Banknotes and coins

Production and putting into circulation

The Bank of Spain puts euro banknotes into circulation. Some of them are produced by “Imprenta de Billetes S.A.” (IMBISA), a company in which the Bank of Spain has a majority stake. This company was created as a result of the Guideline of the European Central Bank (ECB) of 13 November 2014 and the adaptation of the Law of Autonomy of the Banco de España to that legal framework by the Law 36/2014 of 26 December 2014 on the 2015 State Budget. The rest of the banknotes are received from other national central banks in accordance to the system of decentralized and joint production established by the ECB.

From 1999 to 2001, each national central bank in the Eurosystem was responsible for calculating the volume of euro banknotes it needed for the launch of the euro. The production of euro banknotes required in Spain for the launch was 1.924 billion, spread among the seven denominations (€5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €200 and €500).

In 2002 the production system for euro banknotes was changed and reorganised according to a decentralised, joint production model, so that each national central bank is now responsible for producing a given number of banknotes, generally, of one or two denominations. The Banco de España was responsible for producing some of the €20 and €50 banknotes.

Banknote serial numbers in the first series are preceded by a country code, which is a letter indicating the central bank that ordered the printing of the banknote, not necessarily that of the country in which it was produced:

Country code of euro banknote serial numbers
CountryLetter   CountryLetter   CountryLetter
Germany X   Estonia’s D   Latvia C (1)
Austria N   Finland L   Lithuania B (2)
Belgium Z   France U   Luxembourg (3)
Cyprus G   Greece Y   Malta F
Slovakia E   P. Low P   Portugal M
Slovenia H   Ireland T      
Spain V   Italy S      

(1) Latvia adopted the euro on 1 January 2014. In future Latvijas Banka has the right to use the letter "C" in the serial number in the event it is allocated any future production of banknotes of the first series. However, the use of that letter is still uncertain; it depends on future production arrangements.

(2) Lithuania adopted the euro on 1 January 2015. In future Lietuvos Bankas has the right to use the letter "B" in the serial number in the event it is allocated any future production of banknotes of the first series. However, the use of that letter is still uncertain; it depends on future production arrangements.

(3) Uncirculated euro banknotes issued by the Banque Centrale du Luxembourg bear the code of the central banks of the countries where the banknotes for Luxembourg are produced.

The serial numbers on the Europa series of banknotes are the two numbers printed on the back of the banknote: a horizontal number printed in black and a vertical number printed in a different colour.

The horizontal number comprises two letters and ten digits. The first letter identifies the printing works – see this linkOpens in a new window. The second letter has no particular meaning; it simply makes more serial numbers possible