Tuesday, 12 February 2008

History of Polymer Money: Tyvek and Bradvek Issues

Costa Rica

Tyvek and Bradvek brand of plastic money

In the 1970's and early 1980's Du Pont and The American Bank Note Company developed a new brand of plastic (polymer) currency material made out of special plastic fibers which was brand named Tyvek.


There was a test run of notes believed to have been centerred on Costa Rica (1983), Haiti (1980) and a couple of other countries which were of the Tyvk brand. The Isle of Man (1983) on the other hand had the Bradvek brand which was produced by a British company.

Unfortunately these notes never did very well, in actual fact all these regions have gone back to printing their money on paper!

Isle of Man

So why did this experiment with polymer money fail so badly?

Though the plastic material used was certainly more durable than paper, it soon became obvious that there were some serious draw backs with this particular brand of polymer money. This was namely with regards to the ink, firstly it was noted that after continious use, the ink faded this was not a problem encountered with paper money. Secondly, another more serious problem was discovered in the hot regions where the ink actually started to run. Thirdly, the banks found that the Tyvek and Bradvek polymer money was much more bulkier than paper money and therefore much more difficult to manage.

These regions no longer plan to issue any more plastic notes, but fortunately Australia forced to find an answer to the increased threat of counterfeiting independently developed their own brand of polymer money which has now become very popular on an international scale. Australia's brand of plastic money is called Guardian and we shall be looking at these polymer notes next.

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