • Bank of England 50 Pound Note
  • Denmark 500 Kroner Note
  • Sri Lanka Rupees 1000 Note
  • Brunei 10 Dollar (Ringgit) Note
  • Tunisia 20 Dollar Note
  • Cayman Islands 50 Dollar Note
  • Gibraltar's 100 Pound note

Click here to see images of the nominated notes and to cast your vote.

While everyone is welcome to view the nominees, only IBNS members may vote.

If you are not yet an IBNS member, I strongly suggest joining today. It’s a great organization and the subscription to the quarterly IBNS Journal alone is well worth the modest membership dues.

CNN interviews De La Rue executive on creating currency

Banknote collectors may enjoy watching this short CNN video in which a De La Rue executive gives a broad overview on the process of creating a new currency.

Courtesy of Chris Huff.

Great article on Landqart, a Swiss banknote paper producer

Check out this BBC article dated 21 September 2011, discussing the details of Landqart AG, a Swiss firm which produces security paper for the banknote industry. The article contains a lot of fascinating details and has several embedded videos, too. Be sure to check out the Related Stories links at the bottom of the web page.

Top 10 world's most beautiful banknotes

China.org.cn has an interesting article on the “Top 10 world's most beautiful banknotes.”

Justine Smith uses banknotes to create art

Check out “The Money Sculptures of Justine Smith” on OddityCentral for a fascinating look at how artist Justine Smith is using real banknotes to create interesting art. Did you recognize the banknotes of Myanmar on the pistol above?

Scan modern notes without CDS problems

Recently more and more collectors have reported problems attempting to scan modern banknotes. The problem is caused by newer hardware and software that contains built-in Counterfeit Deterrence System (CDS) technology foisted upon the public by the Central Bank Counterfeit Deterrence Group (CBCDG), a group of 31 central banks and note-printing authorities. Attempts to scan some modern notes using most newer scanners results in an error message like the one shown above.

I sympathize with the desire to reduce counterfeiting, but limiting the capabilities of new consumer devices punishes everyone while doing nothing to discourage determined counterfeiters. Anyone wishing to scan banknotes can easily do so simply by avoiding the latest generation in computer equipment. Instead of buying a cheap new scanner that performs poorly and is likely hobbled by CDS, buy an older used scanner that works on everything you throw at it. I highly recommend the Epson Perfection 2450 PHOTO which cost $400 when it was brand new, but now routinely sells for around $50 on eBay. This scanner is fast, has excellent color fidelity, and can even scan watermarks and security threads when used in film/slide mode.

If you already have a scanner that you like, but which refuses to scan some modern notes, you can likely replace the manufacturer's provided scanning software with VueScan. This third-party scanning program works with almost all scanners and doesn't prevent you from scanning troublesome notes. It costs $40, but you can try before you buy to ensure it meets your needs.

RIP Mel Steinberg

I am deeply saddened to report that the banknote community lost one of its pillars when Mel Steinberg passed away yesterday morning in Northern California. Mel and his son Jeremy were familiar faces to anyone who attended major banknote shows, and a stop at their booth was always worthwhile, not only to view the fine rarities for sale, but also to chat with Mel, who was generous with his time, sharing wisdom and an easy, knowing smile and twinkle in his eyes. Rest in peace, Mel. We'll miss you dearly…

De La Rue admits problems at one banknote paper mill

Shares of security printer De La Rue have fallen to a two-year low following the company's admission that it has recently discovered quality and production irregularities at one of its mills—believed to be Overton in Hampshire—which produces the paper used in banknotes. DLR prints notes and supplies security paper for approximately 150 central banks worldwide. Production and shipment of the paper has been suspended while DLR carries out an investigation and attempts to determine if the substandard paper has ended up in circulation.

Book Review: World Paper Money Errors

World Paper Money Errors by Morland C. Fischer (Order from Amazon.com)
250 pages, soft cover, 230 x 150 mm, color illustrations, English, published by Zyrus Press Publishing, ISBN 978-1-933990-25-5

Reviewed by Owen W. Linzmayer

While there are several catalogs covering United States paper money errors, this book is the first attempt at a systematic approach to describing, documenting, and pricing errors on world banknotes. As such, it’s an important new addition to the world’s numismatics knowledge base, but it suffers from some shortcomings I hope will be addressed in future editions.

Author Morland C. Fischer does a very good job of explaining the various types of errors found on banknotes and has distilled them down to an eight-point FEN (Foreign Error Note) ranking system in which higher numbers correspond to more significant errors. Reasonable people might disagree over whether a missing overprint is more dramatic an error than an inverted back (FEN 4 and 7, respectively), but the codification of the taxonomy of errors is a welcome improvement to a subjective field of study.

The bulk of the book is devoted to illustrating the various error types, each broken into their own chapters. I found the introductory explanations of how specific types of errors happen in the production process particularly interesting. The book has color illustrations throughout, usually with the front and back of the error note at 50% actual size, along with a non-error note for comparison. This allows you to see the magnitude of the error and appreciate the artwork and intended design of the reference note, although some illustrations would have benefited by close-ups or annotations to highlight the affected areas of the note. There are lots of examples from many different countries and time periods, which is good overall, but it’s overkill for some types of errors, such as missing serial numbers, which are easy to understand without repetitive illustrations.

Personally, I would have liked to see more plate errors—also known as engraving errors—because I find man-made errors more intriguing than machine mistakes. As a writer and editor myself, I’m amused by the fact that central banks sometimes fail to catch embarrassing typos until after printing and issuing millions of notes into circulation. Alas, there are only a dozen such errors discussed. Entirely lacking are any examples of errors in security features, such as when a thread intended for one note appears in another, or the wrong watermark is used.

Anyone who has contemplated buying an error note will do well to first read the chapter on “pseudo” errors. At first glance these appear to be errors, but may have been intentionally created by unscrupulous collectors/dealers by miscutting individual notes from sheets or using chemicals to alter notes, for example. Sometimes they aren’t errors at all, but rather printers’ waste, proof notes, or remainders. Buyer beware.

Ironically, the author is not immune to making errors of his own. For example, he mistakes the front and back of Ukraine’s 20-hryvan note of 1992 (Pick 107), includes a 1,000-shilling fantasy note from Somaliland without mentioning its dubious origin, and the last few pages of the book are incorrectly set in fonts of varying size, resulting in a jumbled appearance. However these are all minor quibbles; for the most part the content is solid and unassailable.

My main complaint with this book is that author tries too hard to make the case that world error notes are undervalued. He provides a number of possible explanations for the disparity in prices between comparable errors on US and foreign notes, yet ignores what might be the most obvious explanation of all: differences in the values of the corresponding non-error notes. For example, he laments that a foldover error on a United States 10-dollar note dated 1969C (Pick 451d) is worth $1,000 - 2,000 whereas a similar printing error on a Mexican 500-peso note (Pick 69) is valued at $200 - 300. But when you consider that the SCWPM lists non-error examples of the former at four times the value of the latter, the price disparity between the errors doesn’t seem so significant nor unwarranted.

Judging by the passion with which he approaches his subject, it is apparent that the author loves error notes, but his insistence that world error notes are “undervalued,” with “considerable upside potential,” and “could be ready to explode,” comes across as a hard sell by someone with an agenda. I found cause for pause when reading “In some instances, a price may appear to be unusually high. However, prices were chosen to indicate what should be [emphasis mine] the fair market value…Moreover, the assigned price ranges reflect an extrapolation of expected prices over a period of five years from publication.” Pricing non-error world notes is fraught with difficulties (fluctuations in currency exchange rates and differences in foreign/domestic demand for a country’s own notes, for example) which are only compounded when considering far less common—sometimes even unique—error notes and trying to guess what they should be worth far into the future. The book would have greater credibility if it merely reported current free market prices and suggested reasonable premiums a collector might expect to pay for different types of errors.

World Paper Money Errors carries a list price of US$34.95 and can be ordered directly from Zyrus Press Publishing, P.O. Box 17810, Irvine, CA 92623. (888) 622-7823. www.zyruspress.com or purchased from Amazon at a significant discount.

New holographic technology has designs on banknote security

Technology continues to push the boundaries for banknote security holograms. Here, Dr Glenn Wood of the International Hologram Manufacturers Association looks at some of the latest developments.

Today, holographic technology remains very much to the fore as part of an array of overt features which make it quick and easy for people to recognise whether or not a banknote is bonafide. But new substrate technology, particularly the introduction of transparent ‘windows’ is being incorporated on banknotes to provide new levels of anti-counterfeiting complexity.

The commemorative 1,000 Tenge note produced by Papierfabrik Louisenthal for Kazakhstan and launched earlier this year takes optical sophistication to a new level. Not only does it feature a hologram showing typical rainbow colours but a small microlenticular patch viewed by transmission. The system is called Varifeye® and combines the best features of paper and polymer.

The optically variable feature on the new 1000 Tenge note of Kazakhstan showing microlenticular feature in the window and demetallised hologram below.

Previously, a deckle-edge window was created in the paper substrate during the process of cylinder-mould web formation as the stock fibers collect against the deckle, leading to the characteristic feather look. Latterly, the window has been cut into the paper after laminating to a polymeric layer. Then a clear stripe of film is laminated over it running from top to bottom of the note. The clear stripe contains the microlenticular image of a camel interchanging with the letter ‘K’ when tilted.

This feature can be viewed by transmission through the window. There is also a demetallised holographic image of the Astana Baiterek monument above the text ‘Organisation for Security & Co-operation in Europe’, interchanging with the date 2010 which are viewed by reflection where it falls over the paper. (This technology was first used on the Bulgarian lev banknotes in 2005, becoming the world’s first paper notes with see through window).

For polymeric substrates, the Bank of Australia has developed its Non-diffractive Switching Image (NSI). This appears like a dynamic watermark in the clear window of a polymer-based note. Being non-diffractive, the images are seen in varying shades of grey rather than rainbow colours and switching of the image elements occurs by rotation rather than tilting.

Mexico has also embraced new technology – the country’s 100 peso note has an ingenious feature which outwardly looks holographic but is in fact transparent optically variable inks (they are usually opaque) printed on the clear window of a polymer note. The viewer can look at the feature either by transmission or reflection. The inks change colour in both modes but the colours seen by transmission are the complementary colours of those seen by reflection.

The latest innovation in holographic technology which makes use of traditional (though modified) embossing technology is the Asterium feature from Toppan printing in Japan. Viewed in normal direct light this feature appears black but when inclined at an extreme angle, the rainbow colours of an embossed hologram appear. The important feature here is the optical black which gives a new aesthetic to documents and only reveals the colourful security feature as and when required.

Asterium from Toppan uses optical black in conjunction with a hologram.

Another innovator, Kurz, has developed a revolutionary wafer thin security photopolymer which can record a volume holographic image for banknotes produced for Swiss National Bank. Kurz’s success has been to develop the material thin enough for use on a banknote, especially given that the reason this is called a ‘volume’ hologram is that the interference fringes are recorded within the depth of the photo-sensitive material. Similar developments are taking place in Japan where Dai Nippon Printing is leading the way.

OVD Kinegram, a division of Leonhard Kurz, continues to push the boundaries with its Kinegram reColor®. This has been developed for use as a laminate in conjunction with a window or aperture in the banknote substrate, and provides fundamentally different, and unexpected, effects depending on whether the note is viewed from the front or reverse. On the front the viewer sees a normal metallised reflective, diffractive image, while the reverse view shows a patterned coloured foil also displaying the diffractive features. The trick is performed using different coloured resist lacquers in the demetallization process. More remarkable still is Kinegram reView® which appears the same, metallic color on both sides of the image although the images seen on the two faces can be different and unrelated to each other.

ReView from L. Kurz displays different holographic images when viewed from opposite side of a window.

One way or another, it seems that the window technology now becoming available to printers of banknotes is here to stay. Formerly, the opaque nature of security printing paper only allowed a watermark to be seen by transmission but most holograms are, by nature, transmissive and are rendered reflective by applying a metal coating. Once the opportunity is presented to allow them to be seen by transmission, as in a window, the opportunities for an optical tour de force are increased. This renders the note more visually attractive to inspectors and consumers and more difficult to simulate by counterfeiters.

However, here’s a cautionary word. Any trend towards simplification must be seen as a move in the right direction and run hand in hand with artists and graphic designers’ abilities to make good use of the media or of the public’s ability to appreciate and evaluate the security benefits offered by the latest technology. After all, it’s not as though holograms represent the only security feature on a banknote.

They are often one of many - for example, the 1000 Tenge note for Kazakhstan has at least 16 features including one to help the blind or partially sighted. So, it isn’t necessary to fill the hologram with every conceivable feature rather remember why the hologram was originally introduced: it provided a feature that could not be photocopied. Photopolymers provide this, so there’s no reason to suppose that holographic technology will not continue to be an integral security feature on future generations of banknotes.


The International Hologram Manufacturers Association (IHMA) is made up of 90 of the world's leading hologram companies. IHMA members are the leading producers and converters of holograms for banknote security, anti-counterfeiting, brand protection, packaging, graphics and other commercial applications around the world. IHMA member companies actively cooperate to maintain the highest professional, security and quality standards.

Issued on behalf of the IHMA by Mitchell Halton Watson Ltd. For further details contact Andy Bruce on +44 (0) 191 233 1300 or email andy@mhwpr.co.uk

IACA Excellence in Currency Awards announced

The following is the full text of a press release dated 25 May 2010:

A new family of banknotes from Scotland’s Clydesdale Bank was one of the outstanding winners at the International Association of Currency Affairs’ (IACA) Excellence in Currency Awards, sponsored by ‘Currency News’.

A high calibre of entries and some very close voting in several categories marked this year’s awards - the third event – the presentation of which took place during the gala dinner on May 12 at the Currency Conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The 2010 awards saw the Lifetime Achievement Award go to Roland Tornare, the recently retired director of the Issue Department at the Swiss national Bank (1985 – 2007). His extensive experience in the field of banknote design and involvement in creating the current Swiss banknote series were cited by Currency Conference chairman Richard Haycock, who presented the awards.

Clydesdale Bank won the hotly-contested Best New Banknote Series Award for its family of banknotes celebrating the best of Scotland’s heritage, people and culture. The front of each note honours a prominent and innovative Scot while the reverse features one of Scotland’s five World Heritage Sites. The bank designed the new notes to ensure that everyone, including the visually impaired, could use the notes with confidence, while the use of vibrant colours, different sizes, bold fonts, and raised bars to assist in note denomination has been appreciated by the Royal Blind, a foundation devoted to the welfare of blind people.

Category runners up were the Central Bank of Armenia for its 100,000 Dram banknote and the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey for a new series which completed the country’s currency reform started in 2005.

Clydesdale’s year-long media communications initiative from the launch of the initial designs right through to the introduction of the notes into circulation earned it the Best Currency Public Education Program. The move ensured its new notes were welcomed by consumers and readily accepted by retailers.

The National Bank of Denmark and the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey were category runners-up.

The Best New Coin Series Award went to the Royal Canadian Mint for The Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Circulation Collection. In the run up to the Olympics, the Royal Canadian Mint released 12 Vancouver 2010 circulation quarters (25 cents) plus two lucky loonies ($1 coins) - each individual quarter represented a different Olympic Winter sport.

Runner up awards went to two new circulation coin series, issued by the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey and the Reserve Bank of Fiji respectively.

Pixel Watermark, a development of Arjowiggins Security which appeared in the Bank of Mexico’s 200 Peso note commemorating the country’s bicentennial, won the award for the Best New Currency Feature. Printed on paper in a vertical design format and including a multi-tonal watermark in the form of an angel, the wing of which was created with a Pixel™ Watermark, this was the first time such a feature had appeared on a banknote.

De La Rue’s Depth Image and Magic Varifeye® (from Louisenthal) were the competitors who both received runner up awards. Voting results were very close in this category.

For the first time ever there was a tied result for the Best Currency Website. IACA members voted equally for the European Central Bank and the Central Bank of Chile for the detailed currency information found on their respective websites.

While the two sites are very different in their approach and perhaps the resources available for website development, both use video and interactive notes to help their public understand the design and security features preset. The Monetary Authority of Singapore was a close runner up.

Speaking at the awards, Richard Haycock said: “I would like to congratulate all this year’s winners and runners-up for their outstanding contribution to the currency industry.

“All have demonstrated the highest standards of technical expertise and innovation to deliver practical, eye-catching and cost effective currency products, which we as an industry can be proud of.

“This year’s ceremony has been an unequivocal success and I very much look forward to the continuing high standards being recognised at the next awards, which will undoubtedly be even bigger and better.”

The IACA awards were launched in 2007 to promote and recognise excellence in currency production, processing, management and distribution. They are open to any organisation or individual supplying products, services or systems for currency production or management. The IACA awards committee draws up a shortlist of three nominations in each category, and IACA members vote for the winners.

Nominations for the fourth IACA Awards will commence shortly via www.currencyaffairs.org. They will be presented at the next Currency Conference, which will take place in October 2011 in Singapore.

New edition of Standard Catalog of World Paper Money now shipping

The 16th edition of Krause’s Standard Catalog of World Paper Money is now shipping. I just received my copy and wanted to share my initial impressions.

At 1,112 black and white pages, it's exactly as large as the previous edition, though its list price is now $60 instead of $55, and it does not come with a disc containing a PDF version of the catalog, which is a great disappointment.

Also somewhat disappointing is that values for VG conditions have been eliminated. Now only VF and UNC conditions are listed. While some will decry this change, I think it’s a reasonable change because most modern notes collectors insist on UNC anyway.

More troublesome is that this edition continues the trend of covering only a fraction of the new note types and varieties that have been issued in the past years, and illustrating almost none of them. It appears that the cut-off for inclusion in this catalog was mid-2009, but many, many notes issued well before then failed to make it into print (The Banknote Update contains over 80 pages of images and info missing from the 16th edition of the SCWPM).

In an attempt to appear more current than it really is, the catalog has assigned Pick numbers to a lot of "expected issues." The problem with this practice is that many such notes are never released, inevitably forcing the editors to renumber at a future date, much to the frustration of collectors and dealers everywhere (my cursory examination uncovered a half dozen notes that have been renumbered or deleted between editions). Furthermore, the information (such as dates) in the listings for these expected issues often proves wrong, adding to the general confusion.

Speaking of frustrating and confusing, some listings refer to non-existent signature charts, or the signature chart exists, but hasn’t been updated to include the latest signatures, making it impossible to distinguish between varieties.

I haven't done a thorough check of the entire catalog, but a spot check revealed some obvious pricing problems, such as listing Armenia's 100,000-dram note at $250 in UNC, even though its face value is $263. The 50,000-won from South Korea, featured on the cover of the new edition, is worth $40 at face, but is listed at $50 in UNC. Good luck finding dealers selling notes with negative or nominal mark-ups.

Like it or not, the SCWPM remains "the bible" for our hobby because its Pick numbers are almost universally used to identify notes. If you intend to get a copy despite its flaws, please support this site by buying the latest edition using this link.

What in the World is Notaphily?

[All of the content on BanknoteNews.com has been the creation of myself, working in conjunction with avid collectors and dealers around the globe who graciously submit leads, images, and information. Today I'm pleased to publish the first full-length article contributed by Vincenzo Desroches, Editor in Chief of Forex Charts, the premier resource for all of your foreign exchange chart needs.—Owen W. Linzmayer]

What in the World is Notaphily?

Notaphily is the formal term used to describe banknote collectors. While people have most likely been collecting banknotes since they were first used to pay for goods and services, it wasn’t really considered a separate area of collections until late in the 20th century. Even the systematic collection of banknotes didn’t really begin in earnest until about the 1940s.

One factor in determining the value of a collectors banknote is the quality of the actual paper. Collectors can expect different grades to reflect this quality. These different grades will be compiled into a grading scale. While grading scales can change from one country to the next, expect to find uniformity in the grading scale within a particular country. For example, if you’re trading in the United States, you’ll probably find uniformity in its grading scale. However, you would not expect the grading scale in America to be necessarily the same as that of a European country.

The grading system used in bank note collecting refers to the quality of the specific note the collector has in their possession. However, some people might choose to keep track of the underlying value of the notes that are still being used in commerce. Historical currency rates can be obtained to facilitate this. Whether it is a foreign currency chart that is needed or one for your native currency, seeing the current underlying value of your banknote can be an exciting thing!

Regarding the actual collecting of banknotes, you first have to determine what type of collection you’re going to focus on. Obviously, it is possible to have too broad a collection goal. It’s just not feasible to collect every type of banknote ever produced. Find a category of note that you find interesting, unique or exciting and use that to define your collection parameters. It is always good to ease your way into any collecting process. You may want to begin by picking up notes that are inexpensive. This will give you some experience both in finding different types of banknotes and in purchasing.

For example, you might choose to collect notes from your favorite geographical location (city, country, or continent). Or perhaps your focus isn’t on location as much as it is time periods. You might be the one who chooses to collect World War II era notes, or notes produced in the 19th century. Of course, there are people who enjoy the specific features found on notes. They might enjoy collecting notes with certain security features as part of the design. In storing the notes, maybe you have some limitations that require you to focus on notes with certain dimensions.
As you can imagine, you can spend quite some time trying to define what type of banknote collection you’d like to have!

One of the best places to start is to find a currency gallery and start browsing. This will give you some idea of what type of notes you enjoy looking at. After all, if you can’t enjoy your collection once you get started, what’s the point in collecting?

IBNS new Russian-language chapter formed

The International Bank Note Society has announced the formation of a new Russian chapter. According to Dmitriy Litvak, president of the new chapter, "The main difference between the Russian (IBONS) chapter and the other IBNS chapters is that it is based on a linguistic (Russian) base rather than a geographical one. The Russian-speaking community of banknote collectors has at least 3,000 members around the world. This is why we face difficulty in having conferences and meetings as we are in 14 countries. To overcome this, a website forum at www.bonistika.net was created for the spread of collective knowledge. As I have explained before, Bonistika is the term that is used by this community to describe banknote collecting. I am happy to report that since the inauguration of IBONS on 7 February 2010 we have increased our numbers from seven IBNS members and 21 non-members to 10 IBNS members and 37 non-members. I extend my invitation to any members of IBNS to share our ideas and knowledge. My colleagues and I would like to extend our knowledge of the Soviet, post-Soviet, and Russian banknotes to all IBNS. We will be able to collectively work on answering any questions posed. Our main goal is to create and maintain communication between all IBNS members and Russian speaking members of IBONS."

History of Paper Currency in the Seychelles available

On December 2008, the Central Bank of Seychelles published a special second edition of its publication that traces the history of paper currencies in the Seychelles, dating from the period of French colonization to the present.

Entitled “History of Paper Currency in the Seychelles,” the new 55-page booklet, in full colour, should prove useful not only to banknote collectors but also for educational purposes, as it includes a section which describes the flora & fauna appearing on the most recent paper currencies of the islands.

Divided into sections pertaining to marked periods and events in the life of the Seychelles currency, the booklet provides colourful illustrations of the different forms of paper currency used over the years.

Information for the booklet was compiled by a small group from the Central Bank with the help of the National Archives and several individuals who are experts in their fields. They include Adrian Skerrett (conservationist), Dr. Jeanne Mortimer (biologist and conservationist), Julien Durup (archivist and historian), Kantilal Jivan Shah (historian, naturalist, conservationist, artist, photographer, healer, numismatist and philatelist) and Stella Doway (Senior Museum Curator).

In a foreword to the publication, CBS Governor Francis Chang Leng says: “It is a rewarding feat for readers to explore the different varieties, sizes and designs of the various denominations of the Seychelles rupee notes, which have been issued over the years, not forgetting the individuals who were in authority in the country at the time the notes were printed and issued. Not only is this booklet very informative, but it can also be used as a guide for currency enthusiasts.”

The Central Bank of Seychelles sells copies of this book from its web site, but isn’t very responsive to email inquiries, and only accepts wire transfers which are costly and time-consuming. After jumping through a lot of hoops, I was finally able to obtain a few copies of this amazing book, but these have now been spoken for. Good luck to anyone attempting to purchase directly from the CBS. By the way, the CBS web site still shows the first edition of this book, but I believe that has sold out and that only the second edition is currently available.

5th edition of World Plastic Money catalog published

Thomas Krause and Peter Bauer have today released the fifth edition of their book, the Specialized Catalogue of World Plastic Money. Ordering information and a free PDF download can be obtained by visiting www.swschwedt.de/kunden/polymernotes.

IACA announces winners of Excellence in Currency Awards

On May 8, 2007, the International Association of Currency Affairs honored seven individuals and companies at the first ever Excellence in Currency Awards ceremony that took place in Bangkok, Thailand.

•Lifetime Achievement Award: Thomas Ferguson, former director of the US Bureau of Engraving and Printing.

•Best New Bank Note Award: The National Bank of Kazakhstan, for its complex and highly secure new series launched in November 2006. Runners up were the Central Bank of Sweden, for the new 1,000 kronor launched in March 2006, and the Bank of Mexico, for the new polymer 50-peso banknote issued in November 2006.

•Best New Coin Award: The Royal Canadian Mint, for the Canadian quarter (25 cents) with an image of a pink ribbon in its centre, a collaboration with the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.

•Best New Currency Feature: Crane’s Motion, an optically variable feature incorporating a micro-lens array for security threads that first appeared on the Swedish 1,000-kronor banknote and has recently been chosen as the primary overt feature for the new US$100.

•Best New Currency Product: KBA GIORI, for ONE, a complete suite of products from banknote digital design through to direct intaglio and offset plate making.

•Best Currency Public Education Program: The US BEP, for its “Color of Money” introduction of the new $10.

•Best Currency Website: The Bank of England, for its newly-designed website, www.bankofengland.co.uk.

Comoros 1,000-franc note named IBNS Bank Note of the Year

The International Bank Note Society (IBNS) is proud to announce the winner of the 2007 IBNS Bank Note of the Year, awarded to the finest banknote issued in 2006. This year’s award goes to the 1,000-franc note issued by the Banque Centrale des Comores, the central bank of the Comoros, an archipelago located between Madagascar and the east coast of southern Africa. Commendations go to the 10,000-tenge note from Kazakhstan and 100-dollar note from the Solomon Islands.

The IBNS Bank Note of the Year is awarded to the banknote which, in the eyes of the judges, has a high level of artistic merit, an imaginative design, and features that present the best of modern security printing (taking into account the value of the note). The Comoran 1,000-franc note impressed the judges with innovative design, well-balanced color, and sensible use of modern security features.

The front of the 1,000-franc note is dominated by a coelacanth, a pre-historic fish long thought to be extinct, that was found living in the waters off the Comoros in recent years. Its discovery put the Comoros at the centre of the scientific world for a short time and remains one of the small country’s claims to fame. Below the piscine curiosity is an aerial view of several islands that make up the country. Predominantly blue, there are red and green elements to the design on the front of the note.

Poetry is common to the entire series of notes to which the 1,000 franc belongs, with a verse appearing on the front and the back of each note. The verse on the front of the 1,000-franc note can be translated from French as:

From our feelings, what you expect I understood
For it is a love that is so absolutely exclusive
That, not to lose you, I hereby consent.
Truthfully, it will be a love
That our times have never seen.

Continued on the back of the note is a further verse which translates as:

I claim these different names which are ours
and if I speak the rainbow
It is to better greet our Indian Ocean sea-mother
whose waves of pleasures brings
to insularity abundance and joy

The final line below the verse identifies the author, Mab Elhad, and the book in which his verse appears: Kaulu la Mwando (meaning First Word in the Comoran language). The book was published in 2004 and the verses of the author, a Comoran policeman, celebrate his Comoran life and nationality.

The back of the award-winning note is dominated by a Comoran man in a canoe, surrounded by red and blue designs of differing character. While the name of the issuing authority is in Arabic on the back of the note, the warning to counterfeiters is in French (reflecting the nation’s French past).

Despite a low face value (approximately US$2.70 at current exchange rates), the 1,000-franc note sports an impressive array of security features. Portions of the design are printed with the intaglio process, imparting a tactile element to the raised ink, along with the latent image created by the BCC embossed above the signatures. Counterfeiting is made more difficult through the use of microtext, incorporation of a perfect-registration device, and the inclusion of Omron rings. The paper contains an embedded security strip that fluoresces under UV light, and a watermark of a crescent moon, four stars, and the letters BCC. Finally there is an iridescent band on the front of the note that can be seen only when tilting the note at an angle to the light.

While the elements of the design, the security features, and the production of the note are not unusual as individual elements, it is the sum of the whole that lifts the note above the ordinary and which made this note a clear winner as the IBNS Bank Note of the Year.

Every nation should strive to create individual masterpieces for their paper money; unfortunately this is not always the case. However, with the issue of the new series by the Comoros, it is pleasing to see that at least one issuing authority is successful in meeting the expectations of banknote enthusiasts around the world. The IBNS congratulates the Banque Centrale des Comores and the designers of its 1,000-franc note.