It’s been almost two decades since the Banco de la República introduced new bank notes, but early 2016, your wallet will welcome the first ever-Colombian $100,000 bill, as well as entirely new designs of the $50,000, $20,000, $10,000, $5,000 and $2,000 notes.

Nobel Laureate Gabriel García Márquez (or ‘Gabo’ as he is fondly referred to) makes his way into new money as the face of the $50,000 bill. The reverse depicts a scene from Tayrona culture and the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.

These are the faces of the new Colombian bank notes.
From left to right: Carlos Lleras Restrepo, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Alfonso Lopez Michelson, Virginia Gutierrez, Jose Asuncion Silva and Debora Arango

President Alfonso López Michelsen (1974-1978) turns up on the $20,000 with La Mojana, the settlement which gave this nation its “vueltiao” hat.

For the first ever face of a $100,000 bill, the Central bank chose President Carlos Lleras Restrepo (1966-1970) and with a reverse side depicting the Cocora Valley, home to the palma de cera, Quindio Wax Palm, Colombia’s national tree.

The everyday $10,000 peso bill will feature anthropologist Virginia Gutierrez, a pioneer of family research, and bumps-off Independence heroine, Policarpa Salavarrieta.

Poet José Asunción Silva becomes the face of $5,000 and accompanied with a detailed etching of our wetlands – páramos.

Last, but not least, painter Deborah Arango graces the $2,000 bill. The Medellín-born artist, who revolutionized modern art in Colombia and championed the role of women in a staunchly Catholic society now finds herself accompanying an etching of the Caño Cristales River in the Serrania de la Macarena.

The $1,000 peso bill was taken out of circulation and replaced with a coin which has become somewhat of a collectible due to its elaborate pre-Columbian inspired look.

Colombian bills have circulated close to 18 years with no major modifications. The global standard is 12.

While ensuring our money keeps up with the times, the responsibility of a Central Bank is to incorporate new bills which also meet the demands of the economy, based on per capita income and the minimum wage. As these grow, the value of our transactions also increase, hence the need for higher denominations.

Since 2000, when the $50,000 bill was issued, the GDP per capita of Colombians has tripled and the minimum wage more than doubled.

Since 2000, when the $50,000 bill was issued, the GDP per capita of Colombians has tripled and the minimum wage more than doubled. However, our denominations of banknotes in circulation have remained unchanged. If you had a $50,000 peso note in your wallet back in January 2000, it brought you US$26 (Exchange rate of COP 1873). Sixteen years later, this very same bill gets you US$16 and one of the lowest in the region.

When the Central Bank introduced coins in 2012 with the most iconic representations of Colombian biodiversity, it caused a revelation with the public and the Banco de la República received international awards for its concept and designs. The new bills continue with the theme of biodiversity and pay tribute to leading personalities who have contributed to the cultural, scientific and political well-being of the nation. The bills also recognize the leading role of women in Colombian society.

At some point we all get jilted with a “billete falso”. But take note, you’re not alone. As fake money circulates, many have become easily identifiable. Others, however, are far more elaborate and require better examination. This is not always possible though, especially if it’s dark and one is not familiar with the money.

To avoid counterfeiters becoming complacent with their crime, central banks around the world regularly update their currencies with enhanced security features, and even though anti-forgery details may not be that evident, they are key in keeping our hard-earned money safe.

The new bank notes incorporate ink and security threads, as well as intense colors with special motion effects. These measures will be highly-effective for people with visual impairments.

The first $100,000 peso bill rolls of the presses during the first three months of 2016. This initial print run will be followed in the summer with the $50,000 and $20,000. Towards the end of 2016 expect to get your hands on new $10,000, $5,000 and $2,000 notes.

LEAVE A REPLY