Swiss National Bank recalls eighth series of bank notes
- Published: May 10, 2021, 8 AM
The Swiss National Bank recalled its eighth series bank notes as of April 30. The action voids their legal tender status, and they can no longer be used for payment purposes except at public cash offices of the Confederation (Swiss Federal Railways and Swiss Post), where they will be accepted until Oct. 31.
Those still holding the notes can exchange them for their full face value at the bank’s offices in Bern and Zürich, at agencies in 11 cantonal banks, or by mail to the Swiss National Bank Cashier’s Office, West Bundesplatz 1 CH-3003 Bern. North American citizens holding them should send them via insured parcel and include: address (full last name, first name, full address including country); account number (if possible IBAN) of the account in your name; SWIFT BIC, name and full address of the bank where the account is held.
More than 20 years elapsed between the eighth and ninth series. In that time, as the bank explains, “The world has undergone a technological quantum leap. A new series is therefore required in order to maintain our high security standards and protect the public against counterfeits.”
The eighth series bank notes can be exchanged for an unlimited period of time. It consists of 10-, 20-, 50-, 100-, 200-, and 1,000-franc notes.
The sixth series bank notes (10-, 20-, 50-, 100-, 500-, and 1,000-franc denominations) were recalled and lost their legal tender status on May 1, 2000. They can also still be exchanged at the bank for an unlimited period at full face value.
Bank notes from earlier series (the first to third series inclusive, and the fifth series) have already been recalled and can no longer be exchanged, even at the Swiss National Bank.
The World War II era fourth series, and the seventh series of 1984 were reserve series that were never issued.
The story behind the fourth series is that the Swiss National Bank commissioned two painters to design the notes. The 1,000-, 500- and 50-franc notes were designed by Hans Erni, while Victor Surbeck was responsible for the 100-franc note. All denominations but the 500-franc note were printed.
Ernis’s obituary states that the series was never released because of objections when reports surfaced that Erni was a communist and that the national bank could not issue the notes under such conditions. The notes were therefore kept in reserve. The artist had a long and successful career that included more than 90 stamp designs for Switzerland, Liechtenstein and the United Nations. He died in Lucerne in 2015 at the age of 106.
The seventh series was produced in response to the possibility of extensive counterfeiting of the sixth series. It was eventually destroyed.
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