Paper Money

Central Bank of Libya in Tripoli issues new polymer substrate 5-dinar note

The Central Bank of Libya in Tripoli issued a new 5-dinar note Feb. 15 at a hotel in Tripoli, reports “Libya Herald,” an independent online daily.

Images from the Libya Herald.

The Central Bank of Libya in Tripoli launched a new 5-dinar note on Feb. 15 at a hotel in Tripoli, reports Libya Herald, an independent online daily. The bank itself has released no further information.

The launch was timed to coincide with the tenth anniversary of the Feb. 17, 2011, Revolution, the armed uprising that resulted in the gruesome death of former Col. Muammar Qaddafi and the termination of his dictatorial regime.

The new bank note is the second Libyan note to be switched from linen paper to polymer. It is part of a gradual transformation that began two years ago when the 1-dinar note was introduced. The 10-, 20-, and 50-dinar notes will follow, but no time frame is given.

The new note was printed by De La Rue on its Safeguard substrate.

It is similar in design to the issue of February 2013, on the second anniversary of Qaddafi’s overthrow. The face shows a view of Tripoli’s most popular monument, the five-story Ottoman clock tower in the medina of the city’s old town, while the back depicts the Doric style Temple of Zeus in the ancient city of Cyrene.

Noticeable differences in the sophistication of the security devices on both sides of the note are apparent. More colors were added, and it is more recognizable to the touch than its predecessor, an improvement for the blind.

De La Rue says that it is the first bank note in the world to be issued with Safeguard Argentum as part of the polymer substrate. The firm describes Argentum as a highly reflective silver ink that is integrated into the polymer window of the bank note as five mirror-like shapes, representing the denominational value around the edge of the window. The center of the window depicts the resistance leader Omar Mukhtar.

Libya’s entwined political and financial situation remains chaotic. A civil war from 2014 to 2020 split the country into eastern and western halves, with the U.N.-recognized western half seated in Tripoli, and an eastern branch based in Benghazi, the home of commander Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army. Hafter, says the Council on Foreign Relations, is a former general who helped Qaddafi seize power in 1969, but the, after breaking with Qaddafi, allegedly helped the CIA in the 1990s. He is now supported by Russia.

A byproduct of the situation is that the country also has two central banks, the one in Tripoli and one controlled by Haftar that has printed its own notes, naturally, in Russia. Since the Tripoli bank is the only one recognized internationally, the Haftar currency trades at a discount.

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