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History of Banknotes

High Security Printing Solutions

... for banknotes


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A brief history of banknotes

Long before the invention of money, humans developed barter trading in which goods from shells to precious metals were exchanged for other goods. According to historical records, leather money was used in China about one hundred years BC. The first recorded use of paper money was in the 7th century AC in China. Chinese were not only the inventors of paper, they were also the first to use paper money. In the beginning of the loth century AC banknotes were printed in China with wooden forms and a protected blue security ink. One hundred years later more than seventy million banknotes were in circulation. In the western part of the world it took about a thousand years before, at the end of the 17th century AC, paper based banknotes were printed and used.

The bark of the mulberry tree was the basis for banknote paper one thousand years ago. Today banknote paper is made by specialist paper manufacturers using cotton fibre and linen rag, which makes it tougher and more durable than the more common wood pulp paper. The objectives however, are basically still the same. Banknotes should be wear and fraud resistant and cheap to produce.
In the beginning paper was handproduced in the form of single sheets, which is the reason why printing, including banknote printing, historically developed on sheet-fed printing machinery.

With growing markets and increasing demand for paper and printed products, the technology changed to an industrial scale. Paper was produced on reels and simultaneously web-fed printing machines were developed to increase productivity and to reduce cost.

It took some time for banknote printers to catch up with these developments. It is quite interesting that Sweden, England, and France were the first countries in Europe where banknotes were printed, issued and put into circulation. About fifty years ago the same countries started to produce banknotes on web-fed machines to combine different printing processes in one machine, to increase productivity and to reduce cost. Norway, Denmark and Algeria decided to take the same technology step some years later.

The paper industry, as well as the printing industry, went through huge technological developments over the last few decades. High quality, long-life banknote paper with precisely repeating watermark pattern is available today for non-stop operation on highly integrated web-fed banknote production lines.

Please contact us and we will meet your requirements.

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