Paper Money

Banco de Mexico wins Bank Note of the Year award

IBNS members selected the Banco de Mexico 100-peso bank note released in 2020 as the “Bank Note of the Year.”

Images courtesy of Banco de Mexico.

The International Bank Note Society, in a vote by its members, has awarded its Bank Note of the Year Award for 2020 to the Banco de Mexico for its new polymer 100-peso note.

It bested a field of 23 other competitors from 22 countries and five continents nominated from the more than 100 new bank notes issued during the year. The finalists were the only ones considered new enough for a position on the ballot.

The IBNS announcement said that the winner’s margin was a wide one over the Royal Bank of Scotland’s £20 note showing a Kate Cranston tea room and squirrels. In a virtual tie for third place were three notes: Northern Ireland’s Ulster Bank 20 pound with flora and street musicians, the Bahamas $5 note with founding father Sir Cecil Wallace-Whitfield and a Junkanoo dancer, and the Fiji $50 bank note issued for its 50th Anniversary of Independence. Rounding out the top seven vote getters were the Bank of England £20 note with the painter J.M.W. Turner and Clydesdale Bank of Scotland’s £20 note featuring Robert the Bruce and St. Kilda.

The Banco de Mexico was both the printer and issuer of the winning note, in the bank’s current G Series introduced in 2018. The red-colored note is printed in the increasingly popular vertical format and features one of Mexico’s national heroines, the 17th century nun, poet, and writer Sor Juana Indes de la Cruz. The reverse of all notes in the G Series highlights one of the country’s ecosystems, in this case the temperate forest known worldwide as the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve. The design continues to highlight Mexican cultural and historic characteristics with new graphic motifs and improved security features. It was printed at the Banco de Mexico’s new facility in Jalisco, which began operation just before the coronavirus pandemic.

The IBNS says that as a first-time winner of the Bank Note of the Year competition, Mexico’s entry may provide a template as other countries reconsider how they design and promote new bank notes. The design combines Hispanic architecture, a famous female Hispanic literary figure and a tribute to the world’s fragile ecosystem. It is slightly narrower than a €20 note and slightly shorter than U.S. dollars. The current exchange value of 100 pesos is $4.92.

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