Although banknotes had been previously introduced to the island, including the $2 bill, it wasn’t until after the island’s Independence in 1966 that all denominations of banknotes were in real circulation in Barbados.
On 3 December 1973, the Central Bank of Barbados (CBB) introduced notes with the denominations of 1, 5, 10, 20 and 100 dollars.
It wasn’t until 1980 that the 2 dollar note was introduced and became the lowest denomination of printed Barbadian currency; after 1973, the 1 dollar note was not issued again.
Did you know? The now defunct red 1 dollar note featured the image of Samuel Jackman Prescod.
On 2 May 2013, the CBB issued a new series of Barbadian banknotes, with a more modern design and color scheme.
Note: All notes issued by the CBB from 1973 to present are still accepted island-wide.
According to the CBB, the basic design of Barbadian banknotes is uniform:
— The denomination in numerals and in words
— A unique serial number
— The words ‘Central Bank of Barbados‘
— The national Coat of Arms, a broken trident, and map of Barbados
— Raised numerical ‘dots‘
— The signature of the Governor in office at the time of printing
— The official launch date of the new series.
The front of all Barbadian banknotes has a portrait of a notable Barbadian who made a significant contribution to the island’s history and development. On the back, they depict a vignette linked to the featured person.
Note: The older ‘family’ of banknotes feature a vignette of the Parliament Buildings and the Careenage.
Barbadian banknotes currently in circulation are:
— 2 dollars (blue)
— 5 dollars (green)
— 10 dollars (brown)
— 20 dollars (purple)
— 50 dollars (orange)
— 100 dollars (grey).
Note: Information accurate as at March 2015.
Design Features Of The $2 Bill
Blue with red elements, Barbadian $2 notes feature a portrait of John Redman Bovell.
The front of the $2 bill features the national Coat of Arms, a broken trident, a map of Barbados, and the signature of the Governor in office at the time of printing.
Note: Newer $2 notes are printed with an electrotype featuring a broken trident.
John Redman Bovell
John Redman Bovell (1855 – 1928) was an internationally-renowned scientist and agronomist (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agronomy), credited with almost single-handedly transforming the Caribbean sugar cane industry.
In the 1880s, introduction of sugar beet to European markets, alongside drought and other conditions, was hurting Caribbean sugar cane producers.
Bovell financed his own innovative sugar cane research, resulting in Barbados being considered the leading sugar cane breeding station in the Caribbean.
Did you know? Bovell also developed several strains of Barbados’ famous Sea Island cotton.
Bovell’s agricultural work and research earned him the appointment as Agricultural Superintendent of sugar cane experiments, as well as the Imperial Service Star (1908) for his contribution to tropical agriculture.
Barbados Coat of Arms
Barbados’ national Coat of Arms carries the motto ‘Pride and Industry‘ and symbolizes national strength, pride, and integrity.
It was presented to the President of the Senate by her Majesty the Queen during a Royal Visit to Barbados and officially adopted in 1966, the same year Barbados declared its Independence from Britain.
Barbadian $2 notes display the image of a broken trident, which also features on the Barbadian national flag.
It symbolizes Barbados’ break from Britain’s colonial rule; the three trident prongs are said to represent the three principles of democracy.
There is one raised dot to equal $2 on the top left-hand corner of the $2 bill to help the visually impaired identify the banknote’s denomination.
The back of the $2 note features an illustration of the Morgan Lewis Windmill, used to grind sugar cane from 1727 to 1945; a clear nod to John Redman Bovell’s unparalleled commitment to agriculture and the Barbadian cane industry.
New Security Features
There are also updated security features on the newer ‘family’ of Barbadian banknotes.
On the $2 bill, these include:
— Watermarks of John Redman Bovell and the number ‘2’, when the note is held up to the light.
— When held up to the light, the broken trident becomes tinted with blue.
— A wave-like ‘thread’ that becomes a complete line when the note is held up to the light.
— A hidden number ‘2’, seen at certain angles.
— UV reactive ink and invisible fibres that glow under UV light.