Samoa is a Polynesian island country scattered in the Pacific Ocean along with American Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, Wallis and Futuna, Tuvalu, Tokelau, and Niue. It covers a total land area of 2,842 kilometers and consists of two main islands, Savai’i and Upolu, and eight smaller islands.

Map of Samoa
Source: WorldAtlas

First Banknotes of Samoa

The country’s currency is the Samoan tala which was introduced on July 10, 1967, after breaking free from New Zealand in 1962. A protectorate of the German Empire from 1899 until 1915, Samoa’s currency derived its name from the German silver coin “Thaler”. The tala and sene are also the Samoan language transliterations of the dollar and cent. The monetary unit replaced the pound with its value at par with the New Zealand dollar until 1975.

Western Samoa 1-10 Tala 3 PC Set | 1967 (2020) | Reprint |
Source: Banknote World

Banknotes in 1967 were issued by the Bank of Western Samoa in denominations of 1, 5, and 10 tala. In 198, the Central Bank of Samoa was established and introduced banknotes bearing the same designs as those issued by the Monetary Board of Western Samoa but with the new issuer’s name. These notes depict Samoan people, economic activities, landmarks, and the national flag.

Samoa 2 Tala | 1990 ND | P-31e | Polymer |
Source: Banknote World

In 1991, the bank issued its first and only polymer banknote, a 2-tala note, to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Malietoa Tanumafili II as the country’s head of state. The head of the state’s portrait is depicted on the banknote’s obverse with straw huts, the Mulivai Catholic Cathedral in Apia, buses, and palm trees in the background. Its reverse features a Samoan family gathered on mats in a traditional Samoan house.

Samoa 5 Tala | 2008 ND | P-38a |
Source: Banknote World

In 2008, the country released a new set of notes with modern designs, vibrant colors, and De La Rue’s modern security features such as windowed security threads with demetalized bank initials on the 5, 10, and 20 tala denominations and Optiks security threads for the 50 and 100 tala banknotes.

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