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New banknotes combine Cayman vistas and state-of-the-art security features

Archived News Releases
Date: Tue, 29 March 2011

GRAND CAYMAN (30 March 2011) All six denominations ($1, $5, $10, $25, $50, and $100) of the new D series of Cayman Islands banknotes have been redesigned. Each has its own unique features, while sharing certain facets with the other denominations. And, fulfilling one of the main purposes for the redesign, the series incorporates the latest security features to deter counterfeiters.

Colours and views

At first look, the most striking aspects of the banknotes are the images of Cayman wildlife and panoramas, and a colour palette that draws from the naturally occurring array of hues visible in the Cayman Islands. In addition, unlike other series, the notes of the D series do not have a border around the edges. Instead, the images and patterns run to the edge of the paper.

Using sea blue with violet and orange, the $1 shows a school of Angel fish on the front and an image of the Cayman Brac Bluff, viewed from sea level, on the reverse. The colour scheme of the $5 is dark green, with olive and bright greens.  Hawksbill turtles swim on the front of the note and a pair of Cayman Parrots perch on the reverse. The $10 is predominantly bright red, with violet and dark grey highlights and a yellow-green centre. On the front are land crabs, while the reverse shows a plume of Wild Banana Orchids.

The main colours of the $25 are dark brown, with light brown and orange. Shells are scattered on the front and, on the reverse, a Hawksbill turtle glides above the reef.   The $50 combines purples with hints of green and red. It carries images of stingrays on the front and a single stingray cruising through the water on the reverse. Orange, brown and red are the main hues of the $100. The front features a Cayman schooner, which historically was essential to trade and commerce in the Cayman Islands. Turning the note over, one fast-forwards to the present, to a recent aerial view of George Town. 

Common features

There are a number of features common to the front of the notes. Each one bears HM the Queen’s portrait, the Cayman Islands crest, the outline of all three islands grouped together, and the signatures of the Minister of Finance and the Managing Director of the Monetary Authority.

The front of each banknote carries a unique serial number beginning with the letter D, which marks it as part of the D series. The serial number is printed near the top left, and bottom right corners of the notes. The digits of each number are progressively taller.

New to the front of the D series notes is a lace-patterned background screen covering the right-hand side of the note from top to bottom, and running horizontally across the top and bottom edges. There is also a darker, lace-patterned circle (the ‘mask’) on the front of each note near the right edge. (See Security Highlights, below, for the purpose of this mask.)

The lower denominations ($1, $5, $10) carry the metallic security window thread running in and out, from top to bottom near the centre of the notes. Users of Cayman currency should be familiar with the window thread from the C series. On the higher denominations ($25, $50, $100), instead of the window thread, there is  a holographic stripe imprinted with the Cayman Islands crest, the number signifying the denomination and other images unique to the particular denomination. The holographic stripe runs from top to bottom near the centre of the notes.

Every banknote has the words “Cayman Islands Monetary Authority” printed on both front and back. The front and back also carry the denomination of the note, in number form as well as spelled out.

The back of each note is divided into three sections, each section framed by lace-patterned screens. The centre carries a picture, while the areas to the left and right of the centre are clear except for a partially-completed image on the lower right and a single-colour outline image on the upper left. These two objects are known as the see-through image and the Gemini. Both are anti-counterfeit features (see Security Highlights below).

Security Highlights

Some of the aesthetic modifications in the new series enhance the banknotes’ protection from counterfeiters. These and the other visible security features, when taken together, make it relatively easy for most people to tell the difference between Cayman Islands legal tender and counterfeit banknotes, if they look closely.

The readily-visible security features include:

The serial number – This is different for each banknote.

Metallic window security thread – This is a silver band, imprinted with the acronym ‘CIMA’, weaving in and out from top to bottom on the front of the $1, $5 and $10 banknote.

Holographic stripe – This is a feature on the front of the higher denominations ($25, $50, $100). It appears as a shimmery band running from the top of the note to the bottom. The band is imprinted with images including the Cayman Islands crest and the number 25, 50 or 100, depending on the denomination. When the note is tilted, one image appears to move in the background.

Other features become clearly visible when the banknotes are held up to the light or are tilted. These include:

The turtle watermark – the outline of a turtle is visible on each denomination when the note is held up.

The ‘CIMA’ Electrotype - similar to the watermark, the acronym ‘CIMA’ becomes visible when the note is held to the light. On the lower three denominations ($1, $5, and $10), ‘CIMA’ appears horizontally, above the turtle, while on the top three denominations ($25, $50, and $100) ‘CIMA’ appears vertically, in front of the turtle.

Embedded thread – This threat appears on the upper three denominations as a solid line when the note is when held up to the light.

See-through images – On both the front and back of each note is an outline of an image that is partially filled-in. When the note is held up, the complete image becomes visible. Each denomination has its own see-through image.

Iridescent band – This band runs from top to bottom on the front of the lower three denominations only. It becomes visible when the note is tilted.

Latent image, and mask – A dark horizontal band is present in the lower right section of each note, above the serial number. The denomination appears within this band when the note is viewed at a shallow angle in the light. For example, ‘$25’ would appear on the $25 note. Similarly, the denomination appears within the dark, lace-patterned circle when the banknote is held up to the light.

Each denomination has a unique ultraviolet reactive image known as the ‘Gemini’. In the natural light, the Gemini is seen as an outline of an object on the back of each note, near the top left-hand corner. However, when the note is placed under ultraviolet light a second colour appears.