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Fiji Introduces New Notes, Coins
By Kerry Rodgers, Bank Note Reporter
April 03, 2013

This article was originally printed in Bank Note Reporter.
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On 12.12.12 the Reserve Bank of Fiji formally launched its new coins and bank notes. The intention to introduce a totally revised currency for the country had been signaled by the government early in 2010 following an extensive review of Fiji’s requirements by the RBF.

As with the new coins, the bank notes will be the first in 78 years not to show an effigy of a British monarch - apart from some World War II emergency issues. Queen Elizabeth’s place has been supplanted by images of the country’s indigenous fauna and flora.

Importantly for collectors a $2 coin replaces the former bank note (P-109) while the $5 note will be printed on polymer for the first time.

The new notes were printed by De La Rue Currency whose representatives attended the official launch undertaken by Fiji’s President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau. In his address the President stressed, “The design and technical changes made by the Reserve Bank are significant and bold and, I understand, are on par with anything at the international level.”

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The governor of Reserve Bank of Fiji, Barry Whiteside, outlined the process leading to the designs and security features of the new notes. He also announced that the public would get their hands on the new currency for the first time on Jan. 2. They will circulate alongside the old issues with the intention of phasing out the latter by December 2013.

Apart from replacing the effigy of the queen with pictures of Fiji’s flora and fauna, the designs of new notes closely resemble those they are replacing, P 110-114, presumably to aid recognition and acceptance. The face designs and general layout of both are very similar.

The vignettes of different Fijian cultural artifacts that occupied the lower face left are still there, while the designs of the backs are essentially the same, based on paintings by George Bennett. One difference occurs on the back of the $100. The vignette of the three smiling Fijians has been enlarged to occupy some of the space formerly filled by the optical security feature that is no longer present.

One major difference occurs in the color of the new $5. It is green whereas the former $5, P-111, was brown. However, the former $2 that is being dispensed with was green.

Security features vary from denomination to denomination but all retain the see-through feature seen on previous issues. When held against the light the empty circle inside the double horns of the tagaga, outrigger masthead that is the logo of the RBF, on each note’s face lines up with a six-armed asterisk on the note’s back.

The $5 polymer is the sole note to have a clear window. It displays an image of an i-Taukei (indigenous Fijian).

The $10, $20, $50 and $100 all show a watermark and security threads. When viewed normally the thread is seen as a series of metallic dashes. When held against the light it shows the letters “RBF” and the tagaga logo, plus the denomination. And all four higher denominations show the hidden text “FIJI” when tilted at an angle and viewed obliquely.

The $10 features a foil overprinted with a star. When tilted movement can be seen within the star.

The $20 is the one note with a hologram. It shows the petrel, Kacau ni Gau, pictured on the note’s face, the letters “RBF,” the tagaga logo and the numeral 20, all in different colors when viewed at different angles.

Both the $50 and $100 have holographic bands embedded in their faces. These also contain the letters “RBF,” the tagaga logo and the denomination numeral, as well as Fiji’s coat of arms and the appropriate flora/fauna design. These images also appear in different colors when examined at different angles. In addition, the $100 possesses a 4mm thread that changes from red to green when titled.

All the higher denomination notes have raised intaglio-printed bars on their face at center right edge and center left edge. These crackle when the note is folded and the two printed edges rubbed together. Otherwise standard raised intaglio printing is used on the face of all paper-printed notes.

Replacement notes with serial numbers prefixed ZA occur for all denominations. All notes are signed by Whiteside.

Collector sets of notes are available. Selected serial number bank note sets can be tendered for. Keep an eye of the RBF website for announcements: www.reservebank.gov.fj or email info@rbf.gov.fj. The two-hour launch ceremony can be viewed at: http://itv.connect.com.fj.



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