A belated happy New Year to all of you, and if your schedule has been as busy as mine, New Year may well be just a distant memory but I hope 2005 has been a good one so far, and that it continues to be so.
My dad was a printer and I cannot tell you how often he had requests to print money (I still like to believe the ones asking were just joking). Being the vehemently law-abiding citizen that he was, his philosophy - and his standard reply - was a simple one: it is not worth getting caught for forging a few notes, and if you print vast amounts you will definitely get caught. Although I remember the response well, I do not remember ever knowing how much of this kind of thing was going on or how much counterfeit money was actually ever in circulation back in the days before checking larger-value notes under ultra-violet lights was standard procedure.
Well that was then and this is the much more security-conscious now... last month we saw the South African Reserve Bank launch new bank notes with improved security features, which went into circulation this month.
The new R10, R20, R50, R100 and R200 denomination notes have various visible features, namely the watermark, a registration/transparent security feature, a unique numbering and a security thread.
Other features are only apparent when the note is viewed at an angle: colour-changing ink (on the number value on the front bottom right of the R50, R100 and R200 notes), a hidden image, a shimmering gold band at the back of the note and a holographic coat of arms in the visible security thread.
For those of you who have not yet seen the notes, the Big Five animals are still depicted on the front of the respective notes, with the economic sector themes on the reverse. What has also changed is that new features for the blind have been included and the notes now display the national coat of arms and use all 11 official languages across the denominations.
As you will have noticed, the magazine is bulkier than usual as it includes the Securex Showcase 2005, which I hope will whet your appetites to get down to the Sandton Convention Centre on 2, 3 and 4 March to experience the 11th annual Securex - South Africa's International Security & Protection Trade Exhibition.
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