ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, October 22, 2006
Vol. 41 - No 21

New note in your wallet!

Higher denomination currency after 25 years

By Dr. Kavan Ratnatunga

A Rs. 2000 currency note, the first higher denomination note after over 25 years was issued into circulation by the Central Bank on October 17. The same denomination was issued as a commemorative coin five months ago.

Printed just before the presidential election in 2005, without a final decision on their release, the notes were kept in the Bank vault for almost one year. Normally, stocks are held without date and signature, which are printed last when needed. Dated 2005.11.02, the Rs. 2000 note carries the signatures of former Minister of Finance, Dr. Sarath Amunugama and former Governor of the Central Bank, Sunil Mendis.

The new Rs. 2000 note features images from Sigiriya, and is predominantly lighter rose and brown in colour. A Sigiriya fresco reappears on the currency note; It was last used on the Rs. 100 notes from 1952 to 1969. The theme and colour is the same as the pictorial Rs. 2 note first issued in 1941-02-01 with a portrait of King George VI.

Measuring 164 x 82 mm which is 10 mm longer and 4 mm wider than the current Rs. 1000 currency note, the Rs. 2000 note is slightly longer than expected since all higher denomination notes are 6 mm longer and 4 mm wider than their immediately lower denomination. However, being exactly twice as long as it is wide, it will stack better and probably just fit into most wallets without an extra fold on top.

The risk of forgery is a major drawback with high denomination currency notes. With modern computer technology, forgeries of the Rs. 1000 and Rs. 500 notes may go unnoticed by the public in a bundle of notes, although easily identified by closer inspection of the security features. This is the reason for the elaborate designs and intaglio printing on currency notes.

The Rs. 2000 note contains several new advanced security features.

The 4 mm. wide Starchrometh with 'gaps' is on the front of the bank note, while its colour will change from red to green when the note is tilted with clear text showing Rs 2000, butterfly motif and SRI LANKA. The mirror image of this text also appears along the band with the start of sequence and the six broken segments located randomly. A vertical gold band with a repeated lotus motif is printed on the back of the note.

A watermark representing the Heraldic Lion in the National Flag of Sri Lanka with highlighted sword is a see through feature. CornerstoneTM a specific watermark feature can be seen as diagonal bars at four corners of the bank note when the note is held up to the light.

Micro lettering 0.25 mm in height with the repeated text banner SRI LANKA CENTRAL BANK in Sinhala, Tamil, and English is printed on both sides.

The fluorescent printing incorporated in this note can be viewed under Ultra-Violet (UV) light. As is standard for this series, the denomination 2000 within box appears to the left of the metallic strip. The large dull green and orange circular motif behind the 'Sesatha' glows with a beautiful bright yellow and red. To assist the visually impaired, 20 tactile bars have been incorporated in the front, left and right hand centre edges of the note that can be rubbed for texture feel. The strengthened corners feel like plastic in the front.

It will be a few months before Bank ATMs issue the new Rs. 2000 currency note.

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Copyright 2006 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.