Canada $10 note takes top banknote prize

A Canadian $10 bill has won the top prize in an international banknote competition.

The bill, featuring Canadian civil rights activist Viola Desmond, beat 15 other banknotes to win the International Bank Note Society award.

The Bank of Canada won the award over new currency issued by Switzerland, Norway, Russia and the Solomon Islands.

Desmond became the first female Canadian to be featured prominently on a banknote.

Queen Elizabeth II, who is the most commonly depicted person on paper money around the world, has long been depicted on Canadian currency.

In 2004, women were featured on the back of a $50 Canadian general circulation banknote, including a group who campaigned for women’s suffrage in the country.

Desmond, a black businesswoman from Nova Scotia, stood at the forefront of Canada’s early civil rights movement when she refused to vacate a whites-only area of a theatre in 1946.

The back of the $10 note depicts the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

The new vertical format bill dominated the voting at the awards, said the International Bank Note Society in a release.

“Incorporating the latest in technological standards, the bold security features are easy to check and difficult to counterfeit,” the release said.

The organisation considers the artistic merit, design, use of colour, contrast, balance and security features of each nominated bank note.

There were 150 new bank notes released worldwide last year, though only 10% “were of sufficiently new design” to be nominated for the award.

Canada last won the award in 2004 for its $20 note, and has placed second between 2011 and 2013 and finished third last year.

Switzerland won the last two years – for a 10 franc note released in 2017 and for a 50 franc note released in 2016.

This year Switzerland made second place with its 200 franc note, which features a human hand with fingers pointing in the three spatial dimensions in which matter expands.

It was followed by Norway’s 500 Kroner note featuring a famous rescue vessel built in 1893.

International Bank Note Society is a non-profit education organisation that works to advance the study of worldwide banknotes and paper currencies.

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