Paper Money

New 20-euro note entering circulation in eurozone

The new €20 bank note being released in all 22 eurozone nations Nov. 25 will join the already issued €5 and €10 notes as members of the second generation of euros, which are known as the “Europa Series.” 

The release comes at an opportune time given reports that in the first half of 2015 55 percent of counterfeit notes intercepted by banks in the Eurozone were €20 notes. The new version is said to be more secure, prompting Carl-Ludwig Thiele, head of the Bundesbank in Frankfurt to boast, “A milestone in banknote technology has been achieved.” The bank also said that anyone trying to duplicate the note on a photocopy machine would “utterly fail.”

A number of obvious differences are visible when comparing the old note that debuted in 2002 to the new note. The number 20 is more colorful on the new note and the one at the bottom of the face now changes color. The denomination is now given in the Cyrillic alphabet as well as the Greek and Latin ones thanks to the addition of Bulgaria to the European Union. Nine variations of the initials of the European Central Bank appear, due to the enlargement of the union in 2004 and 2007. 

The most obvious of the security enhancements is the hologram occupying a transparent portrait window in the note. When held up to the light from either side, an engraving-style image of the mythological goddess Europa appears. Also, when the bank note is tilted, the window shows rainbow-colored lines around the value numeral. On the back, rainbow-colored value numerals appear in the window. 

The new note has been the subject of a massive months-long information and marketing effort in advance of the launch. On Feb. 6, 2015, a seminar was held at the Bank of Italy in Rome for equipment manufacturers and suppliers. On Feb. 24, the new note was officially unveiled at European Central Bank headquarters in Frankfurt. 

To raise awareness of four of the security features, in particular the portrait window, the bank launched an online game called “Tetris new €20.” 

Next, the new notes were loaned to bank note equipment manufacturers so they could correctly adapt machines and authentication devices. Starting on Oct. 13, 2.8 million businesses received information leaflets and motion cards. The leaflet shows steps needed to adapt equipment to the new note as well as the time line for the launch. It also points out that bank notes can be easily checked manually, using the “FEEL-LOOK-TILT” method. 

Businesses were advised to ensure that their handling and authentication devices were ready. Professional cash handlers were informed about the design and security features in advance so they, in turn, could inform their customers.

The old €20 note will remain legal tender, but will gradually be withdrawn from circulation and destroyed. More information and descriptions of many of the security features, not all of which have been disclosed, may be found at

Russia celebrates 


A 100-ruble bank note commemorating Moscow’s “annexation” of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 will appear in Russia in December, according to a report in the Moscow Times of Nov. 12, citing a report in Tass and a Russian Central Bank official. Twenty million of the new notes will be printed. They will feature symbols of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, and will enter into circulation in December. 

The design is not yet finalized, according to the report. Bank officials are said to be now discussing said design with the governors of Crimea and Sevastopol, an interesting revelation given that the scheduled release is only a month away. 

This is not the first time Russia has issued commemorative currency for its Crimean putsch. In October 2014, the Central Bank released two new 10-ruble coins, one featuring an image of the Swallow’s Nest castle in the Crimean city of Yalta and the other showing Sevastopol’s Monument to the Scuttled Ships. 

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