Here’s how to tell if your new Mandela bank note or coin is a fake

The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) recently launched a new public awareness campaign alongside the introduction of the new Mandela commemorative series of banknotes and R5 circulation coin.

As part of the campaign, the SARB released a series of videos to highlight what makes the notes and coin special, as well as a number of security features implemented in the notes.

Dubbed ‘check-check’, the SARB said it was important to check that your commemorative banknotes are real when using them for transactions.

You can find these videos, as well as an explanation of these security features detailed below.


The Reserve Bank said that there are two main components to check when  dealing with the commemorative coin.

The first is that the ‘1918’ on the face of the coin should change to ‘2018’ when viewing it at an angle.

The second security feature is to check whether you can see ‘SARB’ and ‘R5’ inscribed on the outer edge of the coin.


Compared to the coin, there are a number of more noticeable security features included on the commemorative notes.

These include:

  • The ability to feel the raised lines on the front-bottom left and right-hand side of the note.
  • Two matching numbers on the back of the note.

  • The ink contained within the big number of the front of the note changes colour when viewed at from different angles.
  • You should also be able to see a watermark of Mandela when looking at the front of the note, and holding it towards a light-source.

  • You should be able to feel raised printing on Mandela’s face on the front of the note.
  • There are a series of ‘little dots’  you should be able to see on the front-left and back-right of the notes.

  • The shiny security thread down the centre of the note should change colour when viewing it from a different angle.
  • You should be able to see a ‘complete animal’ on the bottom-left of the note when holding it towards a light-source.

Read: The rand has fallen 15% since Ramaphosa took charge – here are the 3 biggest reasons why

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Here’s how to tell if your new Mandela bank note or coin is a fake