Issue of New 50 Boliviano Banknote

By Michael Alexander

December 13, 2018 – The Banco Central de Bolivia have released their third new banknote on the 17th October 2018, which is part of their latest series of a new family of banknotes begun in April of this year with the issue of a new 10 Boliviano banknote. The new series is an entirely new issue which sees changes in design, theme and also includes updated security features – as well as an amendment in the name or reference to the South American country. According to the 2009 Constitution which formally defines Bolivia as the Plurinational State of Bolivia, as such, the banknotes now carry this denotation on both sides of this new series and which are referred to as the “First family of banknotes of the Plurinational State of Bolivia”.

The obverse of the updated banknote features José Manuel Baca, Pablo Zárate Willka and Bruno Racua.

The obverse of the updated banknote features José Manuel Baca, Pablo Zárate Willka and Bruno Racua.

The new 50 Boliviano banknote ($US 7.24) is the third denomination issued this year and in keeping with the theme of inclusion of personalities depicted on the front side of the new designs and diverse representation of flora, fauna and bio-diversity, there are also new depictions of various national landmarks. The banknote measures 140 / 70 mm. and retains its purple shaded colour scheme as the previously issued 50 Boliviano banknote.

Updated security features include a 4 mm. wide “windowed” colour changing security thread seen on the front or obverse side of the banknote. At the left and right edges of the front side of the note are 3 blocks of 4 short diagonal lines in high relief and 1 vertical bar in the upper left are felt which are applied to enable the visually impaired to identify the banknote’s denomination. The watermark includes three elements consisting of the image of José Manuel Baca “Canoto”, guitar next to the character formed by points and the number “50” in the lower part.

On the reverse side or back of the note is the printed image of a standing flamingo, which will appear to change colour from gold to green when the note is tilted. A continuous printing application is seen on both edges of the banknote which forms the number “50” precisely when joining the left and right edges.

Depicted on the obverse or front side of the note:

José Manuel Baca “Canoto”, born in Santa Cruz (1790-1854): He is remembered as Independent guerrilla fighter, singer and poet who at the age of 20 participated in the Membiray uprising of 1810. He enrolled in the patriotic ranks and participated in the Battle of Florida of 1814, the campaign of Chiquitos in 1815 and El Pari of 1816. Exiled in Argentina, he joined other exiled forces and when he returned to Bolivia, he fought alongside Colonel José Manuel Mercado who continued to fight the Spanish royalists. Baca obtained the posthumous promotion of Colonel in 2003.

Pablo Zárate Willka, born in La Paz (1850-1903): The Indigenous leader participated in the Federal War of 1899-1900 along with 50,000 Aymaras, demanding the liberation of the settlers, indigenous participation in the government and the restitution of communal lands. He was allied with José Manuel Pando and built a consensus of organisation against the Federal Communal Government “Proclama de Caracollo” that was dispersed because he and other leaders were seen as a threat to national stability. Subsequently, he was arrested, interrogated and executed.

Bruno Racua, born in La Paz (1879-1932): An indigenous Tacana who was part of the Columna Porvenir that participated in the Acre War, and the Battle of Bahia, 1902. This detail successfully attacked and set on fire the ammunition stores of the enemy with a group of archers. This action decisively halted the advance of the Brazilian invaders on Cobija.

The reverse side:

National Landmark - Fortaleza De Inkallajta: A one-time city of an advanced civilisation, it was once the political, administrative and ceremonial centre of the eastern border of the Inca Empire. It consists of eight types of buildings built in stone and mud, where the Kallanka style of architecture stands out, which has a colossal character and is unique due to its central location and construction.

Natural Beauty - Nevado Sajama: This extinct volcano is located in the Western Cordillera and has a height of 6,542 meters above sea level with a symmetrical form of great grandeur and scenic beauty. In its skirts and surroundings, there are unique habitats with native flora including quenua forest and medicinal plants and fauna which is in danger of extinction.

Bolivian Flora - Real Quinua: A millenary plant of the Andean region, it has adapted to extreme conditions of height, temperature, light rainfall and soil salinity. Its grain is internationally recognised for being an exceptional food with high nutritional value and for its organic production.

Bolivian Fauna - Flamenco Andino: Renowned as a graceful bird with colourful and thermal characteristics in its plumage, its beak is adapted to allow it to feed on aquatic micro-organisms. They live in large colonies and groups who are a familiar scene in many parts of South America due to their migratory behaviour. It is the largest flamingo in Bolivia at 105 centre metres in height but are highly vulnerable to predators and egg gatherers, prompting this bird to be listed as an endangered species.

The updated 10 Bolivianos banknote also combines the history and impressive landscape of Bolivia.

The updated 10 Bolivianos banknote also combines the history and impressive landscape of Bolivia.

Additional banknotes previously issued within the new series includes:

10 Bolivianos – 70 / 140 mm. predominantly blue.
Depicted on the front side:
José Santos Vargas, “El Tambor Vargas” (born c. 1796): Guerrilla fighter who fought for 10 years in the War of Independence until acquiring the rank of Commander of Mohosa. He founded a newspaper that is considered one of the most fascinating documents of that struggle.

Apiaguaiki Tüpa
(1863-1892): A Guaraní leader who fought against the subjugation of the lands of his people and the abuse of power of the authorities of the time. He managed to survive the Kuruyuki massacre of 1892 but was later arrested and executed.

Eustaquio Méndez “El Moto Méndez” (1785-1849): Remembered as Guerrilla leader during the War of Independence who participated in the battles of Tucumán of 1812, Salta in 1813 and La Tablada in 1817. He promoted the incorporation of Tarija to the Republic of Bolivia.

Depicted on the back:
The Isla Del Pescado, Salar De Uyuni: A popular tourist attraction located in the middle of the Salar de Uyuni, which in the distance resembles the figure of a fish. From its summit is visible the Tunupa volcano and the Salar de Uyuni, one of the natural wonders of the world.

Giant Picaflor: This bird of the Andean region is characterized by its large size (up to 22 centimeters) in relation to others of its kind. It has the ability to easily change direction while flying, even in reverse. It stays suspended in the air to feed on the nectar of the flora of its habitat.

The large Puya Raimondi: This plant can exceed 10 meters in height and is typical of the Andean area, whose flowering occurs only once when it reaches an age of approximately 80 years, then it dies. Due to the constant decrease in numbers owing to change in climate, it is in danger of extinction.

The Numismatic Center of Buenos Aires, organiser of the LatiNum awards, have awarded first prize to Bolivia’s new 10 Boliviano banknote which recognised it as best design in Latin America, the event was held on the 5th & 6th October 2018 in Argentina.

Impressing bright colours were used for the 20 Bolivianos banknote.

Impressing bright colours were used for the 20 Bolivianos banknote.

20 Bolivianos – 70 / 140 mm. predominantly orange.
Depicted on the front side:
Genoveva Ríos (born c. 1865): Remembered as the young girl who rescued the Bolivian flag that was flying in the Antofagasta Police Department, guarding it under her clothes to avoid the outrage of the patriotic symbol by the Chilean invaders. In 1904 the flag was delivered to the consul of Bolivia in Iquique and returned to the country 10 years later.

Tomas Katari (1740-1781): An indigenous leader from Potosí who denounced the Spanish Viceroy of the Rio de la Plata, the economic extortion and abuses of the colonial authorities. His imprisonment motivated the rebellion of Pocoata in Chayanta province of 1780. He was captured and killed by the Spaniards.

Pedro Ignacio Muiba (born c. 1811):
A speaker of the mojeno-trinitario language, he led and motivated the rebellions of the peoples of the region against colonial institutions. He survived the massacre of Trinidad of 1811 but was later captured and killed. This sacrifice enabled the establishment of a short-lived indigenous government until 1822.

Depicted on the back:
Laguna Bay: This area is one of the main tourist attractions of the National Reserve of Amazonian Wildlife Manuripi, and known as the "aquarium of Bolivia" for its crystal clear waters and the variety of fish that can be observed. It is surrounded by a lush forest landscape that is home to great biodiversity in flora and fauna.

Caimán Negro
: This is one of the largest reptiles in the Amazon and can exceed 6 meters in length. It has a dark back and light belly, robust conformation and its muscular tail allows it to swim in rivers and lagoons. Its hunting is prohibited because it is listed a vulnerable species according to the Red Book of the Vertebrate Wildlife of Bolivia.

The traditional Toborochi Tree: This species is predominant in the east and southeast of the country with a height of 6 to 12 meters. They are characterised by having a protruding trunk and stingers that stores water for the dry season. This beautiful tree blooms in autumn and is popular for both religious and traditional folklores of several indigenous peoples.

The Banco Central de Bolivia have not mentioned a time-line for the redemption of the previous series 50 Boliviano banknotes.

The author, Michael Alexander is president of the London Banknote and Monetary Research Centre.

For additional information of this and the 10 & 20 Boliviano banknotes issued as part of this new family, please visit their website.

This video published by Lonely Planet provides a first glance of the beautiful nature and astonishing history Bolivia has to offer.

Subscribe to our newsletter now

Get the latest news from the world of numismatics promptly delivered once a week by email.

← back