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The New Tenner

  • The New Tenner

Uglier, but much safer

You might notice a new blue and gold addition to your wallet in the next few weeks as the Reserve Bank of Australia releases the new A$10 note into circulation.

The new series of Australian banknotes are not a designer’s dream but they are the strongest yet in terms of preventing counterfeiting.

The first of its kind polymer note was introduced by the Reserve Bank of Australia in July 1992.

This A$5 banknote was arguably the most secure banknote in circulation anywhere in the world. But in the intervening 25 years banknote security technology, for both polymer and paper banknotes, has improved and Australia’s first polymer notes were no longer world leading.

These new notes take us back to being a world leader in this technology or at least equal to the new £10 “Jane Austin” banknote released recently by the Bank of England.

The next new banknote to be released will be the A$50, planned for 2018 and the A$20 and A$100 in later years.

The new A$50 banknote will be particularly important since, in 2016, nearly 84% of our counterfeit notes are of that denomination.

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The new banknotes retain all of the security features of the first series of polymer banknotes, but with some new additions.

The A$10 note is still printed on the same polymer material, has a clear window and has micro-printed verses from the poems of Banjo Paterson and Mary Gilmore. All polymer banknotes internationally have these two features as neither can be reproduced on paper copying machines.

Both the new A$5 and A$10 banknotes include a top to bottom clear area with a number of devices that change colour when moved or when exposed to different light sources. These are called “optically variable devices”.

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These are similar to the original 1988 A$10 commemorative banknote that had a diffraction grating, fine metal lines that when exposed to the light change colour, depicting Captain Cook. The devices in the new banknotes are like this but use more robust technology.

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The new notes also have a tactile feature to assist vision impaired users. The A$5 note has one raised dot on the top left hand area and another on the bottom central area. The A$10 banknote has two raised dots. These first appeared on the Canadian polymer banknotes in 2011 and are also on the new Bank of England notes.

Another new feature on both the A$5 and A$10 banknotes is that the serial number and the year of printing fluoresce under UV light. This is quite common technology because its used in paper notes as well.

Tom Spurling, Swinburne University of Technology and David Solomon, University of Melbourne

Tom Spurling, Professor of Innovation Studies, Swinburne University of Technology and David Solomon, Professorial Fellow in Engineering, University of Melbourne

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.