Switzerland’s 10-franc bill was named best banknote of 2017, edging out money from Scotland, Canada, Fiji, Norway and Djibouti to give the Swiss National Bank its second consecutive win.
The first notes of the SNB’s new series were issued in 2016 and feature motifs from industry and nature rather than portraits of famous individuals. The winning bill, depicting watch movements and a railway tunnel, debuted last October.
Of the more than 170 new banknotes released worldwide in 2017, almost a third were considered in the contest, according to the International Bank Note Society, whose objective is to advance the study of paper money.
In what the IBNS termed “the closest vote ever,” the Swiss bill prevailed over the Royal Bank of Scotland’s 10 pounds featuring a portrait of astronomer Mary Somerville and Djibouti’s 40 francs that depicts a whale shark swimming among corals.
Cash remains popular for payments in Switzerland, despite the wide availability of credit and debit cards. That’s one reason why the SNB has stood by its top denomination bill, which has a face value of 1,000 francs, despite critics such as Harvard Professor Kenneth Rogoff saying countries should scrap big bills to thwart crime. The next bill in the series — the 200 note — is due in August.