Paper Money

Switzerland repeats with top note in IBNS contest

Switzerland has won the coveted International Bank Note Society Bank Note of the Year Award for the second year in a row. 

The vote was open to all IBNS members, who in the closest vote ever, narrowly selected the polymer/hybrid Swiss 10-franc note over contenders from the Royal Bank of Scotland (a £10 note with female scientist), Canada (a $10 note with four politicians and regions), Fiji (a $7 note featuring their first Olympic gold medal and rugby “7’s” team), Norway (a 100-kroner issue featuring a Viking long ship), and Djibouti (a 40-franc note featuring a whale shark). 

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The winner is the fourth consecutive hybrid/polymer note to win the award. 

The winner was one of two new Swiss issues nominated in 2017, but since IBNS rules prohibit a country from competing against itself, a subcommittee eliminated the 20-franc note from consideration. Both are part of the ninth series of notes inaugurated by the Swiss National Bank in 2016 when it issued a 50-franc note. All notes are printed by Orell Fussli Security Printing Ltd. in Zurich. 

Rather than featuring people, the new series calls attention to national experiences and abstract themes. 

The face of the yellow 10-franc note depicts music and time, in the form of human hands conducting an orchestra, and a globe showing time zones. The back highlights the legendary punctual Swiss rail system and watch movements. 

The note is made of a unique three-layer substrate called Durasafe, containing two outer layers of cotton bank note paper fused together with a central core of transparent polymer. The note also possesses what the national bank calls “the latest in technological security standards.”

The release of the fourth denomination in the series, a 200-franc note, is planned for August this year.

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Over 170 new bank notes were released worldwide in 2017. The IBNS says that nearly a third of them were of sufficiently new design to be eligible for consideration, and 22 of them were placed on the ballot.

The winner and the other nominated issues can be viewed at

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