The Best in Banknotes and ID Documents in EMEA 2022

14 June 2022

Regional Banknotes of the Year

The regional Banknote of the Year Award recognises outstanding achievement in the design, technical sophistication and security of a banknote or banknote series, with emphasis placed on reflecting the cultural heritage of the issuing country in the note, and the relevance of the overall design and symbolism.

There are three categories for the Banknote awards – Best New Series, Best New Banknote and Best New Commemorative Banknote – with Malawi, Oman and Poland all receiving recognition this year.

Best New Banknote Series

The winner of the best new series was the Central Bank of Oman, for the new banknotes launched to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Modern Omani Renaissance. The central bank is recognised as always having been at the forefront of adopting new banknote security features and the new series was no exception.

The design contract was awarded to Oberthur Fiduciaire, and production was split with Giesecke + Devrient. Oberthur Fiduciaire provided the substrate for the three lower denominations and Louisenthal for the four higher ones. The first in the series, the 50 rial, was issued in mid 2020, and the remaining six denominations in early 2021.

The main overt feature on the four highest denominations (the 50, 20, 10 and 5 rials) is varifeye® ColourChange Patch, comprising a foil patch with micro-mirror and colour changing technology over a window. They also feature 4mm RollingStar® security threads and SICPA’s SPARK® Live, with a colour shift matching the thread.

The 1 rial, meanwhile, was the world’s first banknote to feature Oberthur Fiduciaire’s Pulsar™ thread, a combination of movement and colour shift.  The ½ rial and 100 baisa contain an embedded 1.2mm Combifluo™ thread with alternations of fluorescent colour son the front and back, creating a third fluorescent colour when illuminated from behind.

All seven notes are printed with Avalon Tri Fluo™, another first from Oberthur for circulating banknotes, and coated with Ultra™, a reinforced post print varnish with additional water and oil resistant properties.    In addition, Oberthur’s  Highlink™  strengthening agent was added to the three lower denominations to further improve their performance in circulation.

Best New Banknote

The Reserve Bank of Malawi picked up the award for Best New Banknote for the 5,000 kwacha. This is a new high denomination, introduced in February 2022 to meet the changing economic landscape and  also the need for increased security for higher denominations. 

The portrait is of the first President of Malawi, Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda. The main security features are the Micromirror LEAD foil™ and Galaxy ™ security thread from Louisenthal, and SICPA’s SPARK live™ in the shape of a fish, with similar dynamics and colour shift as the Galaxy thread.

The note, which was printed by Giesecke+Devrient, has a host other features, including the watermark of Dr Hastings Banda and the number 5,000 below the portrait, a Gemini™ UV feature and a double box design on the front to assist with recognition by the visually impaired.

Best New Commemorative Banknote

The winner of the Best Commemorative Banknote was Narodowy Bank Polski (National Bank of Poland), for the 20 zloty collectors banknote entitled ‘Is It Worth Being a Pole?’ issued in November 2021 to commemorate Prof Lech Kaczyński, former President of the Republic of Poland.

Prof Kaczyński was president from 2005 to 2010, when he was killed in a plane crash,  along with 95 others, en route to a ceremony in Smolensk, Russia to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Katyń massacre.

80,000 notes were printed by PWPW. The front features a portrait of Prof Kaczyński, an image of the Order of the White Eagle, and an image of the Presidential Palace in Warsaw, while on the back are images of strikers from the trade union movement Solidarity in the Gdańsk shipyard in the 1980s (which was instrumental in bringing about the end of Communist rule), and a view of the Polish War Cemetery in Katyń.

The note is secured with a KURZ THREAD, a windowed-security thread with proprietary KINEGRAM COLORS® structures, which is vertically divided into two colours and embedded into the substrate. This is the first legal tender banknote to feature a KINEGRAM thread. 

Regional ID Documents of the Year

The Regional ID Document awards, meanwhile, recognise outstanding achievement and technical sophistication of a personal identification or travel document programme. The awards are designed to promote the best in system infrastructure and implementation of a government passport, identity or other secure identification scheme.

There are three categories in the ID section as well – for Best New Passport, Best New National ID Card and Best New ID or Travel Document. Uganda, Lithuania, Morocco and Belgium were the winners this year.

Best New Passport

The winner in this category was the new Belgian ePassport.

ID & Secure Document News has followed the development of this winning nomination since the announcement of the renewal of the ePassport contract in 2020

After the presentation on best practice given at the HSP EMEA conference in Lisbon in 2020 – just before travel restrictions started across the world –   there was some anticipation as to what would come out of the two main concepts for the new ePassport – to combine an original typically national design with enhanced security.

With the launch of the new passport and travel documents for non-nationals in February of this year the wait was over.

The use of comic strips, also known as the 9th Art, combined with the enhanced security features has resulted into what can only be described as an audacious design of a highly secure document.

The passport and the travel document share the same design and security features, so the HSP award was made to the Zetes-Thales consortium and the Belgian Federal Public Service Foreign Affairs department.

Best New National ID Card

The quality of entries for the Best New National ID Card were sufficiently high to merit two awards being made.

The first award in this category went to IDEMIA and the General Directorate of National Security for the new Morocco national eID card, which is the foundation of thecountry’s new national digital ID platform that was launched in April of this year.

Made from polycarbonate, the eID card has a main colour portrait engraved using state-of-the art LASINK™ technology and contains a secondary 3D portrait that is easy to authenticate and has tactile relief for enhanced security. The card also includes a hologram of the map of the country which changes colour when the card is rotated at a 90° angle thanks to the use of Optical Variable Ink with dynamic colours.

The second award went to the Service of Technological Security of State Documents under the Ministry of Finance for the new Lithuanian eID card.

What made the card stand out was not only the elegant design, which combines traditional national symbols with modern security features, but also the multi-colour image of a famous historic castle when viewed under UV light.

The polycarbonate-based eID card is secured by KINEGRAM ZERO.ZERO Combi elements that provide changing colours when viewed at different angles, and varying degrees of metallization. The card also makes increased use of special embossing and engraving techniques.

Best New ID or Travel Document

The winning entry in this category – the new Ugandan driving licence – is the product of close cooperation between the suppliers (Veridos and USPC) and the Ministry of Works and Transport of Uganda, and has resulted in a solution that is user-friendly for both licence holders and law enforcers.  It eliminates uncertainties about the document being original, still valid and without endorsements. In turn it helps to reduce the number of unqualified drivers causing deaths on the roads.

The new system has drastically cut the waiting time for a new licence. Authentication is done using biometrics and scanning of licence numbers and renewal alerts are sent to drivers well ahead of their licence expiry date.

The awards were announced at a special ceremony during the HSP EMEA conference dinner on 14 June. The Banknote awards were presented by Astrid Mitchell, Editor of Currency News, and the ID awards by Francis Tuffy, Editor of ID & Secure Document News.