Lonely Planet Writer

Move over Miss Universe – the Banknote of the Year contest will find the best new bill from around the world

Just like the countries they come from, banknotes from around the world are varied and fascinating – and one competition aims to celebrate the best of the best by selecting the top new note released in 2016.

International currencies.
International currencies. Image by Robert Clare/Getty Images

The International Bank Note Society is seeking nominations from its members for the 2016 Banknote of the Year, a competition that recognises the best new bills issued around the world, based on both their artistic merit and security features.

Belarus 100 ruble note.
Belarus 100 ruble note. Image by Banknote News/IBNS

The society has been around since 1961 and has been holding the bank note competition 2004. Nominations are open for the contest until 31 January.

Columbia 50,000 pesos note.
Columbia 50,000 peso note. Image by IBNS

Among this year’s nominees are Colombia’s 50,000-peso bill, which features an image of the celebrated writer Gabriel García Márquez. Perhaps best known for his multi-generational magical-realist novel One Hundred Years of Solitude, the note features an ode to the book in the form of the author depicted in a swarm of butterflies.

Britain’s new £5 note is also in the running, as it depicts an image of Winston Churchill and his famous quote: “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat”. The new plastic polymer bill was created to be more durable and difficult to counterfeit. In a statement on a website for the new bill, Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney says that, “Like Churchill, the new polymer note will stand the test of time”.

Georgia 50 lari note.
Georgia 50 lari note. Image by IBNS

Other nominees come from Australia, Georgia, Argentina, India and many more. Last year, New Zealand took home the top prize for its $5 note, which featured the explorer Edmund Hillary on one side and the country’s yellow-eyed penguin on the back. It beat out bills from places like Sweden, Lebanon and Burundi.