Bahamas 20-dollar note mystery uncovered

In preparing the Bahamas chapter of The Banknote Book for publication next week, I discovered a mystery regarding the $20 note issued in the early 1990s.

The last $20 note featuring Queen Elizabeth on front was introduced in 1984. This is Pick 47.

In the early 1990s, Milo Butler's portrait replaced QEII on the front of the $20, though the law date remains 1974. This note is Pick 54.

The subsequent $20 features revised color schemes, the series year 1997, and horizontal novel serial numbers. This note is Pick 65.

The mystery revolves around the harbor scene on the back of these notes.

On the P47 note, Nassau Harbour is depicted from one angle, without Paradise Island visible. This is the "old" scene.

On the P65 note, the angle of the scene is different, and both Nassau Harbour and Paradise Island are visible and labeled. This is the "new" scene.

It appears that both the old and new scenes were used on P54. The note depicted in the SCWPM bears a serial number of A 163107 and has a "new" scene on back similar (not identical) to that of P65. However, I have scans of a note with serial number A 573516, but the back is similar (not identical) to the "old" scene on P47. I also have scans with later prefixes and serial numbers that show the "new" scene like P65.

So, based upon the limited evidence on hand, it appears that the early $20 notes featuring Bulter's portrait had the new harbor scene, then a batch was produced with the old scene, then the back reverted to the new scene.

In the interest of trying to narrow down when the changes to the back took place, I ask that anyone who owns a Bulter $20 note with law date of 1974 please send front/back scans to

Back of Pick 47 with "old" harbor scene

Back of Pick 54 with "old" harbor scene

Back of Pick 54 with "new" harbor scene

Back of Pick 65 with "new" harbor scene