New banknotes to be released — six years late
The Swiss National Bank (SNB) plans to introduce the first of its new high-tech banknotes in April next year — six years later than initially planned after reported technical problems with its paper supplier.
The new 50-franc banknote will be released next year followed by the 20-franc note in 2017, the central bank said in a statement on Friday.
The ten-franc, 100-franc, 200-franc and 1,000-franc bills will be subsequently issued at half-yearly or yearly intervals until 2019, the SNB said.
They will mark the ninth series of banknotes to be issued by the SNB since it started producing banknotes for Switzerland in 1907.
But the latest series has encountered problems and repeated delays since a 2005 competition to design the new money, designed with the latest security features to deter counterfeiting.
The winning designs featuring blood cells and embryos, by artist Manuel Krebs, was ultimately abandoned by the SNB after public opposition.
Designs by Zurich graphic artist Manuela Pfrunder, the second place winner of the competition, were finally adopted.
Unlike the current banknotes, Pfrunder's designs do not feature images of famous Swiss people.
The 50-franc note shows a mountain and figures who appear to be hiking on one side with an image of the sun on the reverse side.
Skiers slaloming through a race course are on the ten-franc note but human figures are largely absent from designs for the other notes that include representations of a butterfly, snow crystals and wavy lines plotted by a graph.
After Pfrunder's designs were decided upon, Orell Füssli, the Zurich-based printer for the central bank, reportedly encountered technical problems with its supply of paper, which must be capable of incorporating the new security features.
The exact nature of the features will be disclosed when the first 50-franc denomination is put into circulation next year.
The SNB said the new notes are designed to last at least 15 years.
It emphasized that the current series of banknotes put into circulation between 1995 and 1998, remain secure and can continue to be produced in the quantities needed.
Indeed, according to a 2011 report from the University of Lausanne, Swiss banknotes remained far less likely to be counterfeited than the euro, the US dollar or the British pound.
The report, citing information from central banks, said the ratio of counterfeited banknotes was about one in 100,000 real banknotes for the Swiss franc.
The is compares with ratios of one in 20,000 for the euro, one in 10,000 for the dollar and one in 3,333 for the pound.