South Korean Won - Second South Korean Won - Banknotes


The Bank of Korea designates banknote and coin series in a unique way. Instead of putting those of similar design and issue dates in the same series, they assign series number X to the Xth design of a given denomination. The series numbers are expressed with Korean letters used in alphabetical order, e.g. 가, 나, 다, 라, 마, 바, 사. Therefore, ₩1000 issued in 1983 is series II (나) because it is the second design of all ₩1000 designs since the won introduction in 1962.

In 1962, 10 and 50 jeon, 1, 5, 10, 50, 100 and 500 won notes were introduced by the Bank of Korea. The first issue of 1, 5, 10, 50, 100 and 500 won notes were printed in the U.K. by Thomas De La Rue. The jeon notes together with a second issue of 10 and 100 won notes were printed domestically by the Korea Minting and Security Printing Corporation.

In 1965, 100 won notes (Series III) were printed using intaglio printing techniques, for the first time on domestically printed notes, to reduce counterfeiting. Replacements for the British 500 won notes followed in 1966 also using intaglio printing, and for the 50 won notes in 1969 using litho-printing.

1962 Thomas De La Rue Series (Korean)
Image Value Dimensions Main color Description Date of BOK Series Designation
Obverse Reverse Obverse Reverse issue withdrawal
₩1 94 × 50 mm Pink Bank of Korea's symbol Value June 10, 1962 May 20, 1970 None
₩5 Blue May 1, 1969
₩10 108 × 54 mm Green September 1, 1962 Series I (가)
₩50 156 × 66 mm Orange Haegeumgang near Geoje Torch, value May 20, 1970
₩100 Green Independence Gate (Dongnimmun) February 14, 1969
₩500 Grey Namdaemun February 3, 1967
1962-1969 KOMSCO Series (Korean)
10 jeon 90 × 50 mm Blue "Bank of Korea" and value (Korean) "Bank of Korea" and value (English) December 1, 1962 December 1, 1980 None
50 jeon Brown
₩10 140 × 63 mm Purple Cheomseongdae Geobukseon September 21, 1962 October 30, 1973 Series II (나)
₩50 149 × 64 mm Green and orange / Blue Pagoda Gongweon in Seoul Beacon, Rose of Sharon March 21, 1969 Series II (나)
₩100 156 × 66 mm Green Independence Gate Gyeonghoeru Pavilion at Gyeongbok Palace November 1, 1962 Series II (나)
Sejong the Great Main building of the Bank of Korea August 14, 1965 December 1, 1980 Series III (다)
₩500 165 × 73 mm Brown Namdaemun Geobukseon August 16, 1966 May 10, 1975 Series II (나)

With the economic development from the 1960s the value of the 500 won notes became lower, resulting in a greater use of cashier's checks with higher fixed denominations as means of payment, as well as an increased use of counterfeited ones. In 1970, the 100 won notes were replaced by coins, with the same happening to the 50 won notes in 1972.

Higher denomination notes of 5000 won and 10,000 won were introduced in 1972 and 1973 respectively. The notes incorporated new security features, including watermark, security thread and ultraviolet response fibres and were inglio printed. The release of 10,000 won notes was planned to be at the same time as the 5000 won notes but problems with the main theme delayed it by a year. Newly designed 500 won notes were also released in 1973 and the need for a medium denomination resulted in the introduction of 1000 won notes in 1975.

1972-1973 Series (Korean)
Image Value Dimensions Main color Description Date of BOK Series Designation Plate produced
Obverse Reverse Obverse Reverse Watermark issue withdrawal
₩5000 167 × 77 mm Brown Yi I Main building of the Bank of Korea July 1, 1972 December 1, 1980 Series I (가) By Thomas de la Rue
₩10 000 171 × 81 mm Brown Sejong the Great, Rose of Sharon Geunjeongjeon at Gyeongbok Palace June 12, 1973 November 10, 1981 Series I (가) In Japan
1973-1979 Series (Korean)
₩500 159 × 69 mm Green and pink Yi Sun-sin, Geobukseon Yi Sun-sin's Shrine at Hyeonchungsa None September 1, 1973 May 12, 1993 Series III (다)
₩1000 163 × 73 mm Purple Yi Hwang, Rose of Sharon Dosan Seowon (Dosan Confucian Academy) August 14, 1975 Series I (가) In Japan
₩5000 167 × 77 mm Orange Yi I Ojukheon in Gangneung June 1, 1977 May 12, 1993 Series II (나) In Japan
₩10 000 171 × 81 mm Green Sejong the Great, Water clock Gyeonghoeru Pavilion at Gyeongbok Palace, Rose of Sharon June 15, 1979 May 12, 1993 Series II (나) In Japan

In 1982, the 500 won note was replaced by a coin. The following year, as part of its policy of rationalizing the currency system, the Bank of Korea issued a new set of notes, as well as a new set of coins (see above). Some of the note's most notable features were distinguishable marks for the blind under the watermark and the addition of machine-readable language in preparation for mechanization of cash handling. They were also printed on better quality cotton pulp to reduce the production costs by extending their circulation life.

To cope with the deregulation of imports of color printer and the increasing use of computers and scanners, modified 5000 won and 10,000 won notes were released between 1994 and 2002 with various new security features, which included: color-shifting ink, microprint, segmented metal thread, moiré, and EURion constellation. The latest version of the 5000 and 10,000 won are easily identifiable by the copyright information inscribed under the watermark: "© 한국은행" and year of issue on the obverse, "© The Bank of Korea" and year of issue on the reverse.

The plates for the 5000 won notes were produced in Japan while the ones for the 1000 and 10,000 won notes were produced by the Korea Minting and Security Printing Corporation. They were all printed in intaglio.

With the release of a new set of notes, no plan has yet been made to withdraw these notes from circulation.

1983-2002 Series (Korean)
Image Value Dimensions Main Color Description Date of issue BOK Series Designation Modification
Obverse Reverse Obverse Reverse Watermark
₩1000 151 × 76 mm Purple Yi Hwang Dosan Seowon (Dosan Confucian Academy) Reversed portrait June 11, 1983 Series II (나)
₩5000 156 × 76 mm Orange Yi I Ojukheon in Gangneung June 11, 1983 Series III (다)
June 12, 2002 Series IV (라) Color-shifting ink on the dots for blinds, segmented metal thread, copyright inscription
₩10 000 161 × 76 mm Green Sejong the Great, Water clock Gyeonghoeru Pavilion at Gyeongbok Palace October 8, 1983 Series III (다)
January 20, 1994 Series IV (라) Segmented metal thread, microprint under the water clock, moiré on watermark area, intaglio latent image
Reversed portrait, Taeguk June 19, 2000 Series V (마) Color-shifting ink on the dots for blinds, removal of moiré, EURion constellation, copyright inscription

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