Romania releases two new polymer bank notes
- Published: Dec 16, 2021, 9 AM
Romania’s central bank unveiled a new bank note on Nov. 26 in honor of World War I Lt. Ecaterina Teodoroiu, the first woman to be depicted on Romanian money who is a real person rather than an allegory. The 20-lei note is the equivalent of $4.56 and went into circulation on Dec. 1.
A news release issued by the bank characterized the choice of subject as a response to “the legitimate public interest, which has been largely supported by the society, and helps strengthen gender equality and the major role of female personalities in Romanian history and society.”
It is printed on a polymer substrate with a mix of flat and intaglio printing, measures 136 by 77 millimeters in size and is colored olive green.
The face is dominated by the portrait of Teodoroiu, her birth and death years (1894 to 1917), and a bouquet of crocuses. In the background, the central area features a badge of the Romanian Scouts. The face also includes the denomination value in figures and letters, the national coat of arms, a stylized version of the infantry insignia, and the bank logo in a medallion.
The back has the winged figure of Victory as on the Victory Medal standing in front of the Marasesti Mausoleum, a memorial site holding the remains of 5,073 Romanian soldiers and officers killed in World War I. Behind the mausoleum is a lily flower.
A biography in The Female Soldier says Teodoroiu served as a nurse with the scouts at the start of World War I but decided to enlist as a soldier after the death of her brother in combat. She was accepted after several tries, saw combat, and was injured twice. She was awarded a medal for bravery, promoted to second lieutenant and given command of a 25-man platoon. She was killed on Sept. 3, 1917, during the Battle of Marasesti, the war’s final battle between Romania and Germany. She was hit in the chest by a burst of machine gun fire as she led her platoon against a unit of entrenched Germans. Her last words as she died were “Forward, men, I’m still with you!”
The bank is also releasing on Dec. 1 a polymer replica of the first 20-lei bank note issued by the National Bank of Romania in 1881. Its announcement says that the issue, at a price of 100 lei, or about $23, is “for numismatic purposes.”
The cobalt blue note has some features that would not have existed on the original. There are two transparent windows, the left one showing the face value “20,” and the right one with the head of the Roman Emperor Trajan wearing a laurel wreath. Both have two-color luminescence in sepia and green, visible only under UV light. Also visible only under UV light are the years “1881–2021” printed in the center of the obverse with white luminescence; the bank logo, under the transparent windows, with red luminescence; and in black ink with green luminescence, the eight-digit serial number in the center, and a four-digit control number, in the top left and bottom right corners.
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