Despite the growing popularity of credit cards, Venmo, bitcoin, and various other modes of cashless payment, there exists a coterie of people still devoted to the artistry of the paper banknote. For this particular brand of cash enthusiast, no time of year is more important than the International Bank Note Society‘s (IBNS) annual design contest for new banknotes.
Choosing the world’s best-designed banknote is a rather unscientific process: Nominations are open to all members of Washington, DC-based IBNS, and membership itself is open to anyone in the world, or at least anyone willing to pay the $33 annual fee. Any banknote that has been introduced in general circulation that calendar year qualifies, and IBNS judges—mostly numismatic enthusiasts and coin collectors—evaluate finalists based on both security features and artistic merit. Last year’s winner was a re-released $50 note (TT) from Trinidad and Tobago, the tiny twin-island nation off the coast of Venezuela.
Nominations for the 2016 contest are open through Jan. 31, 2017, but here are the nine colorful banknotes already vying for the title. The winner will be announced next April. Prize? Bragging rights.