First Multicolored banknote and World War I (1900-1918)
In the early twentieth century, the French have in their portfolio a series of two-color notes or "blue and pink" 50, 100, 500 and 1000 francs that were issued in the course of the 1880s. Since 1891, the Bank of France works in collaboration with the artist François Flameng on the first polychrome banknote, the 1000 francs Flameng Type 1897 which is stay in reserve. In 1914, this 1000 francs is taken again and modified in 5000 Type 1918 Flameng (Pick: #76) and ironically, put in reserve as his eldest! The first banknote issued in several colors will be the 100 francs Type 1906 Luc-Olivier Merson (Pick: #69, #71, #78 and #86). This one is quickly distinguished from the previous production by surprising the French by its modern aspect. As soon as it was put into circulation in January 1910, the bill was the subject of many criticisms of its graphic design. It will however have an exceptional longevity of 35 years! When the First World War broke out, the Bank of France strongly needed to increase its production. She then decides to bring out two notes: the 20 francs Black Type 1873 and the 5 francs Black Type 1871 half of whose stock has been kept in reserve since the war of 1870. These two banknotes are adapted in 1905: the 20 francs Type 1905 Bleu et bistre à texte bleu (Pick: #68) and the 5 francs Type 1905 Bleu à tête filigranée (Pick: #70) are distinguished from their elder by the value in letters printed in blue, hence their name. These two notes were finally put into circulation only during the month of August 1914. Between 1915 and 1917, three new patriotic and warrior style notes were put into circulation: the 10 francs Type 1915 Minerve (Pick: #73 and #84) , the 20 francs Type 1916 Bayard (Pick: #74) and the 5 francs Type 1917 Femme casquée (Pick: #72 and #83). They reflect the emergence of a new stylistic current or themes are more realistic with the representation of simple scenes of everyday life and trades of the time: the docker in action on the back of the 5 francs Violet, the peasant at rest on the back of the 10 francs Minerve or the reaper of wheat on the back of the 20 francs Bayard. These small values make it possible to accelerate and democratize definitively the diffusion of the banknote to the French. In 1918, the Americans missed an attempt to intrude on the French fiduciary market with a draft of 100 francs Type 1918 La Fortune "trial" (Pick: #75) proposed and printed by the American Banknote Conpany.