New 50 Peso Banknote Issued in “Native Animals of Argentina”-Themed Series

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by Michael Alexander

October 11, 2018 – The Banco Central de la Republica Argentina have released into circulation (15th August) their latest banknote which is part of a new family of banknotes first introduced in 2016. The new note is the 50 Peso denomination and as all of the designs feature indigenous wildlife, flora, fauna and geographical characteristics of the country, this denomination features the Andean Condor. This particular animal has with a wide geographical distribution within the borders of Argentina, making its habitat from south to north and in its displacements reaches the coastal strip between Tierra del Fuego and the north of the San Matías Gulf.

The new banknote features the condor which is indigenous to the Andes Mountains. Photo: Banco Central de la Republica Argentina.

The choice of the image of the condor is also a tribute to an emblem of the Andes Mountains and to focus on its status as a species that is in danger of extinction. Adult condors can grow up to a height of 142 centremetres and 330 centremetres in span, which makes it the largest bird within the raptor family anywhere in the world. They are hunters but also scavengers who feed on the remains of carcases, and as such, they help preserve the environmental balance within the ecosystem. The flight of the condor can reach great heights and when they use the thermal currents, condors can soar to easily reach 7,000 meters above sea level and fly for hundreds of kilometres.

The 50 Peso banknote which is a predominantly subtle grey colour with a corresponding multi-colour and blue under-print is the fifth denomination issued of the six values that will comprise the new series and is entitled “Native animals of Argentina”. These notes are being introduced amidst a serious currency crisis in the country which has seen the value of the Argentinian Peso – introduced in 1992 at an equal ratio of one to one with the US Dollar, lose nearly 50 percent of its value against the Dollar over the past year. A week after the introduction of the latest banknote, the Central Bank raised the interest rate for borrowing to an eye-watering 60% in what is seen as a drastic move to support the beleaguered Peso from a further descent but despite these moves, the Peso lost ground on the last day of FOREX trading for August. The slide in value may be partly due to the Government prompting the International Monetary Fund who will be extending loans to Buenos Aires to the value of 50 Billion Dollars, for a completion of the process earlier than previously scheduled. These loans will be the largest loans ever made by the IMF while the Central Bank has raised their rates to a level which is the highest of any developing nation in the West. From the beginning of the year, the Peso’s decline against the US Dollar has declined from a rate of 18.60 in January of this year to a record low of 41.30 on the last day of trade in August.

All of the notes in the present series are uniform in size, measuring 155 mm / 65 mm. and are printed on a 100% cotton-based fibre and is produced in three successive stages, using offset, intaglio printing and typography. The Banco Central have incorporated a vertically designed motif which is seen on the reverse of all the notes in the new series.

The Central Bank has to date, issued denominations of:

  • 500 Pesos note which features the yaguareté – issued 2016
  • 200 Pesos featuring the white Whale – issued 2016 the both issued in 2016
  • 1000 Pesos featuring the hornero – issued 2017
  • 20 Peso notes featuring the guanaco – issued 2017

This latest release of the new 50 Pesos banknote and that of the 100 Peso note which is scheduled for release later in the year completes the banknote series. A new coin series was also initiated earlier in 2018 with the issue of 1 and five peso denominations, 2 & 10 Peso coins scheduled for release later this year will complete the revised currency program launched two years ago. The new 100 pesos banknotes will feature an illustration of a taruca, a mammal in danger of extinction and whose primary habitat is in north-western Argentina.

The Andean Condor is one of the largest birds in the world. Photo: Pedro Szekely / CC BY-SA 2.0.

The obverse or front side of the note is viewed and designed with a vertical concept and includes an image of the Andean Condor in flight with ornamental flowers in the foreground. The text “CÓNDOR ANDINO” is seen just next to the condor’s right wing. On the right side of the note is the text “BANCO CENTRAL DE LA REPÚBLICA ARGENTINA” also positioned vertically. In upper left corner is the letter “L” which expresses the value of the note using Roman numerals and to the right of this letter / numeral is a silhouette representation of the condor.

Mount Aconcagua is the highest mountain in South America. Photo: Bjorn Christian Torrissen / CC BY-SA 4.0.

The reverse whose design is in a horizontal format includes an artistic recreation of Mount Aconcagua, primary habitat of the Andean condor, and is featured as the main focal point. Between the landscape and the bi-continental map of the Argentine Republic, the distribution map of the Andean condors’ habitat is located. In the lower left corner, a representation of the Andean condor is shown in cartoon form which is an element dedicated to children. Revised or updated security features include:

Watermark: A reproduced image of the Andean condor and the denomination “50” is located above the soaring condor as viewed from the front side.

Security thread: Vertically incorporated into the paper that is visible when the note is held up to the light and viewed from the reverse side and contains the value “$ 50” and the initials “BCRA” repeatedly in see-thru micro-text and alternating so it can be read partially from front and back.

Invisible security fibres: When the note is placed under ultraviolet light, tiny fibres are visible and shown as red, blue and yellow colours.

Latent image: within the solid colour silhouette of the Andean condor, the initials RA can be seen when the bill is tilted with low light.

Perfectly aligned printing: The contour or outline of the condor’s footprint is located to the left of the watermark and is filled in perfectly with a solidly printed image of the same shape on the other side. The shape is seen as one solid design when seen against the light.

Tactile print: The Numeral / letter “L” is printed using an engraved intaglio process which acts as a tactile application to aid visually impaired persons to identify the note.

The new series of banknotes are being accompanied with a new series of circulation coins in denominations of 1, 2, 5 and 10 Pesos. The series consisting of four values will be completed by the end of 2018 with the 1 and 5 Peso coins having already been issued. Each coin will have a particular metallic colour to distinguish each denomination from one another.
The Central Bank have announced that new 50 Peso banknote will circulate alongside the current and previous series of the same denomination until they are removed from public use through normal currency processing via commercial banks and other cash handling outlets.

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

For additional information on the new series of banknotes and coins which are currently issued by the Banco Central de la Republica Argentina, please visit their informative website.

CoinsWeekly reported on the introduction of higher denomination banknotes in Argentina.

This short video gives you a sense of impressive the Andean Condor really is.