Media Releases
Published Date: 18 August 2015

Commemorative Notes to Celebrate SG50

Singapore, 18 August 2015…Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong today unveiled a set of six commemorative currency notes to celebrate SG50.  The commemorative notes, issued by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), comprise a $50 polymer note and five $10 polymer notes. Together with a set of three commemorative coins launched in April this year, the notes complete the set of SG50 commemorative currencies issued by MAS to mark Singapore’s 50 years of nation-building.

Note Designs

2 The note designs drew inspiration from significant milestones and achievements in Singapore’s history, the multiracialism that defines us as a nation, and the values and aspirations that underpin Singapore’s progress. The front of both the $50 and $10 notes feature the portrait of Mr Yusof Ishak, Singapore’s first President, as in the current Portrait series notes.

3   The $50 note highlights Singapore’s history, transformation and future. It shows the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s first Prime Minister, shouting “Merdeka!” – the rallying cry of our independence struggle. The note makes distinctive use of the colour gold, reflecting Singapore’s Golden Jubilee. 

4   The five $10 notes have a common front design and varying back designs depicting the theme ‘Vibrant Nation, Endearing Home’. Each note reflects a value or aspiration that defines this theme: 

  • ‘… regardless of race, language or religion…’
  • ‘Opportunities for All’
  • ‘Safe and Secure’
  • ‘Strong Families’
  • ‘Caring Community, Active Citizenry’. 

5   Both the $50 and $10 notes have security features that are the first of their kind in the world to be used on a currency note. The security stripe on the $50 note has a unique see-through feature with “image movement effects” that create depth to the image of Mr Lee Kuan Yew.  The SG50 logo has “colour-switching effects”, with the year flipping from ‘1965’ to ‘2015’. The $10 notes have a security stripe with a “switching effect” which features the Singapore Coat of Arms, SG50 logo and the years ‘1965’ and ‘2015’.

6   The SG50 commemorative notes were designed by four local artists and designers, namely Mr Chua Mia Tee, Mr Eng Siak Loy, Mr Weng Ziyan and Mr Fabian Lim. 

Notes Availability

7   The public can exchange the SG50 commemorative notes at face value at branches of nine major retail banks from 20 August 2015 onwards.

  • DBS Bank/POSB
  • Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation
  • United Overseas Bank
  • Bank of China
  • Citibank
  • Industrial and Commercial Bank of China
  • Malayan Banking Berhad
  • Standard Chartered Bank
  • The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation

8   The public is advised not to rush to obtain the notes. There will be enough notes for Singaporeans. “There will be enough SG50 notes available for exchange.  A total of 20 million pieces of the $50 notes and 75 million pieces of $10 notes - 15 million pieces of each design - are being printed.  There is no need to rush.”, said Dr Andrew Khoo, Deputy Managing Director (Corporate Development).

9   Singaporeans will be given priority to exchange the notes from 20 August 2015 to 30 September 2015.  During this period, Singaporeans have to present their National Registration Identification Card (NRIC) at the bank in person as proof of citizenship. From 1 October 2015 onwards, the SG50 notes will be made available to non-Singaporeans as well. 

10   To ensure that everyone has an opportunity to exchange the SG50 commemorative notes, there will be a quota of five sets of notes (each set comprising a $50 note and five $10 notes) per transaction per individual. The public can choose to exchange any number or combination of notes subject to a maximum of five notes per design. 

Specially-designed Folders for the Commemorative Currency Notes

11   Members of the public can also obtain specially-designed folders to keep the commemorative notes. They can obtain one complimentary folder when they exchange for any of the commemorative currency notes. There is no minimum amount they need to exchange to obtain the folder.  An additional folder will be given if two full sets of notes (each set comprising a $50 note and five $10 notes) or more are exchanged. The public can only obtain up to a maximum of two folders per transaction. The folders will be available at the banks on a first-come-first-served basis and while stocks last. The nine major retail banks have sponsored 2.8 million of these specially designed folders.

12   More details on the notes and designers are at Annex 1.

Numismatic Currency Sets

13   An exclusive collection of seven limited edition SG50 numismatic currency sets are available for sale.  The numismatic sets are sold by Noel Gifts International Ltd (Noel Gifts).   Details of the numismatic currency sets are at Annex 2. For enquiries, details on prices and orders, the public can contact Noel Gifts on 6299 1155 or place their order online at .  Sets that are oversubscribed will be subjected to balloting. Pre-orders must reach Noel Gifts by 11 September 2015 and will be available for collection by the public on 18 September 2015.


Details of SG50 Commemorative notes and designers

$50 Commemorative Note

Front Design of $50 Note

The $50 note will have a new security feature with an image of our first Prime Minister, Mr Lee Kuan Yew, at the steps of the City Hall in 1959, leading Singaporeans with the rallying call of “Merdeka!”.  The event marked the achievement of self-government by Singapore, and was a major milestone in Singapore’s journey to independence in 1965. 

2   The front design features a portrait of Mr Yusof Ishak, Singapore’s first President.  This portrait is being used for the first time in a currency note and is different from that in the current Portrait series.  A group of children of different races is also depicted in the front of the note, reflecting Singapore’s distinctive racial harmony.

3   At the back of the $50 note, Singapore’s first National Day Parade on 9 August 1966 is featured. It represented the hopes of the newly-formed nation, determined to survive. Complementing the scene of the National Day Parade is a picture of our latest new town in Punggol, which symbolises the continuing renewal of our homes and communities.

$10 Commemorative Notes

Front Design of $10 Note

Back Design of $10 Note: …regardless of race, language or religion…

Back Design of $10 Note: Opportunities for All

Back Design of $10 Note: Safe and Secure

Back Design of $10 Note: Strong Families

Back Design of $10 Note: Caring Community, Active Citizenry

4   The five $10 commemorative notes share a common front design, and is a modified version of the latest $10 Portrait note. The design features a portrait of our first President Yusof Ishak, as with current notes. It also includes a spray of our national flower, Vanda Miss Joaquim, the SG50 logo,  as well as year-dates ‘1965’ and ‘2015’.  A new security feature is added, depicting the Singapore Coat of Arms.  

5   The distinctive features of the $10 commemorative notes are in their back designs. They depict the theme ‘Vibrant Nation, Endearing Home’. As part of this theme, each note showcases the values and aspirations that underpin the nation’s progress and Singaporeans’ unity:-   

  • ‘…regardless of race, language or religion…’ highlights the multiracial and multi-religious harmony that is the nation’s first and most fundamental commitment. A group of eight secondary school students is featured standing shoulder to shoulder, demonstrating a sense of shared identity despite racial differences;
  • ‘Opportunities for All’ underscores our belief in a fair and inclusive meritocracy. The foreground of the note features students learning and developing both academically and in non-academic ways. A disabled student is depicted, highlighting our education system as a platform for all to enjoy equal opportunities based on an individual’s merit.  The background portrays various career aspirations in different sectors of the economy, underlining the opportunity to pursue passions and excelling in the chosen fields;
  • ‘Safe and Secure’ highlights the value we place as a small nation on peace and stability, through a strong defence and respect for law and order. The Singapore Armed Forces, which forms the military arm of our total defence, is represented by the Navy, Army and Air Force personnel on the top of the note.  It is complemented by the Home Team in the foreground, represented by a team of police officers, Citizens-on-Patrol members, a paramedic and a firefighter.  Together, the Singapore Armed Forces and the Home Team play a key role in making Singapore a safe and secure home; and
  • ‘Strong Families’ reaffirms the responsibility for the family and respect for our elders that are core values in our society. The note depicts a three-generational Chinese family in celebration of an important milestone for the elderly couple and a newly commissioned Indian officer sharing his achievement with his parents.  It also portrays a Malay grandfather enjoying a quiet moment with his grandson and a Eurasian family riding a tandem bicycle;
  • ‘Caring Community, Active Citizenry’ emphasises the key role of citizens in ensuring a compassionate and cohesive society. A scene of community gardening is featured, highlighting our continuous efforts to keep Singapore clean and green.  The design also depicts volunteers interacting with an elderly woman and painting the flat of the less privileged, demonstrating a spirit of caring for each other.

Note Artists/Designers

Mr Chua Mia Tee

Mr Chua Mia Tee drew the “Merdeka!” image on the SG50 $50 commemorative note.  He is a renowned Singaporean artist and is highly regarded as a master of portrait painting. He has painted past and present presidents and prime ministers of Singapore. He also painted the portrait of our first president, Mr Yusof Ishak, which was used on all the Singapore Portrait notes.

Mr Eng Siak Loy and Mr Weng Ziyan

Mr Eng Siak Loy and Mr Weng Ziyan helm a local design consultancy company, Newday Design. Newday designed four of the five back designs of the SG50 $10 commemorative notes, namely ‘Opportunities for All’, ‘Safe and Secure’, ‘Strong Families’ and ‘Caring Community, Active Citizenry’.  Mr Eng Siak Loy, the creative consultant of the company, is an acclaimed artist who was awarded Designer of the Year in the President’s Design Award 2007.  He designed the current Singapore Portrait Notes and various Singapore numismatic coins.

Mr Fabian Lim

Mr Fabian Lim is a partner in Royal Fly, a local design company.  He designed the SG50 $50 commemorative note and the first back design of the SG50 $10 commemorative note, ‘…regardless of race, language or religion…’.  He also designed the $20 polymer note to commemorate 40 years of the Singapore-Brunei Currency Interchangeability Agreement in 2007, the Singapore Third Series coins and various Singapore numismatic coins.

Speech by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the unveiling ceremony

Click here to access the speech.

Animated Introduction of the Notes