Fiji gained its independence from Great Britain in 1970 and has been a member of the Commonwealth of Nations for most of the time since. As a result, Queen Elizabeth II was on Fiji’s banknotes until 2012, when Fiji decided to change to a Flora and Fauna concept.
De La Rue and Fiji’s Banknotes
Like many former British colonies, Fiji has had a long relationship with Banknote Printer De La Rue which has printed their banknotes. Leveraging De La Rue’s designers, they have used several Portraits of Queen Elizabeth II that can be found on other banknotes. The 1971 and 1974 Series of Banknotes use a portrait based on a 1955 painting by Pietro Annigoni.
The portrait features Her Majesty wearing the regalia of the Order of the Garter. This portrait is considered by many as one of the finest portrayals of the young Queen. The same portrait is used on Jersey, Eastern Caribbean States and Mauritius banknotes of the period. Many of the banknotes display landscape scenes on the reverse of the banknotes, additionally, the 1974 series signed by Barnes & Craik are considered to be quite rare.
1980’s Series featuring Queen Elizabeth II
Banknotes printed in 1982, 1986, 1987, 1989, 1991 and 1992 used portraits based on the official portrait taken by Anthony Buckley around 1966.
One thing that is interesting about these notes is the 1982 Barnes and Siwatibau $10 FJD which uses a slightly different engraving to all of the other notes of the period. The engraving on this note was prepared by De La Rue whereas the other ones were prepared by Bradbury and Wilkinson, previously a very famous banknote printer. The reverse of most of these notes focused on the people of Fiji more than the landscapes. It was also during this time that Fiji began using UV fluorescent features for anti-counterfeiting features.
The 1995 Redesign
In 1995, Fiji redesigned their banknotes with a new portrait of the Queen, the use of metallic security features and much more complex designs.
The reverse of most banknotes are focused Fijian accomplishments and the link between its past and present. The portrait was an interpretation of Terry O’Neill’s official 1992 portrait of the Queen. These designs and themes were used for printing in 1995, 1996, 2001, and 2002,
Commemorative Fijian Banknotes
Fiji released commemorative notes for the year 2000. One was a $2FJD Y2K bill. A much larger, beautiful note was created worth $2,000 FJD.
The $7 commemorative note was also created to celebrate the victory of the Fijian 7s rugby team at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Obviously, these notes were targeted at the collector market and the 2000 note remains one of the largest value notes in the world.
The Last Queen on Fiji’s Banknotes
In 2007, Fiji conducted a major redesign of its banknotes and used a 1999 Portrait by Mark Lawrence. This portrait is a beautiful representation of the mature Queen. She is looking right at the user with a kind smile.
The same design was used in 2011 when Barry Whiteside took over as Bank Governor. In 2007, the bank also introduced the $100 FJD. 2011 was the last series that used the Queen in the portrait.
Flora and Fauna Series
In 2012, Fiji introduced the Flora and Fauna Series featuring native animals and plants. This series contains some of the brightest and most colorful notes from Fiji. The Flora and Fauna series also marks the beginning of a polymer substrate used for the $5 FJD. You can read more about the $5 FJD here on our Top 5 Island Banknotes article.
These notes are unique in their design and denomination and are represented in the gallery above as SPECIMEN. For those that are not banknote savvy, specimen banknotes are “pre-issues” of banknotes to familiarize the public, law enforcement and banks to a new design.