The Iconography on Banknotes

MA-Shops: Diversity in Banknotes.

My previous blog was about some specific banknotes from the Netherlands. In this blog 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 build between 1927 and 1932 and crossed the sea from land to land. It became 32 km long. In total this banknote had a iconography that must give the Dutch nation some pride.

1.000 Gulden 1945 Netherlands

4,795.00 USD

Catalog: M.153-1
Willem van Oranje

The flag ticket Francs
1000 francs 1944 is a banknote that should be seen in 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 banknote were not long in circulation because Charles de Gaulle saw these banknotes as counterfeit money. He said this because of the fast swift of sovereignty that occurred in 1944. The pre-war francs came in use again after he made this statement. The iconography of these banknotes reminds everyone to the dollars of the USA. I think this choice of iconography was no coincidence.


1000 Francs 1945 France
700.00 USD

Verso France
Printer: Forbes Lithograph Manufacturing Co., Boston.

René Descartes
As seen in the first case study, countries can be proud on 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 for a long time. He is famous for his skeptical methodology and his famous phrase: cogito ergo sum which literally means: I think, there for I am. There is, unfortunately, no need and time to explain this fully in this blog. But it is important to know, for now that his methodology and conclusions ‘’created’’ modern philosophy. France showed on this banknote something they are proud on, nowadays.

100 Francs DESCARTES 1944 France

210.00 USD


I hope you enjoyed this blog. Next time I will discuss some coins. If you want to know more about some specific type of coins let MA-Shops know!

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

Written by Joël van Dam, Owner of Joëlnumismatics.

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