Pick: #10E , The Banknote Book: B103P , Other: #LK99/#LK100/#LK101
French administration. Benin (Dahomey). French West Africa. Bank of West Africa. 1902-1924 Issues. 50 francs Type 1920 "Porto-Novo". Work by Henry Bellery-Desfontaines and engraving by Ernest and Frédéric Florian. The back was designed and engraved by artist Georges Duval (1847-1919). Printer: Bank of France, Paris. Dimensions: 204 x 120 mm. Watermark: lion's head in a crescent. Front and back: multicolored print, mainly pale yellow and dark blue. On the front: the overall composition is of the “Art Nouveau” type. The background of the vignette is characterized by a sunset, the rays of which diffuse in pale yellow to the edge of the frame illustrated with geometric shapes and multiple decorations. In the center at the top border in an octagonal medallion, a rooster and the word "GALLIA (France in Latin)". Below, the issuing institution "BANK OF THE WEST AFRICA" and the value in letters are printed in dark blue. The value "50" is repeated in the corners. At the bottom of the vignette in the foreground, two elephant heads face each other. In the background, local objects (including a drum, a mortar, a pestle and a jug) are placed at the foot of a palm tree on the left and an unidentified tree on the right. In the distance, a merchant ship moves away towards the future. The city of issue "Porto-Novo" is printed in dark blue and in black overprint on the emission of "Grand-Bassam". The value in words and the words "Payable in cash, at sight, bearer" are printed in dark blue in the center. The series and the banknote number are printed in black in cartridges placed at the top and bottom of the note. Two signatures printed in black with The president and The Administrator-Director frame the place and the date of issue printed in dark blue above the watermark. On the back: monochrome color printing in gray. This color changes depending on the city of issue. A rich graphic composition frames three white cartridges in which the official labels are translated into Arabic and Wolof languages. The upper cartridge indicates the place of emission. The note strangely does not include article 139 of the Penal Code! The specimen is known dated "3-1-1903", numbered "0.0-000" with perforation "SPECIMEN" horizontally in the center and upside down with the signatures of E. Maurel / H. Nouvion. A proof is known dated “3-1-1903”, numbered “0.0-000”, not watermarked with the signatures of E. Maurel / H. Nouvion and The Cashier unsigned.
Note: a very rare specimen of 50 francs Type 1902 from the city of Cotonou is known from a private collection. This is watermarked and dated "30-9-1902", numbered "0.0-000" and graded PMG 64 Choice Unc. Unknown from Pick. Undoubtedly unique to this day! w/o The Cashier signature.