French banknotes in old francs issued between 1800 and 1899
January 18, 1800 sees the birth of the Bank of France. The new institution absorbs very quickly the Caisse des Comptes Courants with the common objectives of facilitating the development of trade, credit and the circulation of currency. From 1800 to 1848, the first notes issued offer very high face values of 500 francs or 1000 francs. These bills can in no way be handled by any average French. For the time, these notes represent above all astronomical sums that only a few wealthy Parisian businessmen are able to have. If we except the precursor banknote of 250 francs Type 1808 issued for the Counter of Lille, it is necessary to wait until 1836 and the generalization of the regional counters, to see the Bank of France emit notes of lesser value. The economic crisis started in 1846 and especially the revolution of 1848 will upset the habits of the Bank of France, which sees itself in the obligation to urgently issue a banknote of ... 100 francs Type 1848 Provisoire! The definitive break finds a new public more modest than the dominant elites and triggers the march towards a democratization of the banknote. The appearance of photogaphy precipitates the end of "black" notes that become too easy to counterfeit. In 1862, the Bank of France decided to radically change its printing process and now all new notes will be printed ... in blue. The economic boom of the reign of Napoleon III sees the release of the first note of 50 francs Type 1864 Bleu and its acceptance by the bourgeoisie and the popular classes considerably increases the mass of banknotes in circulation. The war of 1870-1871 imposed a new forced price on the Bank of France and forced it to issue a 25 francs Type 1870. But its unusual face value and incompatible with metal species made its circulation ephemeral. In 1872, the first two-tone banknote (blue and ocher) of 20 francs Type 1873 Bleu et bistre is created to replace the 25 francs but undergoes the same fate! The war provokes a serious monetary shortage which causes the cities and the chambers of commerce to issue urgency notes for local use. The Bank of France then hastens to issue the first note of 5 francs Type 1871 Bleu. In addition, The range of "blue" banknotes is aging and no longer offers the necessary guarantees of security. It is therefore decided to add to several existing notes a color refractory to photography, in this case the pink, to obtain the following new notes: the 50 francs Type 1889 Bleu et rose, the 100 francs Type 1888 Bleu et rose, the 500 francs Type 1888 Bleu et rose and the 1000 francs Type 1889 Bleu et rose. The century ends with a magnificent project multicolored bill, the 1000 francs Type 1897 Flameng "not issued" whose turbulent history will animate the new century that come.