Bank Note Industry Sees Production Changes
By Richard Giedroyc
Coin and bank note collecting are usually viewed
as two different things, but in today's world
the cold facts are that both circulate
simultaneously and both are considered to be
Adding to this mix are "payment cards"
consisting of credit, debit and smart cards.
There are collectors for these payment cards as
well, but as a hobby it has never been overly
Just as there are continual changes within the
coin producing fraternity there are changes
regarding future bank note production that are
being faced as well. The report "Global Banknote
Industry: An Analysis" released in Dublin,
Ireland, by Research and Markets examines what
this industry is expecting.
One thing of interest in the report is the
expanding opportunities for private industry to
get involved in the bank note producing
industry, this industry having been more of a
secret society in the past. Coins have for some
time not only been struck by privately owned as
well as government mints, but the blanks for
coins have in some instances been struck by
private concerns and sold to government mints.
In the United States, as an example, blanks for
late 18th and early 19th century large cents and
the current silver American Eagle coins have
been produced by outside contractors.
According to a Dec. 10, 2008 Wall Street Journal
newspaper report, "The participation of private
paper mills is still very small as compared to
state-owned mills" regarding supplying security
paper for bank note producing entities.
Elsewhere in the Wall Street Journal article it
states, "Banks are now outsourcing a large part
of the distribution and recycling of cash to
private companies, cash-in-transit or
professional cash handlers or sub-contractors.
In fact, in 2012 the Euro production system is
going to open up for private players completely,
providing a level playing field."
This could get interesting, considering the
number of countries that are now changing from
paper composition bank notes to those more
secure notes composed of plastics or substrate.
If private industry gets involved it could usher
in all sorts of new technology. The privately
owned Pobjoy Mint, for example, has been
instrumental in introducing several new
innovations to coins that began as novelties on
non-circulating legal tender commemoratives, but
were later employed for circulation coinage as
A few of the private concerns that are involved
in bank note production are De La Rue, Fortress
Paper, Giesecke & Devrient (G&D), and Francois
Charles Oberthur Fiduciaire.
Innovations often introduced by private
companies are important. As the Wall Street
Journal article says, "The efforts to make the
bank note secure are not proving very fruitful
as the problem of counterfeiting is growing
globally. Therefore many countries have now
adopted polymer bank notes." If you think
holograms, Braille and color enhancement on
coins is novel, wait until you see what private
bank note producing companies may introduce.
Payment cards are seen as a serious challenge to
the bank note production industry. According to
the Wall Street Journal article, "The growth
payment cards are registering is attractive,
although it's country or region specific, but
people are shifting towards non-cash based
payments and in most countries this is even
For more information on the report see