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Not Actually a Banknote ?

 Pam has written an article which has appeared in the IBNS journal.

                  Volume 49, Number 3,  September 2010

                                    No 7 & 21 new to list


     3  Sketch for a Note for an Eastern Note  


     5  Sketch for a Note for an Indonesian Note


    7  Sketch for an Eastern Note  (new to list)


     8  Sketch for a Note for an African Note


     9  Sketch for a Morrocan Note


    10  Sketch for a Note for a Buddhist country


    11  Sketch for a Note for Mohommedans


    14  Sketch for a Note for a Mohammedan country


    16  Sketch for a Note for a Northern country


    17  Sketch for a Note for an Australasian country


    18  Sketch for a Note for an Indonesian country


    19  Sketch for a Note for a Mesopotamia Note


    20  Sketch for a Note for a Muslim country


   21 Sketch for a Manchurian Note (new to list) 


 Not Actually a Banknote ?

Notaphilists seem to collect according to strict rules. The banknotes have to conform to specific wants: Reference, Country, Denomination, Issued Banknote, Grade, Price…etc. In other words it ‘Ticks all the boxes’.

The banknote with all the ticks has gone through a rigorous process to end up as a final circulating banknote and subsequently to end up with a collector. The process would have consisted of: Idea, Sketch, Artwork, Pasteup, Engraving, Trials, Proofs, and so on, all executed by skilled craftsmen. In the future, maybe it’s already here, CAD (Computer Aided Design) will take all the earlier processes away, removing most of the human element from production. Leaving the approval of a final design, printing and ultimately placement of the banknote into circulation.

So what if a banknote does not tick all the boxes?

At some point an artist was given a brief to design a set of banknotes by world region not by country. Various ideas would have been worked up with nonsensical wording to fill the headings. The preparation for these designs would have taken careful consideration of the minutest detail, being careful not to offend anyone politically or religiously in anyway. Can anyone prove these designs led to a final issued banknote? Does it matter? Not ticking all the boxes, having an open mind, being aware that collecting banknotes can be extended to beyond a catalogue reference number. All or any of these enhance our unique hobby.

The twelve surviving preliminary sketches recorded in this article are from a De La Rue artist’s effects. All are undated but must have been created in the late 1950s. Other related artwork obtained at the time relates to this era. Each sketch would have taken a skilled artist two or three days to complete. I suspect they were commissioned by the Design Department at De La Rue, possibly as speculative work to fill down time in slack periods or work for the ‘stock books’. The ‘stock books’ would have been full of artwork, complete and part designs, to show prospective clients who could choose elements to be worked up into preliminary pasteups. A high percentage of the De La Rue ‘stock books’ were disposed of in the late 1990s. One reason for the disposal being the move in 1999 from Basingstoke, Hampshire (De La Rue H.Q.) to Overton, Hampshire (Portals H.Q.), there being less storage space for the archive at Overton. De La Rue had obtained Portals and asset stripped the company, selling off the Manor House, tithe cottages and river - the heritage of Henri de Portal’s and his ‘family’. Thus creating a bad working environment for the incoming workforce. Ironically, the Design Department moved back to Basingstoke in 2009.

Accepted pasteups pass to a General Engraver who works on the basic banknote features. Then a succession of artists would work on their specialist area: Vignette Engraver, Lettering Engraver, Plant Engraver, Machine Engine Turning for borders and backgrounds and the most important of all, the Portrait Engraver.

All sketches are on thin card 263mm x 174mm, have numerous annotations relating to native patterns used, colours, border designs, heading text and plants and artefacts from the region depicted. The sketches themselves are 150mm x 65mm.

Thanks must go to retired De La Rue staff for their input.

Pam West    IBNS Life Member No 79 

No       Main Title on Preliminary Sketch                      Text on Note


  3        Sketch for a Note for an Eastern                            Note Pang---?


  5        Sketch for a Note for an Indonesian Note              Bank of Indersto


  7        Sketch for an Eastern Note (new to list)


  8        Sketch for a Note for an African Note                   Bank of Nigeria


  9        Sketch for a Morrocan Note                                  Banque du Maroc


10        Sketch for a Note for a Buddhist country                Rinciria of Amripia


11        Sketch for a Note for Mohommedans                    Syrian Remrsmi


14        Sketch for a Note for a Mohammedan country       Government of Transionia


16        Sketch for a Note for a Northern country               Nroponrch Ghian?


17        Sketch for a Note for an Australasian country         Pacific Islands


18        Sketch for a Note for an Indonesian country           Text illegible


19        Sketch for a Note for a Mesopotamia Note            Banque de Syrie


20        Sketch for a Note for a Muslim country                  Banque de Mpsime


21        Sketch for a Manchurian Note (new to list)



Three of the sketches have annotations on the reverse:


  3        This border will be alright - do the duplex separately.  *


  5        Do the border only - This design is very good.


  8        This is alright - please make a finished design -


  * Duplex  =   Two working pattern in Litho



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