Paper Money

IBNS picks 2023 commemorative as bank note of year

he Eastern Caribbean Central Bank’s $2 note issued to commemorate the bank’s 40th anniversary was selected by the voting members of the International Bank Note Society as the Bank Note of the Year for 2023.

Images courtesy of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank.

The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank’s $2 note issued to commemorate its 40th anniversary was selected by the voting members of the International Bank Note Society as the 2023 Bank Note of the Year.

The issue was part of the bank’s year-long celebration under the theme “ECCB@40: A Year of Reflection, Celebration and Implementation” and was meant to present the hopes for the future with a colorful, innovative design combining sports and the environment. Made of polymer, it was designed and manufactured by De La Rue in collaboration with the ECCB. It is the first bank note to utilize, all together, a reflective silver ink, a gold iridescent ink and a holographic blue foil.

The face of the vertically designed yellow, red, blue, and purple note features the Antiguan retired cricket legend Sir Issac Vivian Alexander “Viv” Richards, also known as “The Master Blaster,” who represented the West Indies cricket team between 1974 and 1991. It also displays the Central Bank headquarters building, the 40th anniversary bank logo, turtles, and fish. The back of the note combines the logo, fish, coral, turtles, and a map of the islands in bright blue. At 65 millimeters by 132 millimeters, it is slightly smaller than the other polymer notes the bank issues for its member states. The face value is equal to approximately 74 cents U.S.

Almost 100 new bank notes were released worldwide during 2023, but only 15 were of sufficiently new design to be nominated for the contest. The nominees represented Africa, Asia, and South America, five island nations, and the Middle East.

The first runner-up was Peru’s 200-sol note, which features painter Tilsa Tsuchiya, whose work highlights Peruvian legends, folklore, and myths. The second runner-up was Jamaica’s $1,000 note with national heroes and Jamaica House. The others in the top six were South Africa’s 50-rand note (Nelson Mandela/lions), Egypt’s 20-pound note (mosque/Ramesses II) and Solomon Islands’ (Pacific Games/several sports).

Past Bank Note of the Year winners include Philippines (2022), Mexico (2021 & 2020), Aruba (2019), Canada (2018), Switzerland (2017 & 2016), New Zealand (2015), Trinidad & Tobago (2014), Kazakhstan (2013, 2012 & 2011), Uganda (2010), Bermuda (2009), Samoa (2008), Bank of Scotland (2007), Comoros (2006), Faeroe Islands (2005) and Canada (2004).

IBNS members have produced a guide detailing the Bank Note of the Year 2023 nominations on the organization’s website,, where it is possible to explore the visible security features of each of the notes — the iridescent inks, watermarks, security strips and holographic features, as well as ultraviolet features.

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