Paper Money

Excellence in Currency Technology winners named

The German federal printing company Bundesdruckerei touts the IGNIS house note as the world’s first black bank note. Louisenthal won the Best New Banknote Feature, Product or Process award for its Green LongLife substrate.

Images courtesy of Bundesdruckerei and Louisenthal.

It has been a good month for the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank. Almost simultaneously with being named the International Bank Note Society’s 2023 Bank Note of the Year award winner, the ECCB’s $2 bill issued for its 40th anniversary was selected by the International Association of Currency Affairs as the Best Limited Circulation Commemorative Banknote. The award was announced at the 2024 Excellence in Currency Technology awards dinner on May 15 at the group’s Banknote Conference, held in Fort Worth, Texas.

Winners were also presented in three other categories. The award for Best New Banknote Feature, Product or Process went to Louisenthal for its Green LongLife bank note substrate. Louisenthal calls it a bank note paper that makes a difference for nature: its printing and processes require no adjustment for the central bank. However, the amount of plastic has been reduced while increasing the bio-based carbon content. The carbon footprint of a Green LongLife note is decreased by 30% compared to an earlier version LongLife substrate without compromising on security, look and feel, or design freedom.

Seventy percent recycled polyester is used for security threads and foils. Alternative fibers such as organic cotton or abaca, hemp, or sustainable cotton from Africa can be used for substrate production. To ensure high durability and the lowest ecological footprint, Green LongLife can be coated with varnishes.

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas won the Best New Cash Cycle Innovation award for its Coin Deposit Machine (CoDM) program.

There were seven finalists for a special award for Best House Note. The winner was Bundesdruckerei, the German federal printing company, for its IGNIS Ex Nihilo house note. It is described by the company as the world’s first black bank note, designed to foster dialogue about the future of money. It shows that future bank notes can be conceived much differently than those of today.

It is made of Durasafe, a composite paper-polymer substrate. The paper layers are dyed directly at the paper mill with the blackest black ever used for bank notes. A new anti-copy feature makes it easy to identify counterfeits, because the copy will always appear gray in comparison to the original. Light is printed on the blackest substrate. Iridescent pigments that reflect light were used instead of conventional pigments that absorb it. There is also a special additive four-color screen print.

For central banks planning for a CBDC (Central Bank Digital Currency), a chip can be built into the cavity of a half window. It can access the full range of digital payment services that a central bank wishes to offer. The chip is covered by a laminating with dynamic and diffractive effects that not only protect the chip but the entire note.

Most of the reverse is black to highlight effects or hidden details that perform best on a dark background, such as luminescent inks, whitish intaglio, a security feature called SPARK Flow that creates a three-dimensional impression of the triangle, the alchemical symbol for fire, and a laminating foil called KINEGRAM COLORS, which on a dark background, shows the flames to their best advantage. The serial number can be applied by normal letterpress or a new innovative perforation method.

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