South Africa's new banknotes
1 February 2005
The South African Reserve Bank released new banknotes into circulation from 1 February 2005. This is the first redesign of the banknotes since the current series was introduced in 1992.
While the new notes retain the size and colours of the previous series, as well as the animals and economic theme of each denomination, the design has been refreshed and a number of new security features have been included.
The older notes will remain legal tender for the foreseeable future. No South Africa currency has been demonetarised, so all previous issues are still legal tender.
It is expected that the new series of banknotes will form the bulk of the currency in circulation by the end of the year.
Reserve Bank Governor Tito Mboweni points out that South African banknote design is "highly regarded", and that the previous series "withstood any major counterfeiting threat".
Addressing journalists at the launch of the new notes in Pretoria in January,
Mboweni said that banknote redesign every six to eight years was in line with international best practice.
South Africa's new banknotes, Mboweni said, "are a window on the country, its people, heritage and culture". The new design incorporates SA's Coat of Arms and features all 11 official languages, as well as improved facilities for the partially sighted.
The issue of the banknotes is accompanied by a campaign, dubbed "Makoya Moola", to encourage South Africans to get to know their money. "Makoya" refers to "the real McCoy", "moola" is a South African slang term for money.
"The security features on South African rands are only useful if people use them", Mboweni said.
The Reserve Bank has advised the public to "look, feel and tilt" their money to check the security features of the banknotes.
The banknotes contain a number of new security features that can be examined by holding them up to a light source. An additional
watermark of the denomination value has been added to the older series' animal.
The see-through, or perfect registration, security feature can also be seen by holding the note up to the light. In the upgraded series, an R and the denomination value will be seen in the bottom left corner. This is composed of elements printed on the front and back of the note. Users should check that the front and back images align perfectly to form the image.
The security thread and unique serial numbers are retained, although the new series contains an additional, conical, serial number. The numbers of this serial number increase in size from left to right.
Banknotes have a distinctive feel and sound when flicked through the fingers. This comes from the paper that is used and the intaglio printing method. The rough effect of the intaglio printing can be felt on the front of all banknotes, and on the backs of R100 and R200 notes.
Some of the security features can only
be seen by holding the notes almost horizontally. The upgraded R50, R100 and R200 note have their denomination values printed in colour-changing ink on the front bottom right of the note. When a R50 or R100 note is held horizontally, the ink changes from green to gold. On the R200 note, the ink changes from magenta to green.
The new R50, R100 and R200 notes also contain a holographic Coat of Arms in the security thread.
A new feature that is contained on all of the upgraded series of banknotes is the shimmering gold band. When the note is tilted, this is visible on the back with a Coat of Arms and the denomination value of the note.
Another new feature is the hidden image. The geometric shapes on the front of the notes will form an image when the note is held horizontally to the eye.