Situated north of the equator, off the southern part of the Malay Peninsula in maritime Southeast Asia, the Republic of Singapore is bordered by the Strait of Malacca to the west, the South China Sea to the east, and the Riau Islands to the south. The sovereign city-state is the world’s most populated country with almost 5.7 million residents. With a highly developed economy, Singapore has drawn a number of foreign investors and skilled workers.
The city-state uses the Singapore dollar as its legal tender, which is the thirteenth-most traded monetary unit in the world. Issued by the Monetary Authority of Singapore, the first notes put into circulation were the Orchid Series released from 1967 to 1976. On the center of each note’s obverse is an orchid which is the national flower of Singapore. The back design depicts a scene of the country. Additionally, the notes bear the national emblem, a watermark that reflects the head of a lion, and at least one security thread. The notes also carry the signatures of the minister for finance as well as the chairman of the Board of Commissioners of Currency.
The next set of notes was called the Bird Series issued between 1976 - 1980. Each note of the series depicts a bird that stands for the country’s adaptability, strength, and independence.
To pay homage to the merchant shipping that has made a major contribution to the country’s development, the BCCS released the Ship Issues between 1984 - 1997. The design of these banknotes is inspired by maritime ships and modern Singapore. Featured on each note are the national emblem, a watermark in the form of a lion’s head, and Chinese mythology creatures. The back design is a depiction of the country’s accomplishments and Vanda Miss Joaquim which is Singapore’s national flower.
In 1999, the BCCS introduced another set of notes featuring Singapore’s first president, Encik Yusof bin Ishak. These notes were designed by Eng Siak Loy. The designs on the reverse are linked to the president’s life.
The demand for a complex banking and monetary system rocketed with Singapore’s progress. As a result, the BCCS consolidated with the Monetary Authority of Singapore on March 31, 2003, and in 2004, it issued its first polymer note. Following the public’s warm acceptance of polymer notes, the bank started issuing other denominations on polymer substrates in 2006.