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World Paper Money – Psychologists, Philosophers & Scientists on Banknotes

By Luke WilsonPaper Money Guaranty (PMG) ……
Last year, we highlighted notes featuring artists and composers. This month we are featuring four notes commemorating the accomplishments of psychologists, philosophers and scientists.

Front, Austria P-149 featuring Sigmund Freud. Image courtesy PMG

Back, Austria P-149. Image courtesy PMG

Above: Austria P-149, front and back. All images courtesy PMG

In 1982, Austria’s National Bank redesigned their banknotes with a new group of notable Austrians, such as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The 50 Schilling note was issued with Sigmund Freud’s portrait on the front and the Josephinum Hospital in Vienna on the back. The note was in circulation from 1987 to 2002, with a printed date of January 2, 1986. According to the PMG census, the highest-graded examples are three notes at 68 EPQ, one of which is pictured above.

Sigmund Freud is best known for developing psychoanalysis, which revolutionized the relationship between the psychoanalyst and the patient. His lasting influence with respect to concepts such as the oedipal complex and the libido is still being felt today. In addition, the term “Freudian slip” has further propagated Freud and his theories long after his death and has cemented itself in everyday conversation.

Front, Austria P-152 featuring Erwin Schrödinger. Image courtesy PMG

Back, Austria P-152. Image courtesy PMG

Above: Austria P-152, front and back

As part of the aforementioned 1982 redesign, the Austrian 1,000 Schilling note featured Erwin Schrödinger on the front and his alma mater, the University of Vienna, on the back. The note was in circulation from 1983 to 1997, and is scheduled for demonetization on April 20, 2018 as a result of Austria’s transition to the euro, which began in 1999. According to the PMG census, the highest graded example is one note at 68 EPQ.

Erwin Schrödinger was a physicist who won the Nobel Prize in 1933 for the formulation of what is now referred to as the Schrödinger equation. The equation has been heralded as significant in the field of quantum mechanics, but more are likely to know the term “Schrödinger’s cat” from a darkly cynical joke attributed to Schrödinger.

Front, France P-101a featuring René Descartes. Image courtesy PMG

Back, France P-101a. Image courtesy PMG

Above: France P-101a, front and back

In 1941, French banknotes were updated. The 100 Franc note was also designed to include a portrait of René Descartes on the front and an angel writing “PAX” (Latin for “peace”) on the back. The note was in circulation from 1942 to 1945, although the last dated note is December 12, 1944. According to the PMG census, the highest graded example is one note at 68 EPQ.

René Descartes is often referred to as the father of modern western philosophy. His statement “cogito ergo sum” (“I think, therefore I am”) is still widely known today. Descartes is also credited with bringing algebra and geometry together in what is known as analytical geometry. He “invented the convention of representing unknowns in equations by x, y, and z, and knowns by a, b, and c” (Sorrell, 19). The Cartesian coordinate system, and its graph with x and y axis are based on his work.

Front, France P-147c featuring Voltaire. Image courtesy PMG

Back, France P-147c. Image courtesy PMG

Above: France P-147c, front and back

In January 1960, French President Charles de Gaulle reformed his nation’s currency, introducing the Nouveaux Franc (New Franc), which was equivalent to 100 regular francs. These notes were in circulation until 1962, at which time France returned to the regular franc. This return also brought all new portraits of notable Frenchmen, including Voltaire who is featured on the front and back of the 10 Franc note. This note circulated from 1963 to 1973. According to the PMG census, there are four varieties, delineated by date, with the highest graded example being 68 EPQ, one of which can be seen above.

Voltaire was a writer, historian and philosopher during the 18th-century French Enlightenment period. This era matched Voltaire’s writing, as many during the period advanced ideals such as separation of church and state and individual liberty. Among historians, Voltaire was influential in developing historiography, which studies how historians approach their field. Voltaire “reject[ed] traditional biographies and accounts that claim the work of supernatural forces, but he went so far as to suggest that earlier historiography was rife with falsified evidence and required new investigations at the source” (Boyd, 1270-72).

In conclusion, there are many interesting historical figures that have been featured on banknotes. As we have seen with the above examples, the path to discovery or enlightenment often comes through unconventional means. There are too many to list here, but hopefully you will take the time to look through your collection and discover the stories beyond the banknote.

PMG is an independent member of the Certified Collectibles Group (CCG).

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Sorell, Tom. A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press: New York (2000)

Boyd, Kelly. Encyclopedia of Historians & Historical Writing, Volume 2. Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers: London (1999)

Paper Money Guaranty
Paper Money Guarantyhttps://www.pmgnotes.com/
PMG is one of the world’s largest third-party paper money grading services, with more than 10,000,000 notes certified. The company backs all notes they certify with the PMG guarantee of grade and authenticity. The American Numismatic Association (ANA) and the Professional Numismatists Guild (PNG) have both named PMG their official paper money grading service.

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