New 50 sol bill in circulation

The Central Reserve Bank of the Republic of Peru (BCRP) today brings out the new 50 sol banknote, with added security features. This is the last of the bills in regular circulation (10, 20, 50 and 100 sol) to be replaced in this way. 

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Security ink changes color depending on the angle of the light

Instead of the iridescent hexagons of the old series, the new bill features an iridescent overprinting in the center of the face side, with an inca motif and “BCRP 50” visible in the right lighting conditions. It also has an embedded holographic security strip on the same side, and ink that changes color more clearly on the number 50 just to the left of the face. Otherwise similar to the old series 50, which remains in circulation, the new bill also features most of the security features of its predecessor. These include a clear watermark, intaglio printing, fibers in the paper that are visible in normal and UV light, and motifs on the two sides of the bill that align exactly when held up to the light. 

Forgery is big business in Peru, and this move is a response to increasingly high-tech fakes that are almost impossible to spot, with near-perfect replicas of even 10 sol bills.

The new security features will take time to be replicated by forgers, but readers should be aware that even the color changing ink, watermarks and security strips are commonly seen on fakes. The feel of the paper is a good indicator, as is the fact that fakes are made of two sheets of paper pasted together. Worrying a corner or edge with your fingers will often make a fake bill start to split into two layers, something that never happens with real currency regardless of its age and degradation. 

Fakes are often passed off in tourist centers and by taxi drivers and unofficial money changers. The Ecuador-Peru border is rife with them. Be particularly suspicious of a passing taxi whose passenger supposedly needs to break a large bill, and if in any doubt refuse a bill. 50 sol and other bills from the old series remain in circulation as they are gradually replaced with the new ones, which are produced by French company François-Charles Oberthur Fiduciaire.

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