The published articles are meant to primarily educate the students in printing to supplement their knowledge in the field of Printing. These are not simple Glossary of printing terms, but to the extent possible every term has been explained in brief so that it can be of some use to the students who appear in some sort of examinations and interviews.
I served the Printing Industry for over 40 years
in various capacities, a major part in an Security Printing Organization. In order not to waste the printing and paper related knowledge which I gained over years, I decided to keep them in public domain for the reason stated in prepara. Most of the illustrations - over 90% - have been generated by me to explain the terms suitably.
While I am not sure to what extent the published content will help, if the content is going to be of use to some one in some manner, I will be greatly satisfied.
Your views may be sent to me ( for my record and correction wherever needed.



- Over 400 terms-

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Monday, March 25, 2013

Errors on Bank Notes and Currencies

Errors on Bank Notes 
and World Currencies
( Written by : N.R. Jayaraman)

Bank Notes issued by several countries contain many security features, few important amongst them being Security thread and OVD features. In order to enhance the security of the bank notes, these features are added to impede forgery and counterfeiting. It is not possible to eliminate counterfeiting fully whatever be the best feature deployed.  Initially it will appear to be difficult to forge with those new features, but the counterfeiters are able to duplicate overt looking similar feature though they may not covertly match them.   Since  the counterfeiters are able to find some way or the other to forge the notes, the Bank Note issuing authorities try to go in for technology with high cost and intricate technology that makes it highly difficult to counterfeit the notes  easily unless the enemy nations and state saboteurs decide to throw their  weight to subvert the economy. 
Bank Note and Currency production is not as easy as one may imagine. It takes the final shape after undergoing lots of processes both manual and mechanical. Even though at each stage the production process undergoes very strict quality control that look for any mistakes, at times normal human error lead to error on the notes produced. Errors normally occur during the printing process. Banknotes are printed in various stages and ways, and some of those methods can throw up different types of errors. Sometimes the error is detected only at the end of production leading to not only loss of production, but also the cost. If by mistake the notes with error goes into circulation, then it becomes a prized collector item and those responsible for releasing them with error face the music from the authorities. Therefore even in the most modernized units random sample checking is resorted to manually to ensure that every process goes in order.  

Some of the print errors occur during printing. The error need not occur only during processing or printing, but it can also occur even from the stage of designing which will remain unnoticed as the intricate design elements are complicated and cannot be easily noticed. The errors can also occur due to mismanagement which includes procurement of material like that of Paper and ink. There were instances in many units that the defects in the paper or ink lead to print errors which were noticed at the end of production leading to destruction of the entire  printed lots of the particular series in bank notes and currencies. Some of the errors remain unnoticed till someone from the public reported them or someone in the press itself accidentally noticed it. What type of errors normally occur in the presses and during processing ? Errors in the text printed on banknotes are the most common design error on banknotes, and this type of error has occurred on many notes over the years.
  • Design errors
  • Missing security features
  • Wrongly printed texts
  • Wrong numbering
  • Fine crease in the finished notes which remain invisible.
  • Trimmed note size not proper
  • Missing colors in designs
  • Improper color
  • Wrong prints which includes ghost images, improper prints etc.
  • Watermark defects
Acknowledgement:  This article contains valuable and interesting info from the article 'Bank Note Oddities' written by Mr. Peter Symes (p j symes) in the year 2001. Mr. Peter Symes  is an expert author on world paper money and has published many articles and books.I sincerely thank Mr. Peter Symes who has given me special permission to use the inputs from his articles and to reproduce them in this blogger for the benefit of the Security printers and Students - N.R. Jayaraman 

Mr. Peter Symes article  detail  some of the major errors that have crept in the bank notes printed by some of the countries. Read the following which display the error list as reproduced by Mr. Peter Symes . However some have also been added by me to update the knowledge: 
1) A '5-Pound note' issued by East Lothan Bank in the year 1820 mentioned the word LOTHIAN as LOTIHAN. (LOTHIAN as LOTIHAN).
2) In 1950s the 1-pound notes of The Royal Bank of Scotland were printed by W. & A. K. Johnston Limited, of Edinburgh. The 1-pound notes of this period had two vignettes on their back, one of the head office of the Bank in Edinburgh (on the left) and one of the principal office of the Bank in Glasgow (on the right). The design for this note was introduced in 1927 and used for many years, undergoing only slight changes. In the 1950s W. & A. K Johnston decided to redraw the plates for this note. One of the engravers in their organization at period was Mr. W. H. Egan. He decided to leave his mark on the banknotes that he was helping to redraw. So, amongst the pattern of the cobblestones in front of the principal office of The Royal Bank of Scotland in Glasgow he inserted his name in such a manner that in order to find it, the note must be turned upside down and magnified at the correct point, whereupon the characters ‘W H Egan’ can be seen. This mystery remained unknown to all but the perpetrator and his family until 1989. In that year Mr. Egan returned to Scotland from the United States of America, where he had emigrated many years before. He presented himself to the Royal Bank of Scotland and asked for samples of the notes on which he had left his mark so many years before when only the intentionally caused error came to light. The intentionally created error notes were 1-pound notes of The Royal Bank of Scotland with serial number prefix AJ, dated 1st February 1956, to serial number prefix CX, 
 dated 1st November 1967.  

3) In 1954 Canada issued a series of notes that contained a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II on the front of each denomination. It was not long before it was observed that the Queen’s hair, to the right of her left ear, contained an image that could be interpreted as the face of a ‘devil’. Appearing to have a large nose, the shadow of a thick lip, and two bulging eyebrows, the detection of the image brought some concern to the authorities responsible for issuing the notes. Consequently, in 1955, the banknotes were re-issued with the Queen’s hair redrawn.
4) Perhaps the most well-known of all unintentional errors to have occurred on a banknote is the appearance of ‘SEX’ on a banknote issued by the Government of the Seychelles. In 1968 the Seychelles issued a series of notes, which was to become the last series of the Seychelles to feature a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II. The 50-rupee note of this series is dominated by a sailing ship, which appears to the left of the portrait of Queen Elizabeth. In the small space to the right of the Queen are two palm trees. The unintentional error on this note is that the leaves of the palm trees can be seen to spell the word ‘SEX’. The error became very well known, but the note was never issued with a modified design. The reaction of the Queen to this mistake has never been recorded, if indeed she was ever told. 

5) In the year 1970 Saudi Arabia released 5-riyal note with incorrect Arabic text . Subsequently the notes were re-issued with the correct text.
6) Yemen itself has an unintentional error which was probably the fault of the banknote designers, although the Central Bank of Yemen contributed towards the ‘cover-up’. The mistake involved an illustration and occurred on the 5-rial note issued by the Central Bank on 15 July 1973.
The front of the 5-rial note has an illustration of dwellings built against a steep hill and the Annual Report of the Central Bank of Yemen for 1973 stated that the buildings depicted were in the town of Zabeid. However, the illustration was of houses in the Wadi Du’an, which is in South Yemen. The illustration was adapted from a photograph taken by a German adventurer named Hans Helfritz. It was strange that an illustration of buildings in South Yemen appeared on a banknote issued in North Yemen, seventeen years before the unification of the two countries was however an unintentional mistake.
It is probable that the banknote designers know very little about the geography of Yemen and probably didn’t realize that the photograph was of a village in the wrong country. It is also unlikely that many Yemeni people realized that the illustration was of dwellings in a neighboring country. 

7) In the year 1980 Kuwait introduced their third series of banknotes. At sometime after 1986 slight modifications were made to the notes, one of which was the addition of lines of micro-printed text. On the front of the notes ‘Central Bank of Kuwait’ was repeated in micro-printed English text. On the back of the notes the same phrase was written in micro-printed Arabic text.
Despite the quality control mechanisms of Thomas De La Rue and Company, the micro-printing was not correctly applied to the 5-dinar note. On this particular denomination, the correct micro-printed text appeared on the front of the note, but the micro-printed Arabic text on the back of this denomination reads ‘Central Bank of Yemen’.
Thomas De La Rue which later prepared a new 20-rial note for the Central Bank of Yemen, which included a line of micro-printing. It would appear that the machinery, which applied the micro-printing to the printing plates, was prepared with the wrong string of text and the text prepared for the Central Bank of Yemen was executed on the 5-dinar note issued by the Central Bank of Kuwait. The error was apparently never picked up, either by the Central Bank of Kuwait or Thomas De La Rue, as all notes of this type had the error on it.

8)  5000-dinara note issued by Yugoslavia in the year 1985 wrongly showed the year of death of Joseph Broz Tito as 1930 instead of 1980 under the portrait of Tito. Once the mistake was noticed it was re issued with corrected version reading as 1980.

9)  An unintentional error occurred on some denominations in a series of notes issue by the State Bank of Nepal in 1981. When the 2-, 100-, 500- and 1000-rupee notes in this series were first issued, a line extended from the lower lip of the King of Nepal, who is depicted on the notes. This line gave the impression that the King was dribbling. The image of the dribbling monarch had such an effect that the notes were re-issued with the line removed. 

10)  A third incident of a fault in depicting a monarch occurred on the 50-baht note issued by Thailand in 1985. On this particular note King Rama IX is depicted with pointed ears, which give him a slightly pixie-like appearance. The embarrassing mistake was soon noticed and the notes were subsequently modified to obscure the pointed tips of the ears.

11) In 1985 Tanzania issued a series of four notes. The design on the back of each note incorporated a map of Tanzania with the name ‘Tanzania’ printed over the map. The problem with the map was that it did not depict the islands of Mafia, Pemba and Zanzibar, all of which are important places in Tanzania. The error was rectified in the following year when the notes were re-issued with the islands included in the map and the name ‘Tanzania’ shifted to the left of the map. 

12)  In the year 1991, Peru issued 100-nuevos-soles note and wrongly mentioned the name of the person on the note as ‘Jorge Basadre’ instead of ‘Jorge Basadre Grohman’. The said mistake was corrected in the next batch of notes issued.

13)   The '2,000,000-zlotych note' issued by Poland in the year 1992 carried a similar error. Instead of printing ‘Konstytucyjny’ it was printed as ‘Konstytucyjy’ (Misspelled the word ‘Konstytucyjny’ without inserting letter 'n' the last). These were withdrawn and reissued after correcting the mistake.

14)  In the year 1980 Saudi Arabia again released 500-riyal note with incorrect Arabic text which was subsequently re-issued with the correct text. The entire series of notes issued by the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency in the 1980s initially had an erroneous diacritical mark in the name of the issuing authority on all denominations. This mistake was rectified in subsequent issues of the various denominations.

15)  One mistake, that never made it into circulation, was on a note prepared by the Bank of England. On the back of the 5-pound notes issued by the Bank in 1990 was a picture of George Stevenson, the famous English engineer. Accompanying the illustrations on the back of the note were the years of Stevenson’s birth and death. The initial print run of these notes was discovered to have an incorrect date and so the entire print run was destroyed. The notes were then reprinted and issued to the public.

16)  Sometimes a mistake is not construed as a mistake until the note is issued. This occurred in an issue of banknotes by Mauritius in 1998. Until this issue, the denomination had always been written on the banknotes in English, Tamil and 1 Hindi – in that order. The notes issued in 1998 altered this tradition by printing the denomination in the order of English, Hindi and Tamil. Apparently, the change was made because the Tamil text would have encroached on the portrait of Sir Moilin Jean Ah-Chuen on the 25-rupee note, had the usual order been maintained. By changing the order of the text, the Tamil text was kept clear of the portrait and, in order to maintain uniformity, the change was incorporated on all denominations.
However, the change in order almost brought the country to its knees. Within days of the banknotes being issued, Tamils were protesting and burning effigies of the Governor of the Bank of Mauritius, Tamil members of Parliament threatened to resign, and representations were made to the President of Mauritius. Ultimately, the notes were re-issued with the text in the correct order and peace was restored to Mauritius. However, both the Governor and the Managing Director of the Bank of Mauritius lost their jobs over the incident.

Additional information 

 16)  In  1974s Indian bank note issuing authorities issued Rs 50/- deno which depicted the portrait of Parliament on its backside, but without a mast on the top of the building. However when the defect was pointed out, next series were introduced with Indian flag on top of the building. It was  an untentional design error. 

17) News 24, on its online news edition ( and Novalis Ubundu in their online news letter ( carried an news item stating that the The Reserve Bank of South Africa has to shred more than 3.6 million of R100 notes as the bank notes printed in Sweden, had the same serial numbers as a batch printed locally besides variation in color and cut note size which caused problems on automated machines.

18)  Errors occur for various reasons during the manufacturing stages of bank notes. Such reasons include ink starvation, spilled ink, incorrectly positioned sheet, folded sheet, joined sheets, alien material, machinery failure, and others. These and other reasons can appear simultaneously on the same bank note. Error bank notes descriptions and images of error bank notes as compiled by Mr. Stane ┼átraus has been shown in the site - of  grouped into several categories. Please go to the said site and see the details.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Glitter on Bank Notes and World Currencies

Glitter on Bank Notes 
and World Currencies
( Written by : N.R. Jayaraman)


Bank Notes issued by several countries contain many security features, few important amongst them being Security thread and OVD features. In order to enhance the security of the bank notes, these features are developed to impede forgery and counterfeiting. It is not possible to eliminate counterfeiting fully, whatever be the best feature solution deployed. However since the counterfeiters are able to find some way or the other to forge the notes, the Bank Note issuing authorities try to go in for technology that makes it highly  difficult to counterfeit the notes so easily due to the high cost and intricate technology involved. 
Acknowledgement: This article discussing one such security feature has been compiled with major and main inputs from - All that Glitters ... written in the year 2001 by Mr. Peter Symes (p j symes) who is expert author on world paper money. Researching various aspects of world paper money, Mr. Peter Symes has published the results and his findings in books and articles. Many of his articles have been published in the International Bank Note Society Journal. Most of the contents of this article is mainly from that of Mr. Peter Symes, but presented in different format adding subsequent developments around the world.  This has been written with the sole aim of  enhancing the knowledge of the students in printing and those working in the Security Printing Presses.
I sincerely thank Mr. Peter Symes who has given me special permission to use the inputs from his articles and to reproduce them in this blogger for the benefit of the printers and students - N.R. Jayaraman

Glitter on Bank Notes and World Currencies

The Bank Notes issued by the Bank Note and Currency issuing authorities contain certain features such as Guilloche design, Security thread, micro letters, see through design, embedded Water mark, Latent images etc common to all.   But quite a few countries opt for additional features such as OVD, OVI, Color shift thread, Fluoresce thread, Micro lettered thread, hidden colored fibers that glow on paper surface under UV light, Holograms, Taggants that can be only detected with a special apparatus, and special inks such as Intaglio inks, Fluorescent and phosphorescent inks, Infrared up-converting inks, Thermochromic inks,  Machine-readable inks etc which were developed in the recent past. 
A close look at many of the bank notes issued throughout the world today will show that quite a few of them in one way or the other carry security features that glitter, shine, sparkle and change color as the angle of view or the angle of illumination changes. These features have became more common on banknotes. 
The first of the security feature that was incorporated into a banknote that had reflective properties was the ‘Stardust’ security thread, which is also known as the ‘segmented thread’ or the ‘windowed thread’ which was embedded into the paper as if they have been woven on the paper. The surface of the embedded thread is coated with  aluminum but has dull shine. 

With the passage of years the Stardust thread became a common security feature on many banknotes . Examples of the wide and a narrow Stardust thread can be seen on the '1000-new-zaires note' (Two threads in one single note)  of the country Zaire (African Country), issued in the year 1995. 

While Stardust threads have a shiny surface, this quality was not the driving force behind their introduction. The shine or ‘glitter’ was largely a by-product of the innovation. Once the Stardust threads were introduced slowly the qualities of ‘glitter’ were increased by coating with an iridescence surface. The exposed surface of some of these security threads reflected the colors of the spectrum when ordinary light hit the surface. Initially when this was introduced they were expected to be extensively used by many countries in their bank notes. Two series of denominations -'100 and 500-taka notes' issued by Bangladesh issued in the year 2000 and 2001 carried security threads with this feature. The Stardust feature was also used in some of the Currencies issued by England, as well as some of the new issues from Germany, Zambia and Nigeria. Some of the notes of Bolivia had threads which glow under ultraviolet light, and the commemorative 60 baht note from Thailand had a micro printed, colored, broken thread where the blue sections glow when placed under ultraviolet light. 
In advancement to the technology the ‘glitter’ content of the threads on the banknotes were increased by way of introducing foil strip, which contained silver foil and transparent tape as alternate sections, the silver portions cut at an angle (something like Windowed security thread) . 

Examples of this type of foil strip are found on '5,000- and 10,000-franc notes' issued by the Central Bank of the West African States. A variation of this strip appears on the '10,000-franc note' issued by the Central Bank of the Comores (The Comoros, officially the Union of the Comoros is a sovereign archipelago island nation in the Indian Ocean, located at the northern end of the Mozambique Channel off the eastern coast of Africa), where the foil strip was wider and the reflective sections were gold but not that of silver (Issue year not available). These adhesive strips, with metallic and clear sections, are one of the French security printer’s contribution to the world of glitter.

Other security printers in order to add glitter to their notes used simple silver foil stamps.  The foil stamps were cut into specific shapes and affixed to the banknote (all by automated paper making machines and not a manual process). An example of this can be seen on the '500-dirham note' issued by the United Arab Emirates. Initially issued in 1993 without the foil stamp, the new security feature was added to the issue dated 1996. The foil stamp image on this issue is the silhouette of a fortified tower. 
Foil stamps containing images that reflect light increased the ‘glitter’ feature. Generically known as Optically Variable Devices (OVDs) examples of foil stamps with reflected images are now found on many banknotes, although the style of these devices differ. 

One of the first OVD features was used in the year 1988 on the '10-dollar commemorative note' issued in Australia. The iridescent foil stamp used on these notes was suspended in a clear window and had a portrait of Captain Cook that reflected the colors of the spectrum as the angle of light changes. This style of OVD had been used on a number of notes designed by Note Printing of Australia that included Indonesia's '50,000-rupiah note', issued in 1993 and the '50-dollar commemorative note' issued by Singapore in the year 1990. A different style of foil stamp produced by Note Printing of Australia can be found on the '100-yuan polymer note' issued in China in the year 2000. In this case the foil stamp is not suspended in the clear window of the note, but is affixed to the polymer surface. The foil stamp had an image incised in the foil, causing light to be reflected in an iridescent pattern.
The OVDs used by Note Printing of Australia contain single image that reflect the colors of the spectrum as the angle of the light changes. Images on different other type of OVDs caused the images to appear and disappear as the angle of the light changed. Such features were used on the higher denomination notes issued in Kuwait. Cut in the shape of an bird’s head, the foil stamp on the notes contained multiple images of a sailing vessel and numerals of the denomination in Arabic language, which appeared and disappeared as the foil stamp was tilted at different angles. 

A similar feature appeared on the notes issued by the Chatham Islands (The Chatham Islands is an archipelago in the Pacific Ocean about 680 kilometers southeast of New Zealand. It consists of about ten islands within a 40-kilometre radius, the largest of which are Chatham Island and Pitt Island) to celebrate its status as the first place to see the sun in the new millennium. On these notes a foil circle contains repetitions of ‘2000’ that appear and disappear as the note is held at different angles. The various repetitions also change color as light is reflected. 

The largest OVDs with iridescent images used on the bank notes were that of Saudi Arabia which can be seen on the '20- and 200-riyal notes' issued by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to celebrate its centenary. The OVD was constructed in two parts, a central section and a border section. The border contained many small representations of the Saudi symbol of a palm tree surmounting two crossed swords. In the center of the OVD on the Saudi Arabian notes two discrete images could be seen -one a circular pattern containing Arabic text and the other a symbol that expressed the centenary of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. 

Following the production of images on foil stamps, foil strips were manufactured with the same properties and those strips made an impact on the ‘glitter’ market. Combining reflective images with the benefits of affixing continuous foil strips to sheet of banknotes, many issuing authorities are making increased use of the glitter properties provided by such devices. This type of foil strips can be seen on notes issued by Eritrea, Oman, Yemen and the United Arab Emirates. In each case an iridescent pattern is repeated on the strip and in some cases the denomination is etched into the strip by a separate process. 
The glittering foils are in no way comparable to holograms even though some foils have holographic images embedded in them. A true hologram has an image with depth and none of the foil stamps described so far have images with this property. Examples of holographic foils are found on a '500-riyal note' issued in Qatar and in the higher denomination notes of Bahrain. A holographic metallic strip with vertically and horizontally repeated inscription 500 LTL can be seen on the 500 litas banknote  issued  by LIETUVOS BANKAS in the year 2000.
The '500-riyal note' issued by the Qatar Central Bank in 1996 contains a foil stamp with a hologram consisting of the state emblem surmounted by the denomination in Arabic numerals. Surrounding this image is the denomination repeated many times in iridescent Arabic and western numerals. The denomination in Arabic numerals is apparent when the note is tilted at one angle, but they disappear and the denomination in western numerals appears when the angle of light changes. Most importantly, while most iterations of the denomination appear to be placed on the surface of the foil stamp, three rows of the denomination seem to be running beneath the state emblem at a level below the surface of the hologram. This appearance of depth occurs only on a hologram. 

Similar characteristics are apparent in the holograms used on the high denomination notes issued by Bahrain in 1998. In this case the principal images are the head of an Oryx ( an animal similar to buffalo) and the denomination in Arabic numerals. Once again, repetitions of the denomination, in iridescent Arabic and western numerals, appear to be displayed at different depths within the hologram. Holograms and kinegrams are reported to be the most advanced security features of today. Holograms usually show a volumetric image, while kinegram changes colors when a viewpoint is changed. Impossible to be reproduced without extremely expensive equipment, they gain more and more popularity. As usual, the kinegrams incorporate the denomination of the banknote - to avoid all possible disputes and questions, while holograms depict portraits. On the left is the kinegram image from the 50 euro banknote. 
Since the use of reflective foil feature is relatively expensive they are only used on high denomination notes. Shortly after Australia introduced the OVD in the bicentennial 10-dollar note, the United States of America’s Bureau of Printing and Engraving tested the OVD with adverse results.  In one of the tests called crush test, the  banknote taken up for testing is rolled tightly to the size of a cigarette and placed into a cylinder and crushed. When subjected to this test the OVD shattered and it was therefore deemed an unacceptable technology to adopt. 
Technology has moved in many directions since 1988 when the OVD was first introduced, but there are still many authorities who have not adopted this technology. Some may not do so in the belief that the feature will fail to sustain the wear that circulation demands and some may not use the technology because of the cost. 
Most of the Bank Notes issued by different Countries contain another glitter feature called OVI meaning Optically Variable feature. This is done using special inks that change their color when viewed from different angles. The composition of the inks are such that they change colors when viewed from angles. In this direction of glitter Luminescent ink have been used on the 10000 yen notes issued by  Japan.  The improved modern version of Windowed security threads  has  color changing feature and are comparable to highly advanced holographic feature and are in use on many of the Bank Notes issued by the authorities.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Due to other commitments, the next set of 
posting will  appear only after 15th March, 2013