The Bureau of Engraving and Printing can take solace in the knowledge
that it is not the only note printer to encounter production problems
because of paper. It is hard to forget the problems caused by creasing
of the paper in the Series 2009 $100 bill, a situation so bad that
more than a billion of them were put in quarantine. They have never
been released and we should not be surprised if they never are. They
were originally scheduled for release in February 2011 and it took
more than two and a half years for the Series 2009A notes that
replaced them to make their appearance.
Switzerland has broken the BEP’s record. Aug. 14 the Swiss National
Bank announced that it will release its new 50-franc note in April
2016, six years late. The note is the first in a new ninth series that
will also include 10-, 20-, 100-, 200-, and 1,000-franc denominations,
replacing the eighth series, introduced between 1995 and 1998.
According to the bank, the new 20-franc note will be introduced in
2017 with the others following at half-year or yearly intervals.
Designs for the new series were made public in 2005 after a
competition among artists, with the intent to put them into
circulation beginning in 2010. As yet undisclosed security features
created a similar problem to that encountered in Washington. The bank
cited “unexpected technical problems” for delaying the release of the
notes, which trace back to LandQart, a private Canadian owned firm
based in the Graubünden town of Landquart. The firm had difficulties
producing paper of the right quality on a consistent basis.
The new series is the work of Zürich graphic artist Manuela
Pfrunder, the second-place winner of the bank’s competition. Unlike
the current series, they do not have images of famous Swiss people.
The 50-franc note shows a mountain and hikers on its face and an
image of the sun on the reverse. The 10-franc note shows slalom skiers
on its face, but the back and both sides of all the other notes are
without human figures, and instead have butterflies, snow crystals,
graph plottings, an observatory, seashells, and some other things
difficult to explain.
The winning designs were by the graphic designer Manuel Krebs of
Zürich, who is best known for his typefaces. His proposed notes
included devices such as embryos, blood cells, a diagram of the human
circulatory system, maps, and the solar system.
The bank abandoned Krebs’ proposal after a public outcry in which
the word “horrible” was quoted more than once.
The notes, which are designed to last at least 15 years, will be
printed by Orell Füssli, the Zürich-based printer for the central bank.
Submissions of the 11 finalists are on the Swiss National Bank’s