Paper Money

Inflation brings on new denominations in Argentina

Two new note denominations are being introduced in Argentina as inflation makes smaller notes impractical.

Images by Mercopress.

Facing an annual inflation rate measured at the end of 2023 as 211%, the Central Bank of Argentina announced in January that it would start printing 10,000- and 20,000-peso notes (worth about $12 and $24, respectively, in exchange) to meet the demand for higher-denomination bank notes. Without mentioning the rampant inflation, Mercopress quoted the banks as saying only: “The issuance of these denominations will facilitate transactions among users,” adding that it will also “make the logistics of the financial system more efficient and allow for a significant reduction in the acquisition costs of finished banknotes.”

The new face values are a big jump from the current 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, 1,000 and 2,000 pesos. The 2,000-peso note was first issued in May 2023, but Mercopress says they cannot be found. Instead, huge piles of 1,000-peso notes are exchanged in cash transactions.

Designs of the new notes continue the move away from the Native Fauna series, launched in 2016 and calling attention to the country’s natural resources conservation, to a revision of older designs from the Heroines and Heroes of the Homeland series. The board of the Central Bank decided to use these old designs to save costs and shorten production time.

The 10,000-peso note’s face design is based on an earlier 500-peso note. It will show the portraits of Manuel Belgrano, a military leader in the Argentine war for independence and designer of the national flag, and María Remedios del Valle, heroine of the War of Independence. The portrait of Belgrano is based on one by the French artist François Casimir Carbonnier, while del Valle’s is from La Capitana (The Captain) by the Argentine artist Gisela Banzer. The main design of the back will be an artistic recreation of troops pledging allegiance to the Argentine flag on Feb. 27, 1812.

The portrait of Juan Bautista Alberdi, used on several earlier notes, including a 100-peso note, will be on the face of the 20,000-peso note. The bank calls him an inspiring figure for the National Constitution of 1853. The back will show a recreation of the house where the lawyer, diplomat, economist, writer, philosopher, journalist, and politician was born.

The new notes will be the same size as the current ones, similar in size to the U.S. dollar, and printed on cotton paper with watermarks and security threads. They are anticipated to become available in June 2024. Images provided by all sources show the notes having a new denomination in numbers and old denomination spelled out.

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