Days numbered for 50 crown banknote

The days of the pale-red 50 crown banknote, featuring the likeness of Saint Agnes of Bohemia, are numbered. In an aim to cut back on costs, the Czech National Bank announced the paper 50 would be taken out of circulation by the spring of 2011. It will be fully replaced by the copper and zinc 50, which has gradually dominated the bill in recent years.

A little earlier my colleague Jan Velinger spoke to Marek Petruš, the Czech National Bank’s spokesman:

“By terminating the 50 crown banknote the Czech National Bank will directly lower the costs associated with ensuring smooth currency; coins have a much longer shelf life than bills. By removing the 50 crown note from circulation we will lower direct expenditure associated with issuing money.”

How high were the costs in maintaining the banknotes?

Marek PetrušMarek Petruš “I can’t talk about the costs specifically but I can give you say that the number of 50 crown banknotes compared to coins has changed significantly over the years. if we look back, since 2005 the number of 50 crown bills in circulation since the end of 2005 has fallen by some 14 million to the current 18 million. Adversely, the number of coins increased from 5 million in 2005 to 59 million. So, you can see that the ratio has moved strongly in favour of coins. Regarding shelf life: coins have a shelf life of about 15 years, while bills only three.”

So obviously a big difference there... How soon will the process of taking the 50 out of circulation be completed?

“We are counting on the pre-Christmas period and early 2011 to gradually take the banknote out of circulation and by the end of March the process be complete. As of April 1, only the coins will still be legal tender.” Even so, my understanding is that consumers will still be able to exchange their 50 crown banknotes at commercial banks for some time – is that correct?

“Yes, like when other bills or coins were phased out there will be a one-year period during which customers will be able to exchange the bills at either commercial banks or the Czech National Bank. An additional period of several years will also be available for customers to exchange their 50 crown banknotes for coins at any branch of the CNB.”