45 Things You Didn't Know About Barbados' Money

Author(s): Central Bank Of Barbados

Created 03 Dec, 2018
Tags CBB Blog
Categories General Press Release
Views: 5532

December 3, 2018 marks 45 years since the Central Bank of Barbados first issued Barbados’ national currency. In honour of this, here are 45 things you probably didn’t know about money in Barbados.

  1. The Central Bank of Barbados has issued more than 346 million banknotes since 1973.
  2. Before the Central Bank started issuing a national currency, Barbados used the Eastern Caribbean (EC) dollar.
  3. And the colours chosen for Barbadian banknotes were the same as the colours of (then) EC money: $1 – red, $5 – green, $20 – purple, $100 – grey.
  4. Back in the 1950s, before there was the Eastern Caribbean dollar, the money used in Barbados was issued by the British Caribbean Currency Board.
  5. While in the 1940s, Barbadian banknotes were issued by the Government of Barbados.
  6. And in the 1920s and 1930s, the island’s commercial banks issued their own Barbadian money. 
  7. Now only the Central Bank of Barbados can issue Barbadian banknote and coins.
  8. However, Barbados’ banknotes are not printed in Barbados. They are printed by a British company, De La Rue.
  9. And De La Rue’s (our banknote manufacturers), name is actually printed on our banknotes.
  10. Barbados’ coins are not made in Barbados either. They are minted by the Royal Canadian Mint.
  11. The different sizes and different edges (smooth on the 5 cent, ridges on the 10 cent and 25 cent) are intended to help the visually impaired differentiate between denominations.
  12. The metal used to make Barbados’ coins was changed in 2007 to reduce costs.
  13. Despite this, before one cent coins stopped being issued in 2014, it cost five cents to mint each coin.
  14. There is a fine of $500 for mutilating (cutting, tearing, drilling holes in, etc.) or defacing (writing or drawing on, stamping, etc.) Barbadian money.
  15. The Coat of Arms appears on all Barbadian money – both notes and coins.
  16. From time to time, the Central Bank issues limited edition souvenir Barbados coins. These are not circulation coins, but they are legal tender. 
  17. Over the years, the Central Bank has also issued several commemorative banknotes to mark Central Bank and national milestones, such as the 50th Anniversary of Independence.
  18. All Barbadian banknotes are the same size: 150 mm x 65mm.
  19. And each denomination has its own prefix (the letter before the serial number). From time to time, however, the Central Bank issues banknotes of all denominations that have a “Z” prefix. These are notes that are issued to replace notes that were damaged in the production process.
  20. Nevertheless, no two Barbadian banknotes have the same serial number.
  21. The Governor of the Central Bank of Barbados’ signature appears on all Barbadian banknotes.
  22. But the Minister of Finance has final approval over the denominations and design of Barbados’ money.
  23. The newest denomination is the $50 note. It was first issued in 1989.
  24. Living people cannot appear on Barbados’ money.
  25. Charles Duncan O’Neal ($10), Samuel Jackman Prescod ($20), Errol Barrow ($50) and Sir Grantley Adams ($100) were on Barbados’ money long before they were named National Heroes
  26. But, originally all Barbadian banknotes were going to feature one person – Samuel Jackman Prescod. However, he only actually appeared on three denominations: the $1, $5, and $20. 
  27. Yes, Barbados used to have a $1 note. It stopped being issued in 1988.
  28. And the one dollar coin used to be bigger. Its size was reduced in 1988, when Barbados got rid of the paper one dollar.
  29. Then Sir Frank Worrell replaced Samuel Jackman Prescod on the $5 note in 1976. It was the only time a portrait has been changed.
  30. The 2013 series was the first major design change for Barbados’ banknotes.
  31. Prior to 2013, the Parliament Buildings appeared on the back of all Barbadian banknotes.
  32. Now, after the introduction of the 2013 series, the images on the back of Barbadian banknotes are related to the person featured on the front.
  33. When the Central Bank was redesigning Barbados’ banknotes in 2013, one of the options being considered was to have vertical banknotes.  
  34. That option wasn’t chosen, but the 2013 series $50 note was nominated for the International Banknote Society’s Banknote of the Year the year it was first issued.
  35. There are raised dots on Barbados’ banknotes (2013 series). The number of dots varies on each denomination, increasing from one dot on the $2 to six dots on the $100. This is to help the visually impaired differentiate between denominations.
  36. Barbadian banknotes contain more than a dozen security features.
  37. But counterfeiting still happens. The first counterfeit Barbadian banknote was found in 1985.
  38. And currently, the most counterfeited denomination is the $100.
  39. The most circulated banknote is the $2.
  40. The least circulated banknote is the $10.
  41. And the total value of banknotes in circulation in 2017 was $603 million.
  42. One thousand Barbadian banknotes weigh two pounds.
  43. Our “paper money” isn’t made of paper at all. It’s made of cotton.
  44. The bird on the 10 cent isn’t a dove or seagull; it’s a tern.
  45. The original $100 is the only banknote to be withdrawn from circulation. All other banknotes remain legal tender and can still be used. 


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