Your $10 Note Now Comes with a Triangle

The Singapore $10 banknote now comes in another variety, with one triangle on its reverse. These polymer notes bear the signature of Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, Chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore. The serial numbers for the one triangle variety begin with 3AA.

As described by the Monetary Authority of Singapore, ‘there may be other shapes, such as circles, stars or triangles’. So far, only the square, triangle and diamond shapes are observed in general circulation. Perhaps this would mean that it would take some time before another series of banknotes is launched. Nevertheless, these symbols certainly created a level of curiosity within collectors.

To date, only the $5 and $10000 denominations remain devoid of the mysterious symbols. The following table summarises the different varieties found for each denomination of Singapore’s banknotes.

The Portrait series of notes was introduced back in 1999. Three different signature varieties have been featured on this series over the past eleven years. They include BCCS Chairman Richard Hu from September 1999, MAS Chairman PM Lee Hsien Loong from May 2004 and MAS Chairman SM Goh Chok Tong from January 2008.


Singapore $50 Banknote with Two Square Dots

And it seems that the Singapore $50 banknote has two square dots on its reverse too, just like the $2, $10, and $100 banknotes. Now, these four denominations come in three different varieties, viz. no dot, one square dot and two square dots. In March, two triangles were spotted on the $1000 banknotes, making the whole pattern even more unpredictable. For any denomination, these symbols are always found beneath the word describing its featured theme.

Scan by Vincent Tan.


National Anthem Lyrics on the $1000 Note

The entire lyrics of the Singapore national anthem are printed on the back of the $1000 Portrait series banknote in microprint. For all other denominations, only the words Majulah Singapura is used.

‘Majulah Singapura’ is Singapore’s national anthem. Written in the official language of Malay, it is translated as ‘Onward Singapore’. The national anthem of Singapore was composed in 1958 by Zubir Said, initially as a theme song for official functions of the City Council of Singapore. Later in 1959, this song was selected as the island’s anthem upon attaining self-government.

Lyrics of the Singapore National Anthem

Mari kita rakyat Singapura
Sama-sama menuju bahagia
Cita-cita kita yang mulia
Berjaya Singapura

Marilah kita bersatu
Dengan semangat yang baru
Semua kita berseru
Majulah Singapura
Majulah Singapura


Two Triangles

Recently, small triangles have appeared on the reverse of the $1000 Singapore banknote, in addition to the square dots spotted on other denominations. This security feature was added in early 2009, but its purpose is not revealed to the public. The two triangles are found below the word ‘Government’ on the reverse. Today, many collectors are still puzzled about the presence of such symbols.

As mentioned in our previous article, ‘there may be other shapes, such as circles, stars or triangles’. My hypothesis remains as such: The symbols represent the year of printing. In January 2009, $10 notes with one square dot appeared in circulation. In October 2009, there were $10 notes with two square dots, $100 notes with one or two square dots and $1000 notes with one square dot. In December 2009, $50 notes with one square dot appeared. In January 2010, $2 notes with two square dots are commonly seen. In February 2010, $1000 notes with two square dots are found circulating.

Based on the above, one square dot may represent the year 2008, two square dots 2009 and two triangles 2010. This is just a guess!

The first prefix for the new $1000 note, signed by Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, Chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, is 2AA.

Scans provided by Vincent Tan.


Beijing 2008 Commemorative Note

A special commemorative banknote was issued by the Bank of China (Hong Kong) a month before the 2008 Beijing Olympics (XXIX Olympiad). A total of four million pieces of HK$20 Olympic banknotes were printed. Since there were multiple-in-one packages, there were only 3.14 million items available for sale, of which 2.93 million of these items were sold in Hong Kong.

The single HK$20 banknote is presented in a blue-purple folder and is sold for HK$138, almost seven times its face value. The 4-in-1 uncut sheets are sold for HK$338, while the 35-in-1 uncut sheets are sold for HK$1388. Queues started two days before the note was made available to the public.

Features on the obverse include a picture of a plinth, the official Beijing Olympics emblem and the Bank of China Tower in Hong Kong. The Olympic Stadium, commonly known as the ‘Bird’s Nest’ is shown on the reverse.

This banknote shares the same colour and size as the 2003 HK$20 note issued by the Bank of China (Hong Kong). However, new security features such as bright-and-highlighted watermarks and colour-changing windowed threads were introduced. The serial number consists of six digits and may include a two-letter prefix. The prefixes include AA, BJ and HK. The remaining 1 million banknotes do not bear a prefix.


Chinese New Year Rush

With less than two weeks left to the Lunar New Year, banks around Singapore (and perhaps other parts of the world) have been flooded with people, mostly to exchange for new notes. The use of new notes for the New Year symbolises a new beginning. Pieces of mint-fresh paper money fill up the red packets and are given out at family gatherings during this festive period. Stocks seem to be depleting quickly at OCBC for the $2, $5 and $10 denominations.

However, queuing up may take some time, especially during lunch hours. At around 3 pm yesterday, long queues were formed in the Serangoon Garden branches of DBS, OCBC and UOB. For example, it took me close to 35 minutes to exchange for new notes at DBS.

To avoid the long queues at local banks, you may wish to try obtaining your new banknotes at banks like Citibank, HSBC, Maybank or Standard Chartered. For example, there were only three other people in queue at HSBC Serangoon Garden when I visited the bank yesterday afternoon. Try visiting areas where different banks are located near one another. My favourite clusters (containing at least 5 banks, within walking distance) include Serangoon Garden, Ang Mo Kio Central and Holland Village.

In addition, $2 notes with two square dots at the back have been spotted. Currently, square dots have appeared on five of the seven denominations: $2, $10, $50, $100 and $1000, of which the notes either contain one, two or no square dots. Square dots have not been spotted on denominations of $5 and $10000 yet.


Latest $50 Banknotes

Since mid December 2009, news of the new $50 paper banknote of the Portrait Series has been spreading, just weeks after the new $100 paper banknotes were introduced. The new banknote carries the signature of Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, Chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore. Similar to other new notes issued from 2007, there is an additional square dot printed below the word ‘Arts’, for security purposes.

As the Lunar New Year is just a few weeks away, remember to check various banks for the new banknotes. Although I have been many ATMs around the country, I have not seen any of the new $50 notes yet. Here’s the new $50 banknote, with the help of Mr Vincent Tan.

Just like the $100 note, the new $50 banknote is still printed on paper. Even though $100 notes are not used frequently in daily transactions, the $50 note certainly is. I am still trying to get a scan of the new $1000 banknote, which can be identified from its serial number, which starts with the digit 1.

When you come across a new note, simply leave a comment below with the serial number and number of square dots on the reverse, or send an SMS to 8260 7772.


New $100 Singapore Banknotes

New $100 paper banknotes have been spotted in Singapore a few days ago, carrying the signature of Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, Chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore. Upon obtaining the note, the first thing which I noticed was the difference in intensity of colour on the new $100 note, in particular the dark brown colour.

New S$100 Singapore Banknotes signed by Goh Chok Tong

On the reverse of the notes, there are two square dots printed below the word ‘Youth’. Check it out for yourself. The next time you reach for a bill, whether in one of your favourite restaurants, at the bank, at a café or florist – take a closer look! There you will notice the tiny details, like the dots. You might even find other symbols. According to the MAS, there may be other symbols found on the note. My current hypothesis is that these dots represent the year of printing. Since January 2008, $10 notes with one square dot were found in circulation. From October 2009, $10 notes contained two square dots. The former is believed to be printed in 2007, while the latter is believed to be printed in 2008 or 2009.

Alternatively, these dots may represent the year in which the notes were introduced into circulation. However, the size of the square dots on the $10 polymer notes is slightly larger than that on the $100 paper notes. Additionally, the distance between the square dots on the $10 polymer notes is less than that on the $100 paper notes. Depending on your interpretation, these two symbols may be considered as different.

Symbols on Reverse of S$100 Singapore Banknotes

For note collectors, the first prefix for the new $100 notes is believed to be 1AA. In order to learn more about the new $100 notes, we really need your help.

When you come across a $100 note, please note down the serial number.

Also, take note of any symbol used at the bottom left corner (see picture). Simply leave a comment below, drop me an email or send me an SMS. This will help us establish a database of serial numbers, as well as their corresponding symbols.

As the Board of Commissioners of Currency, Singapore (BCCS) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) have merged, certain features on the new $100 note have been updated:

  1. The micro-text at the top of the note is updated to ‘Monetary Authority of Singapore’.
  2. The MAS logo and the Singapore Lion symbol are used on the optical variable device (octagonal foil).
  3. When held against light, ‘Singapore 100 Dollars’ is seen in the optical variable device.
  4. The issuing authority, Chairman’s signature and seal have been updated.
  5. The denomination numeral next to the optical variable device is filled with the letters ‘MAS’ in microprint
  6. The text within the lithographic print of the denomination numeral on the right is outlined in green, while the text fill is updated to ‘Monetary Authority of Singapore’.
  7. The logo on the latent image (the olive green patch shaped like a flag) is updated to the MAS logo.

Why are these notes still printed on paper, not polymer? According to the MAS, polymer notes can last three to four times longer than their paper counterparts. In my opinion, $100 notes are not used as frequently in daily transactions. As a result, they have a longer lifespan than the $2 paper notes. As the cost for printing paper banknotes is slightly lower, the use of paper banknotes for the $100 denomination is believed to be more cost-effective.

New $1000 paper notes are also reported to be found in circulation starting with prefix 1AA. If you have scans of the obverse and reverse of the $1000 banknote, please send it to me via email. When the scan appears in one of my future posts, I will include your name right below the scan. Anybody knows if there is a new variety of the $10000 note?


Square Dots on Money

Grab a $10 polymer note. On the reverse of the banknote, you can find the word ‘Sports’ on the bottom-left corner of the note. However, you may notice a square dot or even two below this word, with a length of exactly 1 millimetre. Sorry, this does not work for paper notes!

Ten Dollar Square Dots

Notes with one square dot have been circulating since January 2008. Earlier this month, notes with two square dots entered circulation. If you have not seen them, try withdrawing from selected Automated Teller Machines (ATM). Many collectors remain puzzled about the presence of these dots.

Similarly, if you have $2 polymer notes, there may be a single square dot located below the word ‘Education’ located on the reverse. Every note in a stack of 100 mint banknotes obtained from the bank has the same number of square dots, if any.

According to the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), this is a new security feature which has been introduced recently for the Central Bank to authenticate the note and is not meant for public knowledge. In addition, there may be other shapes, such as circles, stars or triangles.

In my opinion, the serial number may play a part in determining the pattern found on the note. Just like having a suffix after an NRIC number (which can be calculated from the prefix and number) or the last alphabet of a car registration plate (which can be also calculated from the prefix and number), the pattern may be derived from the serial number. However, a larger sample of serial numbers and their corresponding patterns are required to confirm this hypothesis. Each batch of banknotes may have a different pattern.

However, it appears that the prefix alone does not play a part in the pattern. I have two notes with the same prefix but with a different pattern. The note with serial number starting 2GN117 has one dot, while another note with serial number starting 2GN537 has two dots.

These new polymer notes are printed by Orell Füssli Zurich (OFZ), Switzerland.