The most beautiful banknotes in the world

The International Bank Note Society (IBNS) has announced the winner of the “Bank Note of the Year Award” for 2015.

The IBNS award is given to the best-designed new bank note that launched and entered into circulation somewhere in the world in 2015.

Over 150 new notes were launched across the world in 2015, and 36 were of a new enough design to be eligible to be in the running for the award, IBNS said.

The winner was New Zealand’s new five dollar note.

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand began releasing a new family of “Brighter Money” banknotes in 2015, beginning with the $5 and $10 denominations.

Printed by the Canadian Bank Note Company in Ottawa, each orange and brown $5 note displays a map of New Zealand in a gorgeous polymer window as well as numerous upgraded security features:

New Zealand note front

The face features legendary New Zealand mountain climber Sir Edmund Hillary and South Island’s Mount Cook (Aoraki). A colour changing yellow-eyed (hoiho) penguin completes the face design.

New Zealand note back

The back design again features this rare penguin unique to New Zealand as well as local flora.

Among the top five notes were Sweden’s 20 Kronor note depicting children’s author Astrid Lindgren; Russia’s 100 Ruble note illustrating Crimean landmarks; Kazakhstan’s 20,000 Tenge note; and Scotland’s (Clydesdale Bank) 5 Pound polymer note – all pictured below:

Sweden’s 20 Kronor note

Swedish Kronor

Russia’s 100 Ruble note

Russian ruble

Kazakhstan’s 20,000 Tenge note


Scotland’s 5 Pound polymer note


From all significantly new designed and widely circulated banknotes released in 2015, the IBNS membership nominated notes from a record 20 countries to place on the ballot.

Nominees represented four continents (Europe, Asia, South America, and Africa), 4 Middle East countries, and 4 island nations.

Past “Bank Note of the Year” winners include Trinidad & Tobago (2014), Kazakhstan (2013, 2012, 2011), Uganda (2010), Bermuda (2009), Samoa (2008), Scotland (2007), Comoros (2006), Faeroe Islands (2005) and Canada (2004).

More on currencies

New R5 coin launches in SA

This is what the new R5 coin looks like

Must Read

Partner Content

Show comments

Trending Now

Follow Us

The most beautiful banknotes in the world