Size: 144 x 65mm
Paper type: Polymer
Main colour: Red/Orange
The Australian 20 dollar note was issued when the currency was changed from the Australian pound to the Australian dollar on 14 February 1966. It replaced the 10 pounds note which had the same orange colouration. There have been only two different issues of this denomination: a paper note which had a gradient of yellow and red, with a distinct orange background, and a polymer note which can be recognised for its distinct red-orange colouration. It is because of this vivid colour that the current note is often called a "lobster". The polymer note was issued in 1994.
Since the start of issuance there have been 14 signature combinations, of which the 1967 issue is of the greatest value, issued for one year only; and the 1989 Pillip/Fraser being issued for less than a year.
From 1966-1974 the main title identifying the country was Commonwealth of Australia, there were 146,960,000 notes issued in its life. This was subsequently changed to Australia until the end of the issuance of paper currency for this denomination in 1994 with 1,661,970,048 of these notes being issued.
The people depicted on the paper note issue were Charles Kingsford Smith on the obverse along with five Lissajous curves drawn by a two-pendulum harmonograph, and Lawrence Hargrave on the reverse with his drawings of kites and type aircraft designs.
The polymer note features Mary Reibey on the obverse with an early colonial building and sailing ship including her signature. John Flynn is on the reverse with features of the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia of a biplane de Havilland DH 50 victory supplied by Qantas, medical instruments, Coledge Harland (the man on the camel), who was a missionary to the inland people of Australia. His signature is included. A compass is in the clear window with the raised 20 lettering. These famous people are depicted against a definite red background.
Colouration is said to be red but has been debated many times over the years, some people claim it is of orange pigmentation. Official documentation states that the colour of the twenty dollar note is red. This polymer note is occasionally colloquially referred to as a “Red Back” after the Australian spider species of the same name.
According to Reserve Bank statistics, at the end of June 2015 there was a net value of $3,133 million in Australian 20 dollar notes in circulation representing 5% of the cash value of all issued notes. Actual banknotes in circulation account for 12% of all denominations, or 157 million notes.
In 2014/15 around 755 counterfeit 20 Australian dollar banknotes, with a nominal value of $15,100, were detected in circulation.
For detailed visualization of security features go to 50 Australian dollar note
- A clear window has a stylised image of a compass
printed in it, along with embossing of the number '20' (both can be seen from
either side of the banknote).
When the banknote is held to the light, a
seven pointed star within a circle is formed by four points on one side of the
banknote combining perfectly with three points on the other.
When the note is held to the light also, an image of the Australian Coat of Arms can
be seen under other printing.
The words 'TWENTY DOLLARS' are
microprinted and can be seen with the aid of a magnifying glass on the 20 Australian dollar note.
Slightly raised printing that can be felt with the fingers is used for
the portraits and other major design elements.
Intricate multi-coloured fine-line patterns and images appear on each side.
serial number is printed twice, in black, on the back of the banknote. A
different font is used for each number. The alpha prefix of two letters is
followed by two numerals representing the year of the production, followed by a
further six numerals. Under ultra-violet light, the serial numbers fluoresce.
Under ultra-violet light, a denominational patch showing the number '20'
becomes visible on the back of the Australian twenty dollar note.