Colombia will soon introduce a redesigned 50,000-peso bill that features a portrait of renowned Nobel Prize-winning author Gabriel García Márquez. There has been speculation ever since the writer’s death in April 2014 that he would be put onto the nation’s money, and now the beloved “Gabo” will grace the front of what was, until recently, Colombia’s largest bill.
In April, the central bank announced it would begin printing, for the first time, a 100,000-peso note. With the devaluation of the nation’s currency in recent years, this is now the equivalent of roughly a $33 USD bill. But it has yet to begin circulating widely in a country where everyone from taxi drivers to small store clerks have enough difficulty making change for a 50,000 bill.
The revamped 50,000 — like the previous 50,000, new 100,000, and redesigned 20,000 that was launched this year by the Banco de la República — will not feature extra zeros. In what appears to be a rebranding effort across all denominations, the note officially only says “50 MIL” or “CINCUENTA MIL” to demarcate its value. This matches the term used locally to discuss currency (with “mil,” pronounced “mill,” meaning 1,000 in Spanish).
The new 50,000 also appears to have most of the same security features as the recently relaunched 20,000. These include strands of vibrant colors that change shades with movement, a watermark with 3D effect, raised images, micro-lettering of BRC (Banco de la República Colombia) stitched into the design, patterns that can only be seen in ultraviolet light, and tactile elements that differentiate the 20 mil bill from other denominations. Certain security aspects can also be read by machines dedicated to authenticating currency.
In addition to Gabriel García Márquez, who is seen alongside the butterflies that have come to symbolize his Magical Realism stye, the new 50 mil also recognizes the indigenous culture of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. The backside of the bill features two Arawak Indians in front of their traditional homes alongside an image of La Ciudad Perdida, the “Lost City” near the Caribbean coast that highlights the heights of this great civilization. Ciudad Perdida is currently a ruin that has become one of the most famous tourist attractions in Colombia.
The central bank will host an official introduction of the new 50 mil note on August 19 in Bogotá, describing its security features and other important features.
Image: Banco de la República