An identical banknote for two different destinations!
We can say that the 20 francs Émile Gentil Type 1946 (1) is a note that has traveled! The latter was issued for French Equatorial Africa (F.E.A), then the note crossed the Atlantic to supply the cash registers of ... St-Pierre and Miquelon:
Above: front of 20 francs Émile Gentil Type 1946 for the FEA (Ref. Pick: # 22, TBB: # B408 or Leclerc-Kolsky: # LK533).
Above: front of 20 francs Émile Gentil Type 1946 for St-Pierre and Miquelon (Ref. Pick: # 20, TBB: # B506 or Kolsky: # K612).
When we observe these two banknotes apart from their obvious difference in state, we see that they are strictly identical! It can therefore quickly appear a real headache for any collector wishing to identify the two references from each other, knowing that the note for St-Pierre and Miquelon is very rare and the other not! So how do you do it?
Until now, we could only rely on the range numbers published in previous reference books. Only, we noted a very great discrepancy of these data with the numbers of the 10 copies (all of the series B.5) that we have listed for the 20 francs Émile Gentil Type 1946 intended for St-Pierre and Miquelon:
- B.5 - 010104665,
- B.5 - 010111062,
- B.5 - 010117496,
- B.5 - 010118563,
- B.5 - 010122896,
- B.5 - 010147829 (*),
- B.5 - 010149326,
- B.5 - 010155860,
- B.5 - 010167002,
- B.5 - 010199102.
(*) Unconfirmed. No pictures available for this note!
In a first book dated 1986 (2), Mr. Maurice Kolsky indicates that the banknotes used for the issue of St-Pierre and Miquelon are: 002 520 001 to 002 550 000 and 019 100 001 to 019 200 000, for a total of 128,502 banknotes! 20 years later, in a second book dated 2006 (3), the data indicated by the author are still different and still do not correspond to the notes found: 060 956 001 to 061 145 000, for a total of 188 999 banknotes ! World Paper Money (4) also indicates other data: 002 509 001 to 002 509 279 and 002 510 001 to 002 531 200, or 21,377 copies!
It is only by consulting the page of the 20 francs Émile Gentil Type 1946 on the Banknote Museum website that we finally begin to have the beginnings of information. The range of numbers would therefore start at 010 100,000, which corresponds to the 10 referenced banknotes!
On the other hand, we do not find any copy of the 20 francs Émile Gentil Type 1946 in the sales archives of professionals (5), with the exception of the B.5 - 010111062, logically classified as an FEA note and sold at € 14! This artistic vagueness seems to be a game of chance for all the players in the banknote who are trying to distinguish between the “FEA” reference and the “SPM” reference. One could also push to the ultimate reflection and wonder if the 8 copies mentioned in inventory are really authentic copies of St-Pierre and Miquelon?
In the hope of clarifying a rather opaque situation, we are therefore launching a call for information from the entire community of collectors and professionals! In the meantime, if you have read this article to the end, we suggest you take a look at the following references, which will undoubtedly be the subject of another article on the rare banknotes issued to St-Pierre and Miquelon : 10 francs Colbert Type 1946 and 50 francs Belain d'Esnambuc Type 1946!
(1) The version of the reference for the FEA and St-Pierre and Miquelon includes the mention “Caisse Centrale de la France d'Outre-Mer” below:
In 1950, the banknote will be modified and overprinted in black “Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon” on the front and back, as well as in the upper and lower margins. This 20 francs Émile Gentil Type 1946 modified is not the subject of this article:
(2) “Les Billets des D.O.M - T.O.M” by Maurice Kolsky, 240 pages. L'Auréus Editions, 1986. See page 195, Reference No. 612.
(3) “Les Billets des D.O.M - T.O.M” by Maurice Kolsky, 282 pages. Second edition, 2006. See page 221, Reference No. 612.
(4) “Saint Pierre and Miquelon” Standard Catalog of World Paper Money, 1368-1960, 12th edition (page 1046).
(5) Sales archives consulted: cgb.fr, Heritage Auctions, Spink, Stack's Bowers.