Paper Money

The Paper Money Page: imagine a new €20 note will circulate?

A newly designed €20 bank note will enter circulation on Nov. 25, 2015.

Images courtesy of European Central bank

A newly designed €20 bank note will enter circulation on Nov. 25, 2015, according to an April 2 announcement by the European Central Bank. This will be the third replacement of the original Series 2002 notes following the new €5 note, which made its debut in May 2013, and the €10 note, released last September. New €50, €100, €200 and €500 notes will follow. 

The new notes are called the “Europa Series” because the figure from Greek mythology and the continent’s namesake has a prominent place in two anti-counterfeiting devices.

Europa’s portrait used here was taken from a 2,000-year-old vase in the Louvre in Paris. The bank says that the window in the hologram on the note is a major innovation in bank note technology. Europa is placed inside a distinct “portrait window” in the hologram. When held against the light the window becomes transparent, revealing a portrait of Europa on both sides. 

When tilted, rainbow-colored lines appear around the value numeral on the face and rainbow-colored value numerals appear on the back. This is said to represent a technological breakthrough and makes counterfeiting more difficult. 

Europa also appears in a more standard watermark along one edge of the note.

Similar to the new €5 and €10 issues, the €20 note also has an “emerald number.” When the note is tilted the shiny number in the bottom left corner representing the denomination changes color from emerald green to deep blue. 

Other features on the new €20 note are a series of short raised lines on the left and right edges, and a security thread that appears as a dark line upon which the € symbol and the value of the note can be seen in tiny white lettering when held against the light. The yellow circles of the “Eurion Constellation,” said to be part of the Counterfeit Deterrence System, are on both sides.

While the new issue continues the architectural “ages and styles” theme of the first series and uses the same basic colors, the adaptations on the new notes are the work of an independent bank note designer in Berlin, Reinhold Gerstetter, who has reflected the changes in the Eurozone since 2002. 

The map of Europe on the back now also shows Malta and Cyprus. “Euro” is now also written in Cyrillic along with the Latin and Greek alphabets, even though Bulgaria, the only EU country using the Cyrillic alphabet, is not yet a member of the Eurozone.

Unlike U.S. paper currency, the old note will not remain legal tender forever. The date when the first series of euro notes stops being legal tender will be announced well in advance. 

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