Saturday, February 2, 2013

History of Plastic Money

History of Polymer banknotes
History of Plastic Money started in 1967 when Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) found fake Australia $10 dollar banknote in circulation. They were concerned about an increase in counterfeiting with the release of colour photocopiers that year. In 1968 the RBA started collaborations with The Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and The University of Melbourne. Funds were made available in 1969 for the experimental production of distinctive papers.

Plastic Money

In 1955, Tyvek was first discovered by DuPont researcher Jim White who saw polyethylene fluff coming out of a pipe in a DuPont experimental lab. It was trademarked in 1965 and was first introduced for commercial purposes in April 1967. Tyvek is a nonwoven product consisting of spunbond olefin fiber.

In 1980, American Bank Note Company (ABNC) had the contract to produce paper notes for Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras and Venezuela. In the early 1980's ABNC joined forces with Dupont to produce sample or specimen Tvyek banknotes for these countries.

Tyvek did not perform well in trials; smudging of ink and fragility were reported as problems. Only Costa Rica and Haiti issued Tyvek banknotes; Haiti in 1982 and Costa Rica with notes dated 28.06.1983. Trial notes were produced for Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras and Venezuela but never placed in circulation. Additionally, English printers Bradbury Wilkinson produced a version on Tyvek but marketed as Bradvek for the Isle of Man in 1983; however, they are no longer produced because the company was sold.

Today, all Haiti Tyvek banknotes are scarce and their prices skyrocket each years as they were the first Tyvek banknotes issued by any country.

In 1972, insertion of an optically variable device (OVD) created from diffraction gratings in plastic as a security device inserted in banknotes was proposed. The first patent arising from the development of polymer banknotes was filed in 1973. In 1974 the technique of lamination was used to combine materials; the all-plastic laminate eventually chosen was a clear, BOPP laminate, in which OVDs could be inserted without needing to punch holes.

In 1988, Note Printing Australia (NPA) produced Australia first Polymer plastic note for the Australian Bi-Centennial in 1988. The first issues did not have sufficient bonding and the Captain Cook OVD was easily removed. The technique was modified later on with additional layers of bonding which held the printing.

Polymer banknotes history in Malaysia

Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) only issued Malaysia first polymer banknote in 1998 with RM50 1998 Commonwealth Games Polymer banknote (RM50 SUKOM 98). some non-collector bloggers posted in their blog last year, Malaysia RM50 1998 Commonwealth Games Polymer banknote (RM50 SUKOM 98) as a new 50 ringgit banknote for 2012; you can read more about it here; New 50 ringgit this year?.

RM5 polymer
On 26 October 2004, Bank Negara Malaysia start to issued Malaysia RM5 polymer banknotes, Malaysia first polymer banknotes in circulation. 80 million pieces of RM 5 polymer banknotes were produced for the first batch of the note. In February 2011, a former Bank Negara Malaysia assistant governor Datuk Mohamad Daud Dol Moin, 58, has claimed trial at a Sessions Court in Kuala Lumpur yesterday, for accepting RM100,000 bribe from, to secure a contract for printing a RM5 polymer notes by Note Printing Australia Ltd. You can read more about it in; Securency case in Malaysia.


Last year, BNM introduced new Malaysia banknote with 2 new Polymer banknotes design; RM1 and RM5 banknotes. Themed 'Distinctively Malaysia', the fourth series of Malaysian banknotes features traditional expressions in the art and craft, natural wonders, flora and fauna, economy and tradition. The new Malaysia 5 ringgit polymer banknote has been nominate for Banknote of 2012 award organize by International Bank Note Society (IBNS).

At least seven countries have converted fully to polymer banknotes and join in the history of Plastic Money: Australia, Bermuda, Brunei, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Romania and Vietnam. Other countries and regions with notes printed on Guardian polymer in circulation include: Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Dominican Republic, Hong Kong (for a 2-year trial), Indonesia, Israel, Malaysia, Mexico, Nepal, Nigeria, Solomon Islands (no longer issued), Sri Lanka, Thailand, Samoa, Singapore and Zambia. Countries and regions that have issued commemorative banknotes (which are not in circulation) on Guardian polymer include: China, Taiwan, Kuwait, Northern Ireland and Singapore.

Source: Wikipedia.