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Australia's new polymer $5 banknote has been recognised in industry awards dedicated to excellence in security printing.

Reconnaissance, the organisers of High Security Printing Asia, revealed the 2016 winner of the Regional Banknote of the Year at a special ceremony during the conference in Singapore on 6 December 2016. Special achievement awards were also made for two souvenir notes, the China Aerospace Commemorative 100 Yuan and Vietnam’s Commemorative 100 Dong.

The awards recognise outstanding achievement in the design, technical sophistication and security of a banknote or banknote series, the key judging criteria being that successful banknotes should combine visual artistry and high levels of technical and security sophistication, with considerable emphasis placed on reflecting the cultural heritage of the issuing country in the note, and the relevance of the overall design and symbolism to the issuing country.

Winner: New Australian $5

The best banknote award was made to the Reserve Bank of Australia for its new polymer A$5 note. This is the first note to be redesigned in the country for over twenty years and the other denominations will be replaced in the next few years. The note is printed on a clear Guardian substrate from Innovia Security.

The award winning Australian $5 banknote
The award winning Australian $5 banknote

The new banknote incorporates a range of cutting-edge security features that have not previously been used on Australian banknotes. Most notably, the A$5 is the first circulating note in the world to feature a clear edge-to-edge window. This partially demetalised top-to-bottom holographic window feature contains a number of dynamic diffractive foil elements, produced by KURZ. These elements are visible on both sides of the banknote and change as the banknote is tilted.

The design of the banknote incorporates a species of wattle and a native Australian bird. When the banknote is tilted diagonally, a SPARK patch in the shape of the Eastern Spinebill shows the different poses of the bird progressively highlighted, making it look as if it is flying. In the centre of the window another bird is depicted sitting on a branch.

The new note also includes a ‘tactile’ feature to assist people with vision impairments, following extensive research into whether an effective and durable marking could be included on Australian notes.

The launch of the new banknote was supported by an information campaign so that the public is able to identify the new banknote and its security features. This includes an updated website (, a new mobile app, and an adverting campaign to raise public awareness. The app was developed as an interactive tool to explore all current Australian banknotes, including the new $5 banknote – and enables users to learn about banknote design and security features, and how to handle counterfeit and damaged banknotes.

Special Achievement Award: China Aerospace Commemorative 100 Yuan

In addition to the regional banknote award, The People’s Bank of China has been given a Special Achievement Award for a commemorative note celebrating China’s aerospace science and technology. The note was produced by China Banknote Printing and Minting Corporation using its unique simultaneous double-sided intaglio printing technology.


The front of the 100-yuan note features the Shenzhou-9 manned spacecraft docking with China’s first space lab, Tiangong-1, in a mission which included China’s first female taikonaut, Liu Yang. Also featured is Dongfanghong-1, China’s first satellite that was launched in 1970, and Chang’e-1, the country’s first lunar orbiter that circled the moon from 2007 to 2009.

The design on the back of the note runs vertically and illustrates the history of Chinese flight from birds, biplanes and jumbo jets through to Shenzhou 9, Chang’e 1 and the planned Tiangong-1 space station to be launched in 2020.

100 million of the 100-yuan bills were produced – which was issued alongside a commemorative 10-yuan coin. The banknote also features a colour shift windowed thread and SPARK Origin in the shape of the Dongfanhong-1 satellite.

The award was collected by Mr Leye Gu and Ms Tianyi Chen from CBPM – Kexin Banking Technology.

Special Achievement Award: Commemorative 100 Dong

The central bank of Vietnam, the State Bank of Vietnam, has also been awarded a special achievement award for the issue of a commemorative banknote printed to mark the 65th anniversary of the State Bank and the country’s banking sector.


The souvenir banknotes were manufactured by the National Banknote Printing Plant in Vietnam, with the support of Arjowiggins Security, Crane Currency, SCIPA and KBA-NotaSys.

The new note features a DIAMONE composite substrate (developed by Arjowiggins Security) which uses a blend of synthetic and cotton fibres. The note also features a RAPID motion security thread (from Crane Currency), an embedded lotus flower watermark and a SPARK dynamic colour shifting ink security feature (from SICPA) in the shape of the number ’65’.

The design of the note also features a portrait of former president, Ho Chi Minh as well as a stylised depiction of the currency used in ancient Vietnam representing the nation’s monetary sovereignty. Other features include the Bank’s building in Hanoi, Thanh Giong (a mythical folk hero) and patterns found on the Ngoc Lu Bronze drum, an artefact from the country’s Bronze Age.

The award was collected by Ms Uyen Thi To Nguyen and Ms Ha Thi Thanh Bui from the State Bank of Vietnam.

Images from the awards ceremony in Singapore


Note to Editors:
Reconnaissance International is the leading global source of technical and business intelligence for secure documents, personal identification, authentication and anti-counterfeiting, tax stamps and currency. Its activities cover the production of five industry-specific monthly newsletters, conferences and seminars, selected directories and industry reports, as well as strategic consulting for governments and businesses.

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