Thursday, June 7, 2012

Banknotes : Security marks 1a

Modern banknotes are a true 'Fundgrübe' (treasury) for those who want to discover all new printing techniques, and a real playground for those who develop those new techniques. 

But first things first.
As techniques are improving, it means the first banknotes didn't have security features or they appeared not to be 'secure' enough.

In this first part, I'll start with very old banknotes. Not the oldest ones, as banknotes are described since the 14th century. Still we're going back to the 18th century. Some very old, but relatively 'cheap' banknotes are the french Assignats.

Assignats were issued by the new government of France, the 'Assemblé Nationale', after the French Revolution of 1789. They bare signatures of  hundreds of different people.
Louis XVI in 1786 - His Most Christian Majesty The King
These Assignats were based on the confiscated belongings (domaines nationaux) of the church, the noblemen, King Louis XVI and his family, and everybody else who ended up under the guillotine for whatever reason.

Monday, 21 January 1793, Louis (citoyen Louis Capet) was beheaded by guillotine
The early assignats still used the old monetary system , 
12 deniers = 1 Sol
20 Sols = 1 Livre
120 Sols = 6 Livres = 1 Ecu
The later assignats were issued in the new French Franc (100 Centimes)

5 livres (£) - 1973 (l'an 2)
I will talk about this note more in detail in my next post.
First, as the title said, I need to say something about the security marks.
Well there aren't many :-) 

The assignats were made of common bookpape, the only 'security marks' are a watermark and one or two drystamps.

1. There is a certain watermark visible as can be seen on this picture I found on eBay (thus this is not a banknote I have!)

eBay-picture of Assignat with clear watermarks
2. The second security mark that can be found is a drystamp

Example of a drystamp - depicting Justice
The Assignats however were counterfeited in huge amounts, and alone in Paris 200 counterfeiters ended up under the Guillotine, nowadays counterfeited assignats are very rare and worth more then the original ones.

more to follow !

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