MA-Shops: The Diverse Iconography of Banknotes

By Joël van DamOwner, Joëlnumismatics, for ……

My previous story was about some specific banknotes from the Netherlands. Today I want to discuss some other banknotes. There is no specific coloration in theme or nation by the banknotes in this blog. I just want to show how interesting the iconography on banknotes can be. In this blog I will discuss: 1000 gulden 1945 from the Netherlands, 1000 francs 1944 from France and 100 francs 1943 from France.

1000 Gulden 1945 The Netherlands

At first, I will discuss the 1000 gulden 1945 from the Netherlands. I think that this is a banknote that shows a clear message. On the obverse of the banknote, there is a face that is well-known by most of the Dutch people. It is the face of Willem van Oranje. He is generally known because, traditionally, he can be seen as the founder of the Netherlands.

This woke up some historical pride by Dutch people in 1945. Just after World War II they could use some pride in the Netherlands, the government knew this of course. It is no coincidence that on the reverse we can see a part of the ‘’afsluitdijk’’( Enclosure Dam in the Netherlands). This was a huge Dutch technical pride. The dam was built between 1927 and 1932 and crossed the sea from land to land. It became 32 km long. In total, this banknote has an iconic image that must have given the Dutch nation a swelling sense of pride.

1000 Francs 1945 France

This 1000 francs from 1944 is a banknote that should be seen as part of a larger set of banknotes. This set is called the flag ticket francs.

These banknotes were issued by the USA for Allied-occupied France. They were issued just after the battle of Normandy.

Eight denominations exists the 2,5,10,50,100,500,1000 and the 5000 francs.

The higher denominations are rare, just like the 1000 francs in this example. These banknotes were not long in circulation because Charles de Gaulle considered them to be counterfeit.

He said this as France regained its sovereignty after the allied forces repelled Germany in August 1944. Soon after, pre-war francs came into use again.

It’s no coincidence that the design recalls the intricate style of the American dollar, as the currency was meant to be used by French citizens and American service members alike.

4,795.00 USD
Catalog: M.153-1

700.00 USD
Verso France
Printer: Forbes Lithograph Manufacturing Co., Boston.
René Descartes

100 Francs DESCARTES 1944 France

100 Francs DESCARTES 1944 France
100 Francs DESCARTES 1944 France

As seen in the first case study, countries can be proud of their historical figures. The same happened with the 100 francs from 1943/44. On this banknote, you can see the ‘’father’’ of modern philosophy, René Descartes.

René Descartes was born in 1596 in France and lived there until 1628 when he moved to the Netherlands.

He is famous for his skeptical methodology and his famous phrase: cogito ergo sum which literally means: “I think, therefore I am.” It’s a seemingly simple expression that unfolds into an endlessly diverting philosophical journey. Suffice it to say, Descartes deeply-felt curiosity of the human condition paved the way for the development of modern philosophy.

France honoring him on this banknote is a cultural recognition of the man’s greatness.

$210.00 USD
Catalog: F.27/4

Visit the website and check the iconography of other banknotes. Just click this link.

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.