Maltese Lira

Maltese banknotes - 5th Series and enhanced version (not legal tender after 31 January 2008)

On 18 September 1989 the Central Bank of Malta issued the Fifth Series of currency notes, consisting of four denominations: Lm2, Lm5, Lm10 and Lm20.

The obverse is common to all the four notes. The central theme is a figure of a woman holding a rudder, symbolising Malta in control of her own destiny. Other features are three doves symbolising peace, the United Nations Emblem, the Central Bank of Malta Coat-of-Arms, and mosaic designs from the period of Roman presence in Malta.

Maltese banknotes were replaced by euro when Malta became a member of the euro area and adopted the euro as its currency on 1 January 2008. Subsequently, the Maltese currency remained legal tender until 31 January 2008. However Maltese banknotes can still be exchanged for euro at the Central Bank of Malta for up to ten years after being demonetised, that is, till 31 January 2018.

Security Features

The notes incorporate most of the security features available at the time. They contain various computerised Guilloche patterns and rainbow litho printing, the lithographic background printing and the typographic printing of the numbers. The watermark depicts an ‘allegorical’ head which can be seen on the left hand side of the note when viewed from the front.

The security thread is incorporated into the paper at the manufacturing stage. It appears as a solid line running down the note and is visible on the right hand side when viewed from the front.

On the front of the notes, on the left hand side three scroll shapes can be observed which have been printed in silver ink, and which give a metallic lustre to this image which both enhances its appearance and presents problems of reproduction.

When the notes are viewed obliquely, the letters ‘BCM’ incorporated on the front of the note at the bottom left hand corner, become visible and additionally, when the banknotes are held up to the light, the body of the doves printed on the back fit exactly within the outline of the doves on the front.

On 1 June 1994, the Central Bank of Malta issued amended designs of this Fifth series. Although the main design of the notes remained unchanged, the following security features were introduced:

  1. The new security thread appears as silver dashes on the front of the note.
  2. The silver metallic printing was extended in some areas.
  3. Additional see-through features were incorporated and new background colours and patterns used in these areas.
  4. A new style serial number appears in the top left position.
  5. On the Lm10 and Lm20 banknotes, in the bottom right hand side on the back of the notes, the colour of the ink changes when the note is viewed from different angles.

Lm2 Banknote



Format: 66.5mm x 138mm - Colour: Red


Reverse: The Banka Guratali at Mdina and at Rabat, Gozo.


Lm5 Banknote



Format: 69mm x 145mm - Colour: Blue


Reverse: The back of Mdina Gate, Torre dello Standardo, extract from Maltese declaration of rights.


Lm10 Banknote



Format: 72.5mm x 145mm - Colour: Green


Reverse: 7 June 1919 Monument in Valletta, a national assembly meeting held on 7 June 1919, the day when four Maltese citizens were killed.


Lm20 Banknote



Format: 76mm x 145mm - Colour: Brown


Reverse: Dr Borg Olivier, Prime Minister in 1964 when Malta was granted its Independence, raising of the Maltese flag and a marble tablet in Valletta commemorating Independence on 21 September 1964.