50000 Rupiah Click to enlarge 100000 Rupiah Click to enlarge
Issue: 50000 and 100000 Rupiah

On 1st March 1993 Bank Indonesia, the issuing authority, issued its first polymer note, a Rp 50000, to commemorate 25 years of Economic Development under successive Soeharto Governments. Indonesia's First Long Term 25 Year Development Period commenced on 1st April, 1969 under his "New Order" programme, concluding 31st March, 1994. Whilst some may argue that the issue of the note was premature as the celebrations started before the end of the Development Period, the inescapable fact is the timing of the issue appears to have been influenced by the national elections of 1993.

Some reports indicate that this issue was limited to 5 million pieces, exceedingly small given the population. A paper equivalent, printed in Indonesia, was issued in much greater numbers shortly afterwards with date varieties through to 1998.

Without doubt, Indonesia experienced considerable economic growth and development during the years of the Development Period. It is therefore somewhat ironic that by the time this note (and its paper equivalent) was withdrawn from circulation on 21st August 2000, Indonesia suffered severely from the Asian economic crisis and in the accompanying political turmoil, President Soeharto was forced out of office in 1998. Many of the benefits gained under the 25 Year Development Plan were unfortunately lost although Indonesia was undoubtedly a stronger and more resilient economy than in 1969.

Whilst the notes are no longer legal tender, they can be redeemed through commercial banks until 20th August 2005 and through Bank Indonesia until 20th August 2010, at which point they will be demonetised.

The markets seemed to have some forewarning of withdrawal as Bank Indonesia issued a special notice on 23rd February, 2000 confirming its legal tender status and to relay fears of demonetisation. Apparently Saudi Arabian money changers were signalling that they would not accept the note and this was a concern to those intending to make their pilgrimage to Mecca.

It is understood that Bank Indonesia deliberately avoided the colour "red" in this note. Unlike Singapore (see Singapore section) this was not related to printing issues but because "red" has Communist overtones. Given an impending election, this perhaps is not surprising. In 1966, the army under the command of General Soeharto deposed Sukarno, his predecessor as President, and then embarked on a campaign against communist elements with which Sukarno had maintained an alliance for many years. Hence there was a strong anti- communist bias in the Soeharto regime.

Indonesia's second polymer issue occurred on 1st November, 1999, a Rp 100000. Bank Indonesia' press release stated: "The money will be made of polymer substrate (plastic) that lasts longer and is more difficult to be counterfeited than paper", quoted from (sic) Bank Indonesia Governor Syahril Sabirin today in Jakarta. To avoid money frauds, the money is completed with anti counterfeiting visible and touchable element to enable the public being familiar with originality of the money. The Governor explains that the issuance of new emission money is to ease and to accelerate cash transactions."

Issue of this note was a key measure in the Bank's Millennium Computer Bug programme. Most central bank's throughout the World embarked upon substantial stockpiling of currency in the lead up to 1st January, 2000, in anticipation of an extraordinary demand for cash in the event computer systems crashed.

Aulia Pohen, a Deputy Governor of the Bank commented that Rp 50 trillion of notes would be issued within a month - i.e. 500 million notes; a considerable logistical exercise given the essential security precautions which would be required. At the time Note Printing Australia (NPA) was engaged in printing notes to cater for Australia's Y2K requirements, issues for New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and perhaps others. In addition to those requirements, Securency was also manufacturing substrate for Northern Ireland. It is understood that at his time the resources of NPA and Securency were highly taxed. Portion of this issue was therefore printed by the Note Printing Works of the Bank of Thailand (TBPW). Attempts to identify NPA and TBPW printings by serial prefix or otherwise have been inconclusive.

Bank Indonesia issued several press releases to allay public concerns about the 100000Rp. The "05" date in the Proclamation text on the front of the note caused confusion such that on 18th November 1999, Bank Indonesia issued a special release confirming the correct printing of the note and that the text was in accordance with Indonesia's independence proclamation.

This proclamation was made on 17th August, 1945 upon surrender of the Japanese in Word War II. Indonesia was still under Japanese occupation and their dating system (at least for occupied territories) expressed this as 17th August, 2605. Former President Sukarno (6.6.1901- 21.6.1970) who features prominently on the note, was a leading force in Indonesia's independence movement and, whilst no longer alive, his memory enjoyed a resurgence in popularity following Soeharto's demise.

Apparently some impaired notes escaped quality control checks in the printing process and were released. Such impaired money was being subjected to extreme tests by the public in order to verify its validity which had the effect of destroying confidence in those particular notes; for example, the use of sharp instruments to scrape of the various coatings of lacquers and inks.

Accordingly Bank Indonesia recognised the incidence of the impaired notes, confirmed that such notes could be exchanged at any commercial bank ( as long as not counterfeits) and emphasised the security features of the notes ( see separate section below) by which genuine notes could be easily distinguished from counterfeits. In the first few months of issue, Bank Indonesia issued several positive press statements concerning the reliability of the polymer technology and the lack of detection of forgeries of polymer notes.

Indonesia - Front - P134 - 50000Rp
Indonesia - Front - P134 - 50000Rp

Description: President Soeharto, "The Father of Indonesian Development", is portrayed on the front of the note towards the left. There are several small vignettes illustrating Indonesian's development in education, agriculture, infrastructure, oil exploration, industry, tourism, and demonstrating in religious and social cohesion. Indonesia's Coat of Arms is at the top right.

Jakarta's Soekarno - Hatta International Airport occupies much of the back. A Garuda International Boeing 747 is above the airport signifying continued growth and prosperity.

Intricate line drawings on both sides of the note, which are difficult to counterfeit successfully, surround the Optically Variable Device.

Security Features: Those discrete to this note include:
(a) A portrait of President Soeharto as a sophisticated anti - counterfeiting Optically Variable Device ( OVD) within the clear window. This Device, visible from both sides of the note, diffracts light there by producing a varying rainbow pattern when the viewing angle is altered. The OVD is one of the more advanced security features arising out of the polymer technology. Some OVD's become pitted as they age.
(b) Perfect registration feature to the left of the OVD when viewed from the front.
(c) In a practice which has become a hall mark of polymer notes, the serial number appears on the back of the note.
(d) BI image on front at top left of OVD partially fluoresces. There is also a small fluoro image above 50000RP at bottom right. On the back above the airport 50000 in a box fluoresces. There appears to special background imagery. There is also fluorescence in several of the patterns.

Catalogue No:SCWPM P134a. Folder version is P134b.
Precise Date of Issue:1st March 1993. Note is dated 1993.
Numbers Issued:At least 5,000,000.
Prefix Range:Not available.
Signature:Governor of Bank - A. Mooy.
Director - Hasudungan Tampubolon
Colour:Light grey with green and blue.
Languages:Bahasa Indonesia and English.
Dimensions:154 x 77 mm.
Printer:Note Printing Australia (NPA) on Guardian polymer substrate.
Specimens:Officially numbered specimens (eg with 0194 as specimen number) with AAA 000000 serial number exist. These notes also carry "SPECIMEN" and "TIDAK BERLAKU" meaning "no value."
Replacements:None sighted. All issued notes have a "ZZ-" prefix including "ZZZ" but these are not replacements. Presumed not to exist. NPA discourages use.
Country Ranking:Indonesia is the 6th country to issue a NPA based polymer note.
Printing Method:Intaglio.
Sheet size:Not available ( production process only).

The position of product for this issue is confusing. Originally it was intended to issue uncut sheets through a tender process. This did not occur however it is believed that whilst sheets were printed they did not become available to the public.

Initially notes were to be issued in a folder with a ZZZ prefix and with a serial number less than 50,000. Issue price was double face value. However notes with any prefix and number then appeared in folders. The folders were produced in Indonesia.

There is a school of thought that all notes were to be released in folders however sales targets were not met and loose notes were generally released into circulation. Notes in bundles of 100 have been seen. Indonesia issued a newly designed paper 50000Rp in 1999 and the general release of the polymer is believed to have commenced in 1998 in anticipation of this paper issue.

Indonesia - P140 - 100000Rp - Front
Indonesia - P140 - 100000Rp - Front

Description: Former President Dr Sukarno and his Vice - President of many years, Dr Mohammad Hatta (12.8.1901-14.3.1980) feature prominently on the front of the note. Indonesia's Coat of Arms appears at top right.

Indonesia's Parliament, the Peoples' Consultative Assembly (Majelis Permusyawaratan Rakyat) also known as the House of Representatives and the Dewan Perwaklin Rakyat, is the main feature on the back of the note superimposed on a background of intricate lines. Logo of Bank Indonesia above Parliament building.

Security Features: Those discrete to this note are:
(a) A coloured window in red incorporating the Bank Indonesia logo.
(b) Directly below the logo are two clear windows with rice and cotton leaves creating an overall impression of a flower blossom together with (a) above.
(c) Logo of Bank Indonesia above Parliament building matches with logo in coloured windowed when note is curved over however the letter "I" will NOT be clearly seen.
(d) A curved imitation security thread with printing of "BANK INDONESIA 100000".
(e) Micro-printing of "100000" in line below "BANK INDONESIA" on front of note.
(f) Shadow image as viewed from front and back of Coat of Arms of Indonesia to left of clear and coloured windows on front of note.
(g) Serial numbers at the bottom left fluoresce (not the right one). Their appears to be dual colours creating a blurred effect, 100000 in a solid block also fluoresces with the denominations off center. These features are on the back; there is no fluorescence on the front.

Catalogue No:SCWPM P140.
Precise Date of Issue:1st November 1999. Note is dated 1999.
Numbers Issued:500,000,000.
Prefix Range:Not available.
Signature:Governor of Bank - Dr. Syahril Sabirin.
Deputy Governor - Iwan R. Prawiranata.
Colour:Orange, green , cream, blue and light pink.
Languages:Bahasa Indonesia and English.
Dimensions:151 x 65 mm.
Printer:Note Printing Australia ( NPA) and Note Printing Works of the Bank of Thailand (TBPW)
Specimens:AAA 000000 specimens exist. AMP 000000 also sighted.
Whilst it is thought that official specimens will carry "SPECIMEN" and "TIDAK BERLAKU" (meaning "no value"), none have been sighted.
Replacements:None sighted. Presumed not to exist. NPA discourages use.
Country Ranking:Indonesia is the 6th country to issue a NPA based polymer note.
Printing Method:Intaglio.
Sheet size:Not available ( production process only).
Product:None known.