Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Money as Press and Speech

Just as coins spoke the language of politics in ancient Rome, industrial England, and the USA of the antebellum era, paper money also carried political messages.  The notes of the American colonies in revolt announced “American Congress / We are One” and “Mind Your Business” and “When it is over, then we will rest” (Cessante Vento Conquiescemus) and “Issued in Defence of American Liberty”. The North Carolina $40 note of 1778 honored “Freedom of Speech and Liberty of the Press.” 


Atlas on the back of a $50 North Carolina 1778

(Early Paper Money of America, 5th edition, by Eric P. Newman)


Vulture tears bound Prometheus $70  North Carolina 1778. 
(Early Paper Money of America, 5th edition, by Eric P. Newman)


Printers on the back of a 50 kronur Iceland 1981
Iceland has the world's highest literacy level
as measured by
the number of books published per capita
in the native language

Krypho Scholeio: The Secret School
200 drachma Greece 1996
Christians study while living under Muslim domination

10 Forint Hungary 1969 (series of 1957)
Sándor Petőfi participated in the 1848 liberal revolution.
He is considered Hungary's national poet.
Wikipedia here
He also appears on the 50 Pengo of 1932.

Independent Bulgaria's first printing press
on the back of a 50 Leva series 1992
honoring Hristo Danov who was "the Bulgarian Gutenberg"
after liberation from Turkey in 1878.

Antoine de Saint Exupery on the back of a 50 Franc 1993. 
The author of the whimsical Little Prince also wrote about his experiences 
as a mail pilot in Night Flight, and Wind, Sand, and Stars, and other books.
 A friend of Anne Morrow and Charles A. Lindbergh,
Saint Exupery returned to France in 1940 to fly for the Free French.
He was shot down over the Mediterranean.


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1 comment:

  1. Pretty cool. I never really thought much about the images on money.

    ReplyDelete