New Zealand wins award you’ve probably never heard of

Jessica Hartogs, Special to
Close up image of five Dollar notes in New Zealand currency, front and back
Kevin Winter | Getty Images

Although many may not have heard of these awards, New Zealand has just won the prize for best "banknote of the year" 2015.

To take home the International Bank Note Society's (IBNS) prize, the five-dollar bill had to beat 40 designs from 20 different countries.

Scotland's Clydesdale Bank five-pound note, Sweden's 20 krona note, Russia's 100 ruble note, and Kazakhstan's 20,000 tenge note were all named as runners-up.

However, IBNS said on its website that New Zealand's five-dollar note, which shows adventurer Edmund Hillary facing the South Island's Mount Cook, with a rare yellow-eyed (hoiho) penguin and local flora on the other side, was the "clear winner" of the contest.

In order to be eligible for the accolade, the note must have been issued to the public for the first time during that year, and have "artistic merit and innovative security features."

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand began releasing the new family of "Brighter Money" banknotes in 2015, beginning with the five and 10 dollar denominations. The notes are printed in Ottawa, however, by the Canadian Bank Note Company, and feature numerous security upgrades, according to IBNS.

Nominations are now open for Banknote of the Year 2016; the Maldives' 1,000 rufiyaa note, Switzerland's 50 franc note, Scotland's 5 pound note and New Zealand's 50 dollar note are already in the running.

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