Collection Inspiration: Butterflies

Posted on 3/19/2024

Discover an enchanting world of currency with delicate butterfly imagery, as we examine these mesmerizing banknotes.

Butterflies, celebrated on numerous banknotes worldwide as symbols of beauty, transformation and biodiversity, have captivated the imagination of nations. Their presence not only honors their aesthetic allure but also serves as a poignant reminder of nature's fragility and the imperative of environmental conservation. With March 14 set aside as Learn About Butterflies Day, these fluttering icons remind us of the interconnectedness of all living things and the urgency of safeguarding our planet for future generations, transcending borders and cultures in their significance.

Ten Banknotes Featuring Butterflies


The monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) featured on this Mexican banknote holds significant cultural and ecological significance. Adorning the 50-peso bill, the monarch symbolizes resilience, migration and natural beauty. The butterfly is also featured on the Mexico 2020 100 Pesos note (and showcased in the Natural Heritage Collection Inspiration). Known for its remarkable annual migration from Canada and the United States to Mexico, spanning thousands of miles, the monarch is a powerful emblem of endurance and interconnectedness across borders. The inclusion of it on the currency underscores the country's dedication to safeguarding its rich natural heritage and diverse ecosystems.

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The Cyprus 1997 10 Pounds banknote is renowned for its depiction of the endangered Paphos blue butterfly (Glaucopsyche paphos), a species endemic to the island. The banknote highlights the delicate beauty of this butterfly species, showcasing its vibrant blue wings against a backdrop of lush foliage. Its depiction on the banknote serves as a testament to the nation's pledge to conserve its unique biodiversity and natural legacy.

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Costa Rica

The Costa Rica 2009 50,000 Colones banknote showcases the majestic Mariposa Morpho, a captivating symbol of the country's rich biodiversity and natural splendor. With its iridescent blue wings and graceful flight, the Mariposa Morpho embodies the enchanting beauty of Costa Rica's lush rainforests. Its prominence on the banknote serves as a proud emblem of the nation's commitment to environmental conservation and sustainable development.

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The Jamaica 1992 banknote stands out for its striking portrayal of the Jamaican Swallowtail butterfly (Papilio homerus), a magnificent species endemic to the island and the largest butterfly in the Western Hemisphere. With its distinctive yellow and black wings spanning up to six inches, the Jamaican Swallowtail represents a unique and cherished component of Jamaica's natural heritage. Its appearance on the bill symbolizes the country's resolve to protect its natural riches and promote biodiversity conservation.

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The Venezuela 2000 10,000 Bolivares banknote features the enchanting Marpesia petreus butterfly, a species known for its striking orange and black wings. As an emblem of Venezuela's rich biodiversity, the Marpesia petreus butterfly represents the country's varied ecosystems and natural beauty.

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Saint Thomas and Prince

The Saint Thomas and Prince 2016 50 Dobras banknote showcases the exquisite Charaxes lemosi butterfly, a species endemic to the islands and a testament to their unique biodiversity. With its distinctive orange and black markings, the Charaxes lemosi stands as a captivating symbol of the natural splendor found in the archipelago.

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Sri Lanka

The Sri Lanka 1979 5 Rupees banknote prominently displays the graceful Kallima philarchus philarchus butterfly, commonly known as the Blue Oakleaf butterfly, against a backdrop of lush foliage. Renowned for its remarkable leaf-like appearance, with intricate patterns mimicking dried leaves, this butterfly is a striking representation of nature's camouflage.

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The Suriname 2000 100 Gulden banknote features a stunning representation of a Nymphalid butterfly, an emblem of the country's rich biodiversity and pristine natural landscapes. With its vibrant colors and intricate patterns, the Nymphalid butterfly captivates the viewer, serving as a symbol of Suriname's ecological splendor.

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Hong Kong

Hong Kong's banknotes featuring butterflies are a testament to the city's appreciation for the beauty of nature. Among these, the 2018 50 Dollars issued by the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC), notably features the butterfly pollinating a flower. Like bees and other pollinators, butterflies play an important role in the ecosystem.

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French Somaliland

The French Somaliland 20 Francs issued before World War II is notable for its inclusion of butterfly images as a testament to the region's natural beauty. The butterfly design elements on this banknote for colonial-era currency was also used for other French possessions, including ones in southeast Asia and Oceania.

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If these notes inspired you, check out our other Collection Inspiration columns for more collecting ideas. Also, be sure to follow PMG on Facebook, PMG on Instagram and PMG on Twitter for articles and interesting notes posted daily.

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