The International Bank Note Society (IBNS) announces that its voting membership has selected the Banco de Mexico to receive its annual prestigious “Bank Note of the Year Award” for 2020. With well over 100 new banknotes released worldwide during 2020, only 24 were deemed of sufficiently new design to be member nominated. Almost from the start, Mexico’s new 100 Peso polymer bill widely led the voting followed by Scotland’s Royal Bank of Scotland 20 Pound entry (Kate Cranston tea room/squirrels). There was a virtual tie for third place between Northern Ireland’s Ulster Bank (20 Pound flora/street musicians), the Bahamas (5 Dollar statesman/junkanoo dancer) and Fiji (50 Dollar 50th Anniversary of Independence). Rounding out the top seven vote getters were the Bank of England (20 Pound Queen/J.M.W. Turner with painting) and Scotland’s Clydesdale Bank (20 Pound Robert the Bruce/St. Kilda).
Now in its 60th year, the IBNS has approximately 2000 members worldwide. As a nonprofit educational organization its objectives are to promote, stimulate and advance the study, collection and dissemination of information related to paper money. From all significant newly designed and widely circulated banknotes released in 2020, the IBNS membership nominated notes from 22 different countries to place on the ballot. Nominees represented 5 continents (Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and South America), Central America, 3 island nations, 2 of which are in the Caribbean, and the Middle East. Past “Bank Note of the Year” winners include Aruba (2019), Canada (2018), Switzerland (2017 & 2016), New Zealand (2015), Trinidad & Tobago (2014), Kazakhstan (2013, 2012, 2011), Uganda (2010), Bermuda (2009), Samoa (2008), Bank of Scotland (2007), Comoros (2006), Faeroe Islands (2005) and Canada (2004).
The Banco de Mexico was both the printer and issuer of this award-winning design banknote, which is part of the bank’s current G Series introduced in 2018. The vertical format note is printed on polymer and features one of Mexico’s national heroines and poet/writer Sor Juana Indes de la Cruz. The reverse “piece de resistance” image features a temperate forest ecosystem which is known worldwide as the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve. The design continues to highlight Mexican cultural and historic characteristics with new graphic motifs. Produced by the Banco de Mexico’s new printing complex located in Jalisco, which began operation just before the coronavirus pandemic, the banknote has significantly improved security features which coordinate the transition to a polymer substrate. Polymer banknotes continue to be popular IBNS favorites.
As a first-time winner of the IBNS Bank Note of the Year competition, Mexico’s award-winning entry may provide a template as other countries reconsider how they design and promote new banknotes. The Mexico successful design in eye-pleasing red combines Hispanic architecture, a famous female Hispanic literary figure and a tribute to the world’s fragile ecosystem. The 100 Peso note is slightly narrower than a 20 Euro note and slightly shorter than U.S. greenbacks. The current exchange value of 100 pesos is USD $4.92 or 4.18 Euros as of the date of this announcement.
The IBNS is open to membership from interested persons in any country. Details concerning all IBNS activities are available at www.theibns.org.