A Scottish banknote has been named among the 'most beautiful in the world' for 2022.

With nearly 100 new banknotes released worldwide during 2022, only 19 were deemed of sufficiently new design to be member nominated for the prestigious ‘Banknote of the Year Award’.

The award is an initiative of The International Bank Note Society (IBNS) to recognize an exceptional banknote issued each year. 

The IBNS consider the artistic merit, design, use of colour, contrast, balance and security features of each nomination.

Each nominated note must have been issued to the public for the first time during the year of the award, have artistic merit and/or innovative security features and be in general circulation. 

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This year’s winner was ‘overwhelming favourite’ Philippines Central Bank’s 1000 Piso note, with Bank Of Scotland’s £100 note named in third place behind Ulster Bank’s £50 bill.

Rounding out the top six were Algeria’s 2000 Dinar (featuring Algeria’s martyr’s memorial with a minaret), the Barbados 50 Dollar (featuring former prime minister Errol Barrow) and Egypt’s 10 Pound (featuring a mosque with a pyramid and ancient queen) banknotes. 

All six continue the popular polymer trend in banknote printing.

The £100 Bank of Scotland polymer note, the first to celebrate the contribution of a significant Scottish person, features Scottish medical pioneer and suffragette Dr Flora Murray CBE. 

Dr Murray was a Scottish physician and a committed member of the Women’s Social and Political Union suffragettes. Born in Murraythwaite, Dumfries, Dr Murray qualified as a doctor in 1905. In 1912 she founded the Women’s Hospital for Children in London with her lifelong partner Dr Louisa Garrett Anderson, which provided healthcare for children of factory and shop workers in the area, who were low paid so accessing health care was difficult.

The Herald: Bank of Scotland's £100 NoteBank of Scotland's £100 Note (Image: IBNS)

With the onset of World War I in 1914, Dr Murray and Dr Garrett Anderson founded the feminist organisation ‘Women’s Hospital Corps’ and opened two military hospitals in France, staffed entirely by female suffragettes. The hospitals were such a success that in 1915, the British war office provided them with premises in London, which they together transformed into the Endell Street Military Hospital, the first in the UK established for men by female medical professionals. The hospitals treated more than 50,000 seriously injured soldiers.

In 1917, Dr Murray was awarded a CBE for her work and medical efforts during the war, with her relationship with Louisa continuing until her death in 1923.

In addition to the colourful foil image of Dr Murray, the front of the note portrays the Scottish novelist and poet Sir Walter Scott, alongside an image of The Mound in Edinburgh.

On the reverse of the first £100 green note is a striking portrait of Dr Murray, painted by Francis Dodd in 1921. It is accompanied by an image of female stretcher bearers outside Endell Street Hospital, London, bringing to life the significance Dr Murray had on the medical world and the fight for women’s rights.

The note, which entered circulation on May 9, 2022, has important security features which include an anti-counterfeit ‘window effect’ – transparent windows within The Mound frontage and a transparent vertical stripe – on the front of the note. Inside the vertical stripe is a multicoloured holographic foil strip which displays the image of Dr Murray, the bank’s logo, and ’£100.’ The foil also displays a ‘Northern Lights’ effect, with stars and colours resembling the phenomena appearing when the note is tilted.

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A Bank of Scotland spokesperson said: “Bank of Scotland has issued bank notes showcasing our country’s incredible history for more than 320 years and we’ve put the contribution of exceptional Scottish people into the spotlight too.

"We are so proud that our £100 polymer note commemorates the remarkable work of Dr Flora Murray who, alongside being a medical pioneer, spent her adult life fighting for women’s rights as a suffragette."

The second place position for the Bank Of Scotland’s £100 note comes after the Bank of Scotland’s £50 note was awarded the IBNS Banknote of the Year Award back in 2007.

IBNS judges considered the £50 note, which also features a portrait of Sir Walter Scott, to be a bold design and an outstanding representative of a series of notes issued by the Bank of Scotland in September of that year.