Paper Money

European Central Bank publishes 2018 note data

The European Central Bank has released 2018 data on note production. Codes that can help a user identify where a particular euro note is printed are hidden in different locations, highlighted, on the different notes.

Images courtesy of European Central Bank.

The European Central Bank has published the final data for the amount and value of euro bank notes printed in 2018, as well as the denominations ordered by the individual national central banks. A total of 3,989,900,000 notes were printed, with an overall face value of close to €386 billion. 

Two denominations, the €10 and €50 notes, were not printed. The €500 note has been discontinued and, although still legal tender, is being withdrawn from circulation.

The €100 denomination far surpassed all other notes in terms of both the number of notes printed and value. In total, 2,300,0000 of them were printed, for orders from the central banks of Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, and Austria. 

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In total, 715 million €200 notes were made, for the central banks of France, Italy, and Austria. 

Next were 526.5 million €20 bank notes for Belgium, Ireland, Spain, and Portugal. Finally, Estonia, Greece, Cyprus, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Slovakia, and Finland ordered a total of 448,400,000 of the lowest-denomination note, the €5 issue.

The printing of euro bank notes is distributed among numerous government-owned and private printing facilities approved by the European Central Bank. Each national bank pays its own printing costs. 

Identifying the origin of a euro bank note can be somewhat complicated. The first letter in the serial number on the back of the note indicates the national bank responsible for issuing the note, but that may not be the same as where it was printed. The country identifiers are: Belgium, Z; Greece, Y; Germany, R; Spain, V; France, U; Ireland, T; Italy, S; Latvia, C; Lithuania, B; Luxembourg, none (it commissions its printing with other central banks); Netherlands, P; Austria, N; Portugal, M; Finland, L; Slovenia, H; Slovakia, E; Cyprus, G; Malta, F; and Estonia, D.

The code identifying the printer is sometimes different and is located in different locations on the face depending on the denomination. It is the first letter in a six-character code that is quite difficult to see. The code is usually the same as that in the serial number if it was printed by a national bank’s own facility. Additional printer’s codes are: D, Polska Wytwórnia Papierów Wartosciowych, Warsaw, Poland; E, Oberthur Fiduciaire, Chantepie, France; H, De La Rue, Loughton, United Kingdom; J, De La Rue, Gateshead, United Kingdom; W, Giesecke & Devrient GmbH, Leipzig, Germany; and X, Giesecke & Devrient GmbH, Munich, Germany.

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