On Wednesday, 18 November, the first lecture from the cycle of lectures ‘3X3’ took place at the Money Museum. Ramunė Juzėnienė, Senior Specialist of the Cash Production Organisation and Examination Division, presented the activities of her Division and talked about the peculiarities and security features of euro banknotes and coins.
While the newly designed 20 euro banknote will only appear in circulation on 25 October, participants of the lecture were among the first who had the opportunity to not only view, but also touch the new banknote. Ramunė Juzėnienė explained the peculiarities, security features of the new ‘Europa’ series of banknote and other important aspects.
Since not everyone managed to attend the lecture, we present here the ten most important and interesting facts:
– The new series of euro banknote is called ‘Europa’; earlier, 5 and 10 euro banknotes were from this series: 5 euro banknotes appeared in circulation in 2013, while 10 euro — in 2014. The 20 euro banknotes will appear in circulation on 25 November 2015, and this will be the first new banknote of the Europa series issued after Lithuania joined the euro area.
– The banknote series was named ‘Europa’ because a portrait of Europa, a figure from Greek mythology and the origin of the name of our continent, is used in its security features. The figure is taken from an ancient (over 2,000 years old) Greek vase, stored in the Louvre Museum. Artists for a long time looked for the most suitable face for Europa and decided that this was the most authentic, beautiful, and the only portrait of Europa in which she is smiling.
– The paper of euro banknotes for the first combines together with plastic. The new 20 euro banknote has a plastic window with the portrait of Europa, it can be seen when the banknote is held up to the light. Moreover, the window is holographic: when the banknote is tilted, colours and patterns are visible. The 20 euro banknote is the most advanced and secure banknote in technological terms. More information is available in the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hFbCby2-g7s
– The higher the value, the larger the banknote. This is both a security feature and aid to the partially sighted and the blind. Banknotes of the Europa series have additional features for the visually impaired. On their left side, a number of raised bars can be felt (in the 5 euro banknote, there are no spaces between the bars; there is one bar in the 10 euro banknote and two bars in the 20 euro banknote).
– Distinguishing between genuine and counterfeit banknotes is possible with the FEEL, LOOK and TILT method: both the special structure of the paper and the raised marks along the right and left sides can be felt; if you look at the light, the portrait of Europa becomes visible in the watermark and the window; if you tilt the banknote, the portrait of Europa and the value become visible in the hologram; when tilting the banknote, the upper and the lower part of the emerald numeral glows.
– Images seen in ultraviolet light, which earlier had been considered almost the key security feature, these days practically are no longer a security feature because it is very easy to counterfeit them. Banknotes are most often checked by the security thread, hologram stripes or fragments, watermarks, microtext, etc.
– Every euro banknote has a unique number comprised of a letter (print font) and 11 numerals. Euro banknotes are printed at 16 printing houses; the letter indicated in the banknotes of the previous sample stood for a specific printing house, which is now not the case. Nevertheless, this number can be helpful. The last numeral of the number is a control one and is never a zero; consequently, if you see a banknote with a zero at the end of its number, you will immediately know that it is a counterfeit. Many counterfeiters already know about this trick, but such cases do occur.
– The Bank of Lithuania exchanges litas into euro — even burnt (if still slightly intact), rotten, torn or otherwise (unintentionally) damaged money is exchanged. When in doubt whether the currency unit is genuine, it should be taken to the Bank of Lithuania. However, the Bank of Lithuania does not exchange deliberately damaged money or coins damaged during a process which can reasonably be considered as having a coin changing effect (e.g. ‘fountain coins’, coins used to make pieces of jewellery). Replacement of a banknote is also impossible where less than 50 per cent of it remains.
– Settlement with collector coins is also possible, but only in their country of issue and at face value (which, of course, is not worthwhile, as the value of collector coins is usually far above their face value).
– Private banks often fit ink capsules into automated teller machines. In case of theft, the capsule bursts and stains all the banknotes within the ATM. The properties of inks enable to reach even well-pressed banknotes, while such banknotes are stained on either side, i.e. the same stain is visible both on the obverse and reverse; in this respect, these stains are different from other ones. Upon receipt of such a banknote, it must be taken to the Bank of Lithuania for examination.