Most Popular Banknotes

With so many banknotes circulating around the world, there are bound to be a few popular banknotes that stand out from the rest. Today’s society is so accustomed to seeing and handling money that most of us likely don’t pay much attention to its design. With the United States announcing a huge redesign of their banknotes, however, many of us may start to take more notice.

Despite being overlooked, the designs behind different countries banknotes speak to the culture the money is representing and have much larger significance than we may think.

Here are a few of the most popular banknotes in the world, and what makes them so visually appealing.


United States of America - USA $2 Dollars, 2013, P-538, UNC

Source: Banknote World

The United States’ banknotes are popular because of their consistency and themes that connect each bills design to the next. Though the US just announced major redesigns of its current bank notes to honor historic events that occurred at the Lincoln Memorial, the fight for liberty, and the women’s suffrage movement.

While the portraits featured on the bank notes will change or be expanded upon, the design of the banknotes will continue with their current theme, symbols of freedom.

In 2003, symbols of freedom were incorporated into the banknotes, with the Statue of Liberty’s torch, the Great Seal of the United States, a bald eagle, the American flag, and the Declaration of Independence all being featured on the banknotes.


United Kingdom

world currency design

Source: Bank of England

The Bank of England utilized a handful of different design aspects to make their banknotes so appealing. The banknotes have metallic thread embedded within them that appears as a dashed line until held up to light, where the metallic thread connects the dashed line into a continuous one. They also have raised print that creates texture to the bank note on words such as “Bank of England,” and are printed on a special paper that gives them their unique feel.

One of the most popular banknote is the one with Charles Darwin is presented on their ten-pound note alongside a small illustration of the HMS Beagle ship he was employed on as a naturalist during his lifetime. Alongside the ship are illustrations of Darwin’s own magnifying lens, and the flora and fauna he may have encountered during his studies and travels.





Source: China Today

China not only invented paper but is also recognized as the first country in the world to use paper money. Chinese banknotes feature pictures, known as vignettes, which were originally added to the design of the banknotes in order to prevent counterfeiting.

However, these vignettes have grown from just attempting to prevent counterfeiting to representing different aspects of Chinese history, economics, politics, and culture. The banknotes feature famous structures such as the Great Wall of China and the Confucian Temple, as well as vignettes of daily life, the great diversity of the people of China, or important inventions or historical events.

Chinese money is praised for its detailed imagery that is not only beautiful in looks but also telling to their current culture.




Source: Wikipedia

France’s most popular banknotes feature some of the most prominent artists that have come out of their country, playing homage to their creative identity. French banknotes have featured famous composer Claude Achille DeBussy, impressionist painter Paul Cézanne, architect and designer of the Eiffel Tower Alexandre Gustave Eiffel, and physicist and chemist Marie Curie. The designs feature prominent portraits accompanied by

The designs feature prominent portraits accompanied by cartoon like drawings. The banknotes are comprised of vivid and bright colors, seemingly to mimic the vibrancy and creativity of the artists they are honoring.


The Netherlands

Netherlands 10 Gulden Banknote, 1968, P-91b, UNC

Source: Banknote World

The Netherland’s banknotes are unlike any others in the world. The portraiture featured on them is much more stylized and modern, and the color scheme differs from bill to bill, some being monochromatic blues, others the colors of a warm sunset, and some light turquoises and greens.

The designer, Ootje Oxenaar, brags that he snuck some personal touches into the notes as he designed them; his fingerprint is incorporated into the design of the 1000 guilder note, and he managed to hide his granddaughter, girlfriend, and friend’s name within the 250 guilder note. Because of these hidden treasures, the notes have a more personal feel than many other banknotes, which is fitting for their unique design.

Here is an in depth post of the 10 gulden from our Instagram page:

banknote world instagram

Banknote World’s Instagram

This wraps up our list of the most popular banknotes! Be sure to also check out our list of the most beautiful banknotes.

Do you feel like we left one out? Feel free to let us know in the comments!


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