According to the Bank of Portugal (BdP): “In the set of escudo banknotes whose statute of limitations occurred after the escudo was withdrawn from circulation, €159.3 million (46%) reached the Bank by the end of the term, and €186.8 million (54%) remained in circulation in the public's possession”.

According to the central bank, “the value of non-returned banknotes constituted, over time, an extraordinary benefit for Banco de Portugal, given that the responsibility for paying the banknotes issued could not be fulfilled”.

From 28 February of this year, 20 years have passed since the withdrawal of the last series of escudo banknotes (Discoveries series) from circulation, and during this period it was possible to exchange 10,000 escudo banknotes, 5,000 notes, 2,000 notes, 1,000 notes and 500 notes.

At the end of this exchange period, these banknotes have expired, that is, they have lost their value, so they can no longer be accepted by Banco de Portugal.

The bank explains that “this situation may be due to several factors: the amount to be received does not compensate for the effort to carry out the exchange; people keeping it as a memory; oblivion of its existence; [or] destruction by human action or other agents (fire, chemicals, animals, among others)”.

In this last series, the BdP says that it was “evident that the lower the face value, the lower the proportion of banknotes delivered for exchange”.