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According to its maker, polymer substrate cost roughly twice as much as paper but lasted at least four times as long, possibly even longer. It was able to contain a clear window, a unique security feature that could not be achieved on paper by the banknote paper suppliers or by counterfeiters. This window can incorporate an OVD viewable from both sides of the banknote, an advance as important and dramatic as the introduction of the first DOVIDs into banknotes but much less likely to be counterfeited.
The European Central Bank (ECB) highlighted this feature in its ‘Feel, look, tilt’ campaign for the euro launch on 1 January 2002. According to ECB research following the campaign, here are some of the other main security features and the fraction of the public that knew about them: watermark 64%, hologram stripe 57%, optically variable ink 34%. The average level of awareness was 54%, and only 11% of people questioned said they could recall no security features in the euro notes. This compared well with research carried out by the US Bureau of Printing and Engraving (BEP), which showed that 30% of the US public were aware of certain security features, chiefly security threads and watermarks, and 15% were aware of none at all.
The movement of colours in the thread is easily perceived by the general public and is an effective security device. Motion is incorporated into banknotes as a windowed security thread. It is an overt, optically variable security feature incorporating an array of microlenses. The microlenses project magnified versions of microscopic images, causing them to appear hundreds of times larger than their actual size – they behave like pixels that assemble into magnified images. As the angle of view changes, the focal point of each microlens sweeps across the image plane, creating a dramatic movement of the magnified images.
Developments in Banknotes by Pira International Ltd