The Costa Rican monetary family is adding two new members. On Tuesday evening, Costa Rica’s Central Bank (BCCR) unveiled the new lineup of national bills, which includes denominations of ¢20,000 and ¢50,000, the two largest notes in the country’s history.
Within the next year, six new bills will go into circulation, including redesigned versions of the existing ¢1,000, ¢2,000, ¢5,000 and ¢10,000 notes, as well as the new ¢20,000 and ¢50,000 denominations.
According to Marvin Alvarado, the BCCR’s treasury director, the ¢20,000 note is the first bill slated to enter into circulation and will be distributed in August. Alvarado said the new ¢2,000 bill will be released in September, followed shortly by the ¢1,000, ¢5,000 and ¢10,000 notes. The ¢50,000 bill is expected to be released in early 2011.
Each of the new bills will have a different length, which will increase with the value of the bill. The bills will all be adorned with a unique design, including a different Costa Rican historical figure, ecosystem and color. The ¢20,000 note features a picture of María Isabel Carvajal, better known as Carmen Lyra, a renowned Costa Rican author and writer. The highland paramo ecosystem and a hummingbird are displayed on the back of the bill.
To protect against counterfeit bills, each bill will have an internal thread that runs its length, a small hologram image of Costa Rica that changes color, a watermark of the historical figure’s face, and fine background print that reads “Costa Rica” running the length of the bill.
Alvarado said the release of the larger ¢20,000 and ¢50,000 bills would help “reactivate the economy.” However, because some retailers and service providers, such as taxis and buses, rarely accept ¢10,000 bills, Alvarado said that users of the new bills should exhibit discretion.
“If I am going to the airport in a taxi, for example, I’m not going to attempt to pay he ¢100 toll with a ¢20,000 bill,” Alvarado told The Tico Times. “I would end up with more coins than I knew what to do with. People will have to learn to use the bigger bills in appropriate situations.”