Now in its 54th year, the IBNS has over 2000 members worldwide. As a nonprofit educational organization its objectives are to promote, stimulate and advance the study, collection and dissemination of information related to paper money. From all significantly newly designed and widely circulated banknotes released in 2014, the IBNS membership nominated notes from 12 different countries to place on the ballot. Nominees represented three continents (Europe, Asia & Africa), the Middle East, and 4 island nations (2 in the Americas). Past “Bank Note of the Year” winners include Kazakhstan (2013, 2012, 2011), Uganda (2010), Bermuda (2009), Samoa (2008), Scotland (2007), Comoros (2006), Faeroe Islands (2005) and Canada (2004).
The 2014 winning banknote was produced collaboratively by the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago and De La Rue Currency of England. It is the first Central Bank in the Caribbean to issue polymer currency. While the 50 Dollar award-winning bill fittingly commemorates the Central Bank’s Golden Anniversary, “it is meant to be used for all your purchases, like you would any other money.” The note is virtually identical in size to United States bills with a face value of almost 8 U.S. Dollars, 7 Euros or 5 British Pounds at early May 2015 exchange rates.
The stunning design, predominantly gold in color, interprets an artist’s rendering of a red hibiscus flower and truly striking image of a red capped cardinal bird in flight against the clear transparent polymer plastic window. The back of the note features a young female masquerader in an award-winning Carnival costume along with the Central Bank building. Modern polymer banknotes have enjoyed increasing popularity since their introduction in 1988. They offer durability as well as enhanced security features and have become a favorite of many collectors.