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There's a new fiver in town

The euro banknotes are being modernised. Starting with the five euro note, which was released earlier this month to...

...resounding silence. No fanfare. No "check out this cool new banknote".

We first discovered it when the supermarket gave it to us in change. Before we left the premises I fired up the ECB website to check that this was a real banknote (although if it was a fake, it was a fake that surpassed the original). Wasn't just me. The automatic checkouts spit the note back out, and in town we played the lottery with it because two other shops said "what the hell is this?" and handed it back. I have a subscription to Ouest-France newspaper Monday through Saturday and mom tells me there was nothing about this (unless perhaps it was buried in the sports section?).

So here is the new five euro note, so when you are in Europe, you can be aware that this is a real banknote...

The side with the gate:

New five Euro note
The copyright message is automatic - the design of the banknote is actually © 2013 European Central Bank.

And here's the side with the bridge:

New five Euro note
The copyright message is automatic - the design of the banknote is actually © 2013 European Central Bank.

There are a number of new security features, here are a few:

  • Do you see the short diagonal lines on the edges of the gate side of the note? Those are raised up and very very evident.
  • The metallic/holographic stuff down the gate side is insanely complicated.
  • Under UV light a lot of stuff not only looks slightly different, but it's in different colours too. Cool huh?
  • The map on the gate side has been extended to include eastern Europe, plus the French overseas departments (which are technically part of France, hence part of Europe).
  • The word "EURO" is now written not only in Greek but also Cyrillic (Bulgaria).
  • The copyright notice (left side of the gate side) is written in nine different ways for the different ways this is done in the various member states.

It's a pretty awesome looking banknote. For comparison, I have a one dollar bill (USD) which has barely changed since 1957...


Sometimes technology tries to be too damn clever

My printer, a Brother DCP-165C, refused to scan the banknote. It would sort of half-scan the new note before aborting, but attempting to scan the original resulted in either an aborted scan, or a peculiarly blank place where the note should have been. Using crazy backdrops didn't help. Even moving the notes during the scan wasn't enough to fool the printer.

The way I scanned the new note was, since I was able to see it on the prescan preview, I told the scanner to give me little strips, which I pasted together in my graphics program. There is no "older note" for comparison because that wouldn't even show up on preview.

The printer had no qualms about photocopying the banknote. However, suckered again, for it deliberately threw off the alignment:

Attempting to photocopy a banknote

To add insult to injury, it refused to scan the subsequently messed up copy". What you see is another strip-paste job. I wonder what the printer "sees" when it looks at a banknote?

There is, of course, a smile to be derived from this - for the printer does not appear to be at all concerned about a dollar bill, but then, I suppose anti-fraud technologies really ought to only concern themselves with real currencies... :-P

Copying a dollar? No problems!


Disclaimer for the paranoid: No dollar was copied in its entirely, and what the hell do you think I'd be able to do with a dollar (real or fake) on this side of the Atlantic in a rural community? As for the Euro note, serial number munged, blatant message across it, and scaled down sufficiently that any attempts to print it will look horrid. In short, these banknotes are for illustrative purposes only. And, ECB, it wouldn't be necessary if you made a bigger deal about the introduction of greatly redesigned currency... Better luck for the introduction of the new €10, eh?


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Rob, 5th June 2013, 16:22
I gather there's a particular pattern of stars on the banknote that stops scanners, erm, scanning. They exist on British Pound notes too...
Rob, 5th June 2013, 16:27
Ajay, 23rd June 2013, 00:16
Anyone knows which scanner or printer to make pound notes bec I got hp it says rules  
Do anyone have a idea?? 
Rick, 25th June 2013, 20:45
Are you trolling Ajay? You *CANNOT* make a convincing banknote on a domestic printer. Feel free to try, but note that real currency uses special (linen?) paper, there are holograms, metallic strips, and other features that cannot be reproduced on domestic hardware designed to make it near impossible to fake up banknotes. Try looking at a banknote under UV light, then look at a printed version. 
I think printed currency might be useful as a stage prop in theatre or a home movie, but for real life? It won't work an it isn't worth you even bothering to try. Oh, and the penalties of being caught *using* fake currency are severe.

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