World banknotes win biggest prizes at trade event

High Security Printing EMEA, one of three trade events sponsored by Reconnaissance International, focuses on government specified and issued documents, particularly monetary and identification documents.

EMEA stands for Europe, Middle East and Africa. It was held in Tallinn, Estonia, from June 13-15. Similar annual events are organized by Recognition for Asia and Latin America.

It has become standard at such events that Banknote of the Year awards are given out. Those of recognition focus on design, technical sophistication and safety, with an emphasis on representing the cultural heritage of the issuing country. There are three categories – Best New Series, Best New Banknote and Best New Commemorative Banknote – with Oman, Malawi and Poland receiving the 2022 honours.

Honors in Oman

The best new series went to the Central Bank of Oman for banknotes launched in 2020 and 2021 celebrating the 50th anniversary of the modern Omani Renaissance. According to Recognition International, “The central bank is recognized as having always been at the forefront of the adoption of new banknote security and the new series was no exception.”

The series was entrusted to Oberthur Fiduciaire, who shared production with Giesecke + Devrient. Oberthur Fiduciaire provided the substrate for the three lower denominations and Louisenthal for the upper four. Among a range of features, the notes are coated with Ultra, a reinforced post-print varnish with what is described as additional water and oil resistant properties. Additionally, Oberthur’s Highlink reinforcer has been added to the lower three denominations to improve their performance in circulation.

Banknote World said of the series, “This whole series could be one of the best series of all time. It is cohesively designed with complementary colors and appealing and safe overt effects. We seem to be in the golden age of banknote design. There are great overt effects from multiple companies, new colors, improved printable substrates, and the ability to create a series with a singular theme by putting them together but with enough differences to stand on their own.

Honors in Malawi

The new 5,000 kwacha note from the Reserve Bank of Malawi has been recognized as the best new banknote. The portrait on the face is of the first president of Malawi, Hastings Kamuzu Banda; the face also shows small fish and two fishermen in a boat. The reverse features a map of Malawi, a silhouette of two people, the bank’s logo and a vignette of the Reserve Bank of Malawi branch in Blantyre.

The note was printed by Giesecke+Devrient. The landlocked country is known for its clear waters and the colorful fish of Lake Malawi, represented by a purple and green fish printed in optically variable magnetic ink.

Poland wins a prize

The winner of the prize for the best commemorative banknote was the National Bank of Poland for the 20 zloty banknote entitled “Is it worth being a Pole? published in November 2021 in honor of former President Lech Kaczynski. He and 95 others were killed in a plane crash in 2010 on their way to a ceremony in Smolensk, Russia, to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Katyn massacre. The reverse features images of strikers from the Solidarity trade union movement in the Gdansk shipyard in the 1980s, and a view of the Polish war cemetery in Katyn.

National Bank President Adam Glapinski said: “By issuing this banknote, which is particularly important for millions of Poles, but also for me personally, we want to pay tribute to a great man, Lech Kaczynski, who confirmed with all his life: being Polish has value.

The November 2021 issue is the 13th Polish commemorative banknote since the first in 2006, on the anniversary of Karol Wojtyła’s election to the papacy.

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