Unusual Vignettes on Paper Money

Discussion in 'Paper Money' started by scottishmoney, Jun 10, 2011.

  1. scottishmoney

    scottishmoney Bammed

    A topic shamelessly lifted from the snakey on gsalexans' stock certificate.

    Here is one of my favourites, from a 19th century Argentinian 5 Peso note:


    A slaughterhouse. Notice the bones, the vultures and the vaqueros. A classic, unique, and very telling image.
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  3. scottishmoney

    scottishmoney Bammed

    Love the imagery of this Guatemalan cow getting milked by the milkmaid:


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  4. scottishmoney

    scottishmoney Bammed

    I love the dragon on the reverse of this German 5 marks from 1904:

  5. Dr Kegg

    Dr Kegg Star Note Fanatic

    I've never seen a dragon before. Hmm...I may have to look into this funf mark note.
  6. SteveInTampa

    SteveInTampa Innocent bystander

    I really like the vignettes on the Argentinian note, and I'm guessing that if you look at enough Chinese notes, you might find a dragon or two engraved onto their currency.
  7. Dave M

    Dave M Francophiliac

    Most definitely. There's also a fairly rare note from Yugoslavia that shows St. George & a Dragon.


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  8. ObsoleteCurrency

    ObsoleteCurrency I like old money.

    I think this is one of the most unusual vignettes on any note:


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  9. scottishmoney

    scottishmoney Bammed

    I have some similarly situated vignettes on some Southern paper money - and they were all printed in the North.
  10. gsalexan

    gsalexan Intaglio aficionado

    Cotton picking shows up in several other vignettes I've seen. Here's one from the antebellum era -- almost certainly a slave. The one with the cows and oddly dressed milker is most likely from Reconstruction. This is pretty clearly a jab at the carpetbaggers. Note the expression on both cows.

    On a different unusual topic, how about a couple horseless carriages? This vignette really shows why the very early cars carried that name.

    All these vignettes are from the USPS Commemorative Panel series; these were produced by American Bank Note Co.

    Thanks for starting this thread, SM! There are plenty more oddities I can add when I have a little scanning time.

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  11. ObsoleteCurrency

    ObsoleteCurrency I like old money.

    Your vignettes are really nice gsalexan.
  12. proofartoncircs

    proofartoncircs Junior Member

    As I scrolled down this thread, I came to the title about the Guatemalan Milkmaid. I looked forward to seeing if she was using
    the American or English method.

    I continued to scroll down. Then I see she is doing neither. She is a rank amateur. If she had the cow under control she could
    set the pail down and use two hands milking and finish twice as fast.

    Cows being milked tend to crowd you. You have to push back. Milkers I have known have put on an old hat and pushed back
    with their foreheads. English girls in the movies are pushing back with their bare cheeks.
  13. gsalexan

    gsalexan Intaglio aficionado

    A couple more -- these are both from the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. Not from paper money, but special tax stamps. I'll just include enlarged vignettes, but the entire pieces are posted here:

    The allegorical woman isn't too unusual until you examine all the tobacco paraphernalia around her. There's a box of Scotch snuff at the bottom and a bouquet of clay pipes beside her. But the other vignette has to be one of the oddest produced by the BEP: two portly gentlemen smoking and drinking. Until I really examined this with a loupe I couldn't figure what in the world they were doing. I think one is lighting a cigar off the other. But I welcome other guesses. ;)

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  14. ObsoleteCurrency

    ObsoleteCurrency I like old money.

    I think one is lighting a cigar off the other, or perhaps one is lighting someone else's pipe with their cigar.
  15. gsalexan

    gsalexan Intaglio aficionado

    SM, I hope you don't mind me expanding the scope of your thread, since these vignettes are all from stocks/bonds, not strictly paper money. But I can legitimately call them "bank note vignettes" since they're all from firms that produced notes. I've scanned these all at high res, so you can see the detail.

    I thought I'd follow-up on the transportation theme, with some other unusual pieces. I won't show the rest of these stocks in their entirety, but the United New Jersey Rail Road and Canal Co. certificate is a nice item by American Bank Note. I really like the canal scene, which brings to mind the old boatman's dirge "15 Miles on the Erie Canal."

    The Tom Thumb railroad scene is a well known vignette from a Baltimore & Ohio Railroad stock. This probably depicts a period from the 1840s. Love the carriage being transported and the double deck car. Really looks a lot like a stagecoach. Another ABNC vignette.

    The Eagle and US map is from a stock for The Aviation Corp, engraved by Columbian BN. So what are all those scattered dashes? Markers showing the prevailing wind direction in all the major cities. Of course.

    And how about a chariot? Bearing Thor, no less, with his mighty hammer. No wonder those horses are frothing! This is one of those rare images where the vignette designer "broke the box" with a horse hoof extending beyond the frame. (Banknote engravers were a pretty conservative lot, typically.) this is from a Pennsylvania Power Co. bond by Hamilton Bank Note.

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  16. gsalexan

    gsalexan Intaglio aficionado

    Two more and I'll call it a night. these are a couple of my favorite railroad vignettes.

    The first is from a Pittsburgh & West Virginia Rwy Co. stock, by ABNC. You see lots of locomotive vignettes, but this is the only one I've seen in a roundhouse. The workmen are swiveling it into position to back it into a stall next to the others you see in the background. The engraver did an amazing job capturing the smoky light streaming in from above.

    And lastly, one of the widest vignettes I've found, from a Hudson & Manhattan Railroad Co stock. It shows the industry and water traffic along the Hudson AND the interurban rail line running underneath! A wonderful, relatively modern vignette by ABNC.

    More to come, but I got tired of scanning tonight. ;)

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  17. gsalexan

    gsalexan Intaglio aficionado

    Okay, some more odd and interesting vignettes from my collection of stocks.

    Ever seen a parrot on a silver ingot? Or it could be a copper ingot -- you decide. This is from Parrot Silver & Copper Co.

    How about an eagle on a watch -- or two! Both Elgin and Waltham Watch companies decided to use similar vignettes.

    Gray Manufacturing featured a great old payphone vignette on their certificate.

    And the George E. Keith Company included images of their Walk-Over brand shoes in their vignette. Not sure what Justice had to do with anything, but maybe the shoes were a square deal.

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  18. gsalexan

    gsalexan Intaglio aficionado

    Last batch:

    U.S. Steel had a great vignette of a blast furnace on their stock, with workers forging something big.

    Pocohontas Fuel Co. featured a great story vignette, depicting the Indian princess saving Captain John Smith from beheading. You can tell she's a princess by the tiara.

    The Studebaker Corporation went retro on their certificate, showing off the old Studebaker blackmith shop, where presumably their first auto was fabricated.

    A sugar cane field, probably in the Caribbean somewhere, is represented on the vignette for the Manati Sugar Company stock. Looks pretty similar to the cotton fields, doesn't it?

    Lastly, a great vignette from a stock certificate of The Sperry Corp. with a battleship and a biplane unlike any I've ever seen. Love the control panel in the center.

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  19. Duke Kavanaugh

    Duke Kavanaugh The Big Coin Hunter

    Im loving this thread. And don't know how I missed it so long.
  20. scottishmoney

    scottishmoney Bammed

    The last one has what is clearly a Curtiss Aircraft Company "Condor" aircraft. It was the largest biplane airliner that actually went into service, but it was quickly eclipsed by the Boeing 247 and the Douglas DC-3.
  21. ObsoleteCurrency

    ObsoleteCurrency I like old money.

    Here's an interesting vignette from the Manual Labor Bank of Philadelphia, PA from 1836. The central figure looks like Elvis.


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