The process of designing a banknote is a complex and time-consuming process, often taking much time to balance the design concepts offered by the country, the needs of the cash cycle and the capabilities of the printer.  Designers integrate the latest security features into their beautiful final product and for a rare few, their banknotes earn “Best” Awards.  Reconnaissance International is a leading media company covering the cash industry, and they give prestigious awards for the best designs. 

Recently they recognized three banknotes for excellence:

1. The Central Bank of Armenia

The Central Bank of Armenia won Best New Series for their 2019 Dram.  These banknotes include optically variable inks, a windowed thread that has built in motion, and the substrate is a composite of paper and polymer to improve durability.  The banknote designs highlight religious and cultural motifs along with images of Armenian leaders. They are designed in such a way that the intaglio portraits almost look like they are in 3D popping off the background.

2. The Bank of England

The Bank of England won Best New Banknote for their 20 pound note.  It is a well-designed banknote and has an impressive image of the Queen that matches the portrait and makes authentication easier.  In many ways it is a nice banknote, but it has the same portrait of Queen Elizabeth II that has been used for 30 years and it does not depart significantly from the prior series.  Maybe it is the best conversion from paper currency, but there are many nicer overall advanced designs.

3. The National Bank of Poland

An example of a ‘better banknote design’ is the latest 19 Zloty commemorative from the National Bank of Poland.  This note celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Polish Security Printing Works and features Prime Minister Ignacy Jan Paderewski who established the organization.  Poland is well known for its commemorative banknotes which often integrate the latest overt patterns.  This one has a KINEGRAM® foil stripe, a die-cut window and SICPA’s SPARK Live.  Prior currency designs include Marie Curie, Pope John Paul II and Chopin.  Polish commemorative notes are a great addition to anyone’s collection.

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