Specimens are special banknotes produced by central banks and printing authorities to showcase the design, security features, and quality of their currency. These banknotes are not intended for circulation but rather serve as examples for educational, promotional, or archival purposes.
Specimen banknotes are typically created using the same printing techniques and security features as actual currency, providing an accurate representation of what a genuine banknote from that series would look like. However, they are often marked as 'SPECIMEN' or a similar inscription to indicate that they are not legal tender and should not be used for transactions.
These notes are often distributed to banks, financial institutions, and currency dealers to help them familiarise themselves with the new designs or features before the actual banknotes are released into circulation. They are essential for training bank employees, educating the public about security features, and facilitating the recognition of genuine banknotes versus counterfeits.
They are particularly valuable to numismatists and collectors due to their limited availability and their role in documenting the history of currency design and production.