This blog page has written a lot about Fiji banknotes. It is a great island and the people are fantastically friendly. From a banknote perspective, it is a great country to focus on because it is large enough to redesign its banknotes on a routine basis, and because it has a great depth of cultural and historical themes to mine for banknotes.
Fiji has been an important Pacific territory for England for a few hundred years. Its banknotes in the early 20th century followed the typical British overseas territory designs. Banknotes and coins were pence, shilling and pounds and highlighted the UK monarch. The portrait of the monarch was balanced with the Fiji emblem and local images and designs throughout. While they are similar to other UK territories of the time, they have a unique Fijian feel.
Early Fiji Banknote Designs
In 1970, Fiji followed the trend of UK possessions and decimalized; replacing shillings, but they went even further and changed to pennies and Dollars to Fijian dollars. As an independent country, but still part of the British Commonwealth, the banknotes designs balanced the presence of the Queen and Fijian landscapes and imagery. As a tropical paradise, Fiji was able to use bright colors. Throughout the 70s and 80s, the banknote designs evolved with newer portraits of the Queen and changes to the landscapes.
In 1992, the designs did change significantly. A larger portrait of the queen was used, but the biggest change was the use of multiple colors on each note. The landscapes and images of local people were now more realistic. The 1992 series probably looks a little dated but not ‘traditional’, stuck between older basic styles and new themes to come after 2000. For the millennium, Fiji issued a commemorative $2 and $2,000. While the $2 was very popular, the $2,000 was too expensive for most collectors. Recently though there appears to be a renewed interest in this high denomination commemorative note.
In 2007, a new Fiji banknotes series was issued. This series was beautiful and modern. The portrait of Queen Elizabeth II showed an older queen, smiling at the holder. The colors were more vivid than the 1992 and 1998 series and the images of local people on the reverse were cleaner and more detailed. The new 100 dollar was bright yellow and used a hybrid substrate with a window. It was not the best implementation of a window; it was a bright and striking design.
In 2012, Fiji decided to drop the use of the Queen on its banknotes and released the Flora and Fauna series. Fiji has great biodiversity and tropic birds and animals. The banknotes released a series that put these animals front and center. The green 5 dollar banknote, printed on polymer with a large parrot is still considered one of the most beautiful modern banknotes. It also had an image of the Queen in the window. Fiji has issued 2 commemoratives; the 2017, 7 dollar note commemorating the country’s win in Rugby 7s. The color of this note is bright and the portrait of the rugby player running is captivating. Fiji celebrated its 50th year of independence in 2020 and released a commemorative 50. It is printed on polymer and has an amazing use of a security window and has been nominated for best banknote of 2020.
It seems that Fiji is ready for another new series. Let’s hope it is as beautiful as it previous banknotes.