27 Mar 20247 min readin Forensics & authentication

Masterpieces in Banknote Holograms Across the World

Olga Kokoulina

Content Marketing Manager, Regula

A banknote hologram may seem shiny, funny and eye-catching security feature. However, having a complex structure of diffraction gratings it is not just a real gem of a banknote but a guardian of banknote authenticity. 

As the frequency of counterfeiting money rises, hologram integration has emerged as a proven method to fight against such type of crime. Current banknotes can boast of not only one or two holograms but a whole stripe of complex holograms which discourage counterfeits due to the difficulty of replication. Besides, today's holograms on banknotes contain not only motion effect or changing-whatever-it-may-be but also they accommodate microprinting and nano printing.  

The significant area occupied by modern holograms not only makes the initial visual authenticity verification of the banknote available even to ordinary citizens, but also adds an element of beauty that goes beyond their protective purpose. So, as we appreciate the security they provide, let's also celebrate the artistry by exploring 12 examples of outstanding holograms on current banknotes from all over the world, shall we?

We have made a selection of the most attractive holograms on banknotes from our Information Reference System Currency.

Disclaimer: sampling in this article is made only to produce wow effect, it is not for comparing or downplaying the artistic component of other banknotes.

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Fiji Dollar, 2023 Commemorative

The first banknote in the list is a polymer 100-cent numismatic banknote that was released to commemorate the Lunar Year of the Dragon. 

It has a three-part holographic window stripe depicting Fijan flora and fauna as well as the denomination “100” in gold color. The fish and coral motif uses depth and movement effects with the fish moving in opposing directions when the banknote is tilted or exposed to lights switching in a circle.

Barbados Dollar, 2022

In 2022, the Central Bank of Barbados introduced six new polymer banknotes. The design is very similar to the previous series but now banknotes have a new vertical design. 

The blue-gray  BBD$100 banknote features politician Grantley Adams. The reverse side is dedicated to landscapes of Grantley Adams International Airport. The holographic stripe depicts all of the mentioned features: 100-dollar denomination, Barbados trident, and the International Airport with taking off planes.

UAE Dirham, 2022, Commemorative

In 2022, the Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates introduced a new 1000 Dirhams banknote to mark the 51st UAE National Day. This polymer banknote showcases Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan, former president and founder of the UAE, alongside the HOPE Probe Spacecraft from the Emirates Mars Mission. Additionally, the banknote features the orbiter satellite and the Tanegashima Space Center.

The glorifying hologram represents the first Emirati astronaut to reach space. Below, there is a changing denomination with currency abbreviation AED, which also appears as microprinting and nano printing on different parts of the hologram.

New Zealand Dollar, 2016

This purple, brown and orange polymer banknote was issued by the Reserve Bank of New Zealand in 2015. The NZD$50 banknote is dedicated to Sir Āpirana Ngata, who was a prominent New Zealand statesman,  known for his work in promoting and protecting Māori culture and language. The hologram features kōkako bird, banknote denomination as well as ferns and the New Zealand contour map. 

The New Zealand 50-dollar banknote. Visualization of the holographic stripe as well as its elements under magnification.

Pound Sterling, 2020

Let’s move on to the world’s oldest currency. 

Pound sterling is always on the list of most-traded currencies in the foreign exchange market, and despite sophisticated anti-counterfeiting features, from time to time it is counterfeited. The front side of the current 50-pound banknote commemorates Queen Elizabeth II, the former and longest-reigning monarch in the U.K.’s history. 

It has three elements. The first one is dedicated to the glowing of the coronation crown. The central one includes the part where within the two gold squares, the image changes between denomination and the pound symbol '£' when the banknote is tilted. The third part contains interchangeable words ‘Fifty’ and ‘Pounds’.

The British 50-pound sterling banknote. Visualization of the holographic stripe as well as its elements under magnification.

Scotland Pound Sterling, 2021

The front side of the Scotland pound sterling of the 2021’s series is dedicated to the traditional character of the national currency, Walter Scott, a British historian, novelist, poet, and playwright. Also on this banknote appears Dr Flora Murray, who was a Scottish medical pioneer, and a member of the Women's Social and Political Union suffragettes. Her portraits are located on the reverse side and make up a part of the hologram as well.

Its complex hologram depicts the Mound in Edinburgh — the bank of Scotland building, a thistle — Scotland’s national flower, banknote denomination as well as the portrait of Dr Flora Murray.

Philippine Peso, 2022

Our list couldn't help but include the winning banknote of the International Banknote society’s (IBNS) “Banknote of the Year” award and “Best New Banknote” for the year 2023 in the High Security PrintingTM Asia’s (HSPA). 

The 1000-peso banknote issued by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas has an environmental motif which calls for special attention to endangered species, for instance, an eagle, the namesake Philippine eagle. The hologram integrated in the clear window showcases the coat of arms of the Philippines, as well as banknote denomination and the logo of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

East Caribbean Dollar, 2019

The East Caribbean dollar is the currency of all seven full members and one associate member of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States: Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. The late Queen Elizabeth II appears on the banknotes as she was the head of state of almost all the states and territories using the EC$, except for Dominica. 

The integrated holographic foil stripe creates the effect of motion of XCD$100 denomination and native animals.

Egyptian Pound, 2022

The new 20-pound banknote issued in 2022 represents modern design but preserving the heritage of the ancient Pharaonic civilization. The front side of the banknote depicts Mohamed Ali mosque, the image of which is also applied to a hologram. The hologram contains microprinting and even nano printing of the abbreviation of the issuing authority — the Central Bank of Egypt.

The Egyptian 20-pound banknote. Visualization of the holographic stripe as well as its elements under magnification.

Canadian Dollar, 2018

Canadian vertical $10 banknote commemorates Viola Desmond who was a Canadian civil and women’s rights activist and businesswoman convicted and fined for refusing to leave a whites-only area of the Roseland Theatre.

An absolutely stunning hologram that is integrated into a clear window depicts the dome ceiling of the Library of Parliament. A representation of the Gothic Revival style of architecture it symbolizes democracy that is a cornerstone in today’s Canada. On both sides of the central hologram there are the holographic coat of arms of Canada and the symbol of Canada — a maple leaf.

Costa Rican Colon, 2019

The Costa Rican 10.000 colones of the 2019’s series depicts the former president of Costa Rica José Figueres Ferrer. The embedded hologram represents the coat of arms as well as the portrait of the president Ferrer. The hologram shelters microprinting and nano printing. The part “10 MIL” changes to “BCCR” abbreviation which stands for Banco Central de Costa Rica.

The Costa Rican 10 000-colon banknote. Visualization of the holographic stripe as well as its elements under magnification.

Australian Dollar, 2019

As stated by the Reserve bank of Australia, it possesses one of the most secure and stable currencies globally and has maintained low incidences of counterfeiting over years. The front side of the AUD$20 banknote of the 2019’s series represents May Reibey, a convict who arrived in Australia and later became legendary as a successful businesswoman and trader in the colony. 

Each denomination within this series of banknotes showcases a distinct combination of plants and birds native to Australia. The hologram represents Acacia buxifolia and the Laughing Kookaburra. Microprinting represented on the hologram names the ships owned by Mary Reiby—Edwin, Governor Macquarie, James, John Palmer, Mercury and Raven.

The Australian 20-dollar banknote. Visualization of the holographic stripe as well as its elements under magnification.


Hope you’ve enjoyed our list and got aesthetic pleasure. We had to limit ourselves to just 12 holograms, although there are a lot more state-of-the-art holograms that must be included in the list. So, if you have more examples of stunning holograms in banknotes, don’t forget to share them with us in Regula’s LinkedIn group and don’t hesitate to subscribe if you’d like to see more of such eye-pleasing content.

This sampling was made with the use of Information Reference System Currency, a comprehensive weekly updated catalog of currency that counts thousands of banknotes with clickable security features and printing techniques. This catalog will become your helping hand in carrying out authenticity verification of banknotes anywhere and everywhere, whether you are involved in the banking/financial sphere or any other sphere that require authenticity checks of banknotes.

All the hologram illustrations presented in this article were made with the OVD Analyzer Regula 2303, which can visualize different types of diffractive optically variable image devices (DOVIDs). It creates high-resolution images of the whole hologram or its fragments, as well as a sequence of images in GIF. format to evaluate a holographic effect in different illumination modes.

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