Banknote themes changing with times

The U.K.-based Central Banking Institute has highlighted the debate in many countries, including Canada, surrounding banknote designs – especially following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

In addition to Bank of England notes, the late monarch is currently shown on 57 denominations from 15 countries, crown dependencies and British Overseas Territories.

The Bank of England’s new notes with the portrait of King Charles III, the late queen’s son, will enter circulation in 2024 with no other design changes; however, other countries, including Australia, have opted against featuring the new king on its future notes.

A March 9 report from Central Banking, which looked at the main themes of 163 banknote issues, found prominent people remain the most popular theme of a note’s face.

“All in all, 59 per cent of the issuers included in their notes such a portrait as the main theme – however, current or former monarchs represented only 14 per cent,” reads the report. “The second most popular theme on the front is a building, monument or landscape with 19 per cent presence followed by flora and fauna with 10 per cent. The rest consists of either abstract, artistic and symbolic or of various societal themes.”

The backs of notes have a different thematic breakdown with the main themes including buildings, monuments and landscapes.

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