Frequently asked questions
Can I copy/modify banknotes, for instance, for advertising purposes?
The Riksbank often receives enquiries regarding the rules applying to copying of banknotes. This usually concerns a request to copy banknote motifs for advertising purposes. The answer regularly given to these enquiries is that the Riksbank always advises against copying banknotes, as there is always a risk that a copy of a banknote can be used for fraudulent purposes, i.e. as a counterfeit. It is not possible to provide approval for any copying of banknotes. Ultimately, the question of legality is determined by a prosecutor and court of law.
You can find further information on this subject in the menu on the left under "Copying of banknotes".
What do I do if I find banknotes that are no longer valid?
You should send them to Sveriges Riksbank, Redemption of banknotes, Box 170, 431 22 Mölndal, and for safety’s sake as an insured parcel. Include an explanation of why the banknotes have not been redeemed earlier and provide an International Bank Account Number (IBAN) to which the corresponding amount can be credited. We charge a small fee for administration costs, currently SEK 100, for redeeming this type of banknotes, which will be deducted from the total nominal amount.
How many banknotes are in circulation?
At the end of 2005/beginning of 2006, there were approximately 382 million banknotes in circulation, amounting to a total value of SEK 106 billion.
What is the most common banknote?
The denomination that dominates in terms of quantity of notes in circulation is the 100-kronor note; at the end of 2005/beginning of 2006 there were just over 96 million of these in circulation. This is followed by the 500-kronor note, with almost 94 million and the 20-kronor note with around 83 million. There were around 45 million 1,000-kronor notes in circulation and just over 25 million 50-kronor notes. An interesting fact is that there were also a good 23 million of the old 10-kronor banknotes in circulation and 16 million old 5-kronor notes.
Why did you make the 20-kronor note smaller and change the colours in 1998?
The main reason was that we received many comments from our customers that it was easy to confuse the old 20-kronor note with the 100-kronor note. We could see the problem for ourselves, in the banknotes we received from post offices and banks, as it was common for a 20-kronor note to be mixed in with the 100-kronor note bundles.
Do old banknotes have any collector’s value?
Really old banknotes may have collector’s value to numismatists. Otherwise, low-denomination banknotes sometimes have sentimental value as collector's items; someone might want to save a banknote from the year of their birth, for instance. The coin trade is better able to answer questions regarding collector's value. However, one can assume that high-denomination notes - for instance a 1,000-kronor note – would need to be very unique to reach or exceed its nominal value.
If one has half of a banknote, how much is it worth?
Half of a banknote is worth half of the banknote’s nominal value, which sounds nice and simple. However, things become slightly more complicated if you have a note that is larger or smaller than one half. Then the rules state that if you have at least two-thirds of a whole banknotes, we will redeem it for the full nominal amount. Similarly, if the note is less than two-thirds but more than one-third of a whole note, you will receive half of the nominal amount. However, this does not apply to banknotes that have been deliberately damaged. You should turn to your local bank to replace or exchange a damaged banknote. Deliberately damaged banknotes are not redeemed.
What does it cost to make a banknote?
It varies slightly, depending on the denomination, but we usually say that it costs around one krona.
Why did the 50-kronor note make a comeback?
This was largely to accommodate the retail trade, which lobbied the Riksbank extensively when we withdrew the old 50-kronor note.
Why did you withdraw the 50-kronor note in the first place?
The 50-kronor note was then – and to some extent also now – very little used. Its percentage of the banknotes in circulation was around 5 per cent when we withdrew it. It was perceived as wearing out quickly, which may have been because it was treated rather like small change, which circulates without ever coming back to the bank. In addition, the 20-kronor note was issued, and we believed that this would be sufficient as low-denomination note. It was not until the 50-kronor note was withdrawn that people reacted; as they say, "you don't miss something until it’s gone".
Why don’t we have plastic banknotes in Sweden like they do in Australia?
Tumba Bruk did at one point look into the Australian plastic banknotes, but did not consider this concept to be a suitable alternative for Swedish banknotes, partly because it requires a different printing technique. The technique was not established when the decision on the present banknote series was made and there are disadvantages to changing existing banknote types; this was made clear to us when the new watermark was introduced on the 100-kronor banknote. Plastic banknotes are said to be more expensive to produce, although they last longer. Traditional “banknote professionals” also claim that banknotes shall contain paper made from cotton, not from oil products.
Does the Riksbank hold gold corresponding to the value of all of the banknotes in circulation?
One can further develop the answer to this question somewhat. Prior to 1931 we had something called the gold standard, which meant that you could redeem your banknotes for gold coins. The gold was meant to guarantee the value of the banknotes the Riksbank issued. According to the Swedish constitution laws applying up to 1975, the Riksbank was obliged to redeem on request banknotes it had issued against gold coins, however after 1931 there was a special additional law that exempted the Riksbank from this obligation. This law was renewed every year until the new constitional laws came into force in 1975.
What do I do if I find a counterfeit banknote in my wallet?
Then you have problems, as you are not allowed to use a counterfeit note as payment. If you do so deliberately, you can actually be given a prison sentence (serious crimes of forgery can warrant up to two years in prison). It is thus the actual use of counterfeit banknotes as a means of payment that is a crime, although having a home printing works could of course be regarded as preparation for passing forgeries.
What you should do with your counterfeit note is to try to remember how you came by it and report it to the police. Counterfeit notes that we detect in our cash management are sent to the police for investigation. The police are interested in tracking down forgers, which means it is useful if the chain can be traced back as far as possible. However, once you have accepted a counterfeit note, you have forfeited that amount, as you cannot legally make further use of the note.
Who decides on the appearance of banknotes?
The Riksbank’s monopoly on issuing banknotes also includes a monopoly on determining their appearance. The design of the current banknotes has thus been determined by the General Council of the Riksbank (on suggestions from a committee including artistic representatives attached to Crane & Co).