Wednesday, 29 March 2017

New high value polymer banknote for Gibraltar

Chief Minister Fabian Picardo with Lady Hassan and her daughters. Chief Minister Fabian Picardo with Lady Hassan and her daughters. © HM Government of Gibraltar

AS announced at last August’s commemoration of the birth of Sir Joshua Hassan, the government of Gibraltar is to issue a new polymer £100 banknote featuring an image of Sir Joshua.

Not only will this be the first ever legal tender £100 sterling banknote to be produced in polymer, it will also be Gibraltar’s first sterling banknote to be produced in this material. The note will have a smoother feel than traditional banknote paper but it will be more durable and will stay cleaner for longer.

The new polymer banknotes have been produced by De La Rue and printed on Safeguard® substrate. The design will be similar to the existing paper banknote but with a large clear window showing a hologram which can be seen from both the front and back of the note and which will be highly reflective, showing images of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the letter ‘G’ for Gibraltar. 

Using Advanced Image Plane holography, the hologram on the note will offer high levels of security against counterfeiting whilst simultaneously showcasing all the clarity, colour, movement and true depth achievable on a polymer substrate.

Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said whilst showing Lady Hassan and her two daughters, “We are proud to be issuing a £100 note which is at the cutting edge of banknote design and whose security features are second to none. De La Rue has worked closely with us to achieve this successful launch and we are most grateful to them.”

The launch of any new bank note product is both expensive and potentially catastrophic if anything goes wrong which is why manufacturers often use smaller administrations as ‘guinea pigs’ to test new materials as the loss of such a client whilst embarrassing would not be financially damaging, unlike any situation where a major Central bank could cancel contracts worth millions of pounds.

One of the best remembered disasters in recent years saw the hologram on a special Australia Bicentenary $10 bank note issued in 1988 fall off when the note was being demonstrated as being almost indestructible on TV.

There will probably be more demand for this new Gibraltar note from collectors than those who wish to use it although as has previously been reported, certain sections of the financial community have been lobbying for the withdrawal of high value bank notes which are popular with money launderers and smugglers.

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