DuraNote polymer film banknotes to be revealed at UK auction

A newly-discovered set of DuraNote polymer film notes will draw strong attention from the numismatic community in an upcoming world banknotes auction on October 2-3.

As reported by Bank Note Reporter, the set of previously unknown trial notes was first discovered in the US 12 months ago and contains examples from the Bank of Canada, Bank of England and Banco Central de Venezuela. Of this set, 14 Canadian examples will feature in the October auction, with English and Venezuelan examples to follow later.

The banknotes were first produced in the 1980s by US chemical giant Mobil. The notes were constructed of 21 ultra-thin layers of Oriented Polypropelene (OPP), which was claimed to last longer than traditional paper printed notes, and could not be damaged so easily. The banknotes displayed a clear window which could be embedded with a range of security options that made them even more difficult to reproduce.

An initial run of DuraNote advertising examples were produced, which are frequently seen at auction, as well as test notes for 21 different countries. The October sale is the first time these test notes have appeared at auction.

The Bank of Canada notes at auction are of two different denominations, the $20 of 1991 and $50 of 1988, which were printed using the country's standard printing plates. Printed without serial numbers, they are both partial and full-note prints using a variety of different plate numbers.

The $50 notes are fully printed yet security features have not yet been added. In contrast, the $20 notes have only fully printed backs, yet all nine of the proposed security features are displayed. Full details have yet to be released by the auction house.

Mobil's DuraNote project was abandoned in 1998 following a company merger and the patents and technology were sold.

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