Paper Money

Romania celebrates reunion centennial on 100-lei bank note

A polymer commemorative bank note with a face value of 100 lei ($23.14) was released by the Central Bank of Romania on Dec. 1.

The blue 147- by 82-millimeter 100-leu note was issued in a quantity of 30,000 pieces and targeted to collectors. It was available on the bank’s website at a premium of 50 percent over face value.

It marks the centennial of the Completion of the Great Union, in which on Dec. 1, 1918, the ethnically Romanian regions of Transylvania, Bessarabia, and Bukovina were united with the Romanian Kingdom.

The face is dominated by a large facing portrait of Ion I.C. Bratianu, who served six times as prime minister of Romania between 1909 and 1927 and was the chief spokesman for the concept of a “Greater Romania.”

The face also features his name and birth and death years as ION I.C. BRATIANU 1864–1927, below the portrait. In the center is an image of the Order of Carol I decoration, which Bratianu was awarded in 1922. In the background of the center is a view of the interior of the Romanian Athenaeum, the landmark concert hall in the center of Bucharest. Stylized geometric motifs are printed in subdued colors in the background. 

The left side of the back shows the former palace of the Assembly of Deputies of the Romanian Parliament, now the Patriarchate Palace. In the center is the reverse of the Order of Carol I decoration.

The note has a surprising number of sophisticated anti-counterfeiting devices, considering it is not intended for circulation. Among them, a transparent vertical window has a multi-toned portrait of Bratianu in the center; in the window’s top part, the reverse of the Order of Carol I includes an element in the middle that is visible only when viewed under special lighting; and around the window’s central part, as well as above and below the window, graphics in optically variable blue-green ink change color depending on their tilt.

Visible on both sides when the note is held up to the light is a stylized depiction of a skylight built into the inner dome of the Athenaeum.

The note also has microtext, iridescence, laser micro-perforations of the face value “100,” UV-fluorescent ink on the back, and black magnetic ink in the serial number.

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