To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the ATM, here are the world's most beautiful banknotes

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the automated teller machine (ATM). That means it’s been a full 50 years since the first cash dispenser was set up at Barclays Bank in Enfield, north London.

Where would you be without the ATM? Bereft of cash, that’s where.

In honour of the anniversary, take a look at some of the most beautiful banknotes from around the world that are delivered to you via the handy medium of the ATM.


Aussie dollars
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Larger than an English banknote, Aussie dollars are some of the most brightly-coloured banknotes around.

They also feature famous Australians such as poet Banjo Paterson and politician and suffragette Catherine Helen Spence.

South Africa

South African Rand
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Ever since the 1990s the South African rand has featured a picture of one of the Big Five on each denomination – the African lion, African elephant, buffalo, African leopard and rhinoceros.


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The ringgit – Malaysia’s currency – also comes in bright colours, and each note features the national flower: the hibiscus.


Egypt pound
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The Egyptian 100 pound note features one of the country’s best-known landmarks: the sphinx.

Other notes show important locations like the Al Rifai mosque and the Abu Simbel temple.


Ugandan shillings
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Ugandan shillings have an animal theme – this particular note features a silverback mountain gorilla in front of the outline of the country’s borders and the Independence Monument to the far right.


Namibia dollar
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No doubt the Namibian dollar wins the prize for the best hat on a banknote.

The man sporting the headgear is Hendrik Witbooi, a tribal chief who lived in the second half of the 19th century and is considered a national hero.


Bhutan ngultrum
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Each of Bhutan’s ngultrums features an intricate rendering of a different dzong from around the country – Buddhist monasteries and fortresses.

Cook Islands

Cook Islands
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This Cook Islands three-dollar note is a collectible and not in circulation at the moment, but is worth including because it is just so unusual.

It depicts a nude woman riding a shark. The woman is Ina – a figure in Cook Islands mythology who was the moon god’s lover.

Web editor