The banknotes of Algeria and the Maghreb are part of a history started now 169 years ago, more precisely in 1851, when the first banknotes for Algeria appear under the French occupation started in 1830. And yet , despite the considerable work brought by the forerunners of Maurice Muszynski and Maurice Kolsky and the passing of the torch by new researchers like François Virecoulon, these Maghreb banknotes are still relatively unknown to collectors today ... From this observation, and from the start of the Numizon adventure, we deliberately chose to integrate Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco among the very first countries present in our catalog, in order to support and carry in our own way, all these works of research and finally offer all these notes from North Africa, a well-deserved highlight!
The 5000 francs Apollon Type 1946
We are in 1946. On May 17, the Bank of Algeria is nationalized. A new series of banknotes is being produced with the main theme, the greatness of Algeria's Mediterranean past, marked by the influence of many civilizations and from which historical symbols such as images of ancient deities are borrowed fairly quickly. The 1000 francs Isis Type 1946 and the 5000 francs Apollon Type 1946 will perfectly reflect the aesthetics and the spirit of this new family of Algerian banknotes.
The design of the note is entrusted to the artist William Fel (1885-1957). The engraving on the front is done by André Marliat and the engraving on the back by Broutin. The bill was completed in November 1946 but was not finally issued until two years later in September 1948! The note includes on the front a profile portrait of Apollo, god of music, light, sun, song and poetry. This portrait was taken from a Roman sculpture in Paros marble discovered in 1910 and exhibited today at the Cherchell Public Museum. The back again refers to ancient civilizations with a representation of the Trajan Triumphal arch located in Timgad, the Pompeii of Africa.
The note does not include letters surrounding the date, unlike the 5000 francs Apollo Type 1946 Modified for the "Bank of Algeria and Tunisia", which will circulate with and without letters framing the date, from 1949 to 1956. Only one combination of signatures is known for the Type with Jan Couquet, The General Cashier, Jacques Brunet, The General Manager and Emmanuel Delahaye, The General Secretary.
Discovery of a new type of specimen!
The specimen is known as overprinted "SPECIMEN" in red in horizontal at the location of the watermark on the front and back. The bill is watermarked, signed Couquet / Brunet / Delahaye, dated "00-00-0000" and numbered "O.00 - 000". This specimen is not very rare. This is almost always offered for sale in very good condition (AU or UNC grades), often slab and currently achieves sales prices between € 500 and € 1200. A second specimen not listed in the reference works has just appeared! This copy, perfectly identical to the previous one, however has a "SPECIMEN" perforation in vertical on the right in addition (see picture below). After having carried out multiple researches and verifications, we think that it is currently the only known specimen! This copie, graded PMG About Uncirculated 55 was recently sold in September 2019 at $ 456 by Heritage Auctions, Auction # 4015 (lot # 28009).
Banknote inventory to date ...
We refer our readers to the consultation of a remarkable article by Mr. François Virecoulon which appeared during the summer of 2015 in the "Bulletin Numismatique # 144" of cgb.fr and entitled “The point on the 5000 F Apollo of the Bank of Algeria and 5000 F Apollo from Tunis” (but only in french).
The author already pointed out at the time a total of 74 known copies for the 5000 francs Apollo Type 1946 with a precise distribution between the years 1946 and 1947:
- 1946 (Issue from 4/11 to 27/12/1946) - Alphabets 1 to 37: 14 copies found.
- 1947 (Issue from 3/1 to 28/7/1947) - Alphabets 40 to 180: 60 copies found.
A few comments
Four years have passed since the article was published. So what about the alphabets 38 and 39? Have they finally been found?
We confirm that the notes dated 1946 are always rarer than those of 1947. Thus, by carrying out our checks on the “new specimen with vertical perforation”, we only found two other notes concerning the year 1946, but these two copies are particularly interesting. Indeed, the first note, numbered "A.1-989" and dated "4-11-1946", was observed on the front page of an Algerian newspaper, "L'ÉCHO D'ALGER", dated September 7, 1948 (see Appendix). It would therefore be the new smallest number known! Our second bill, numbered "F.1-397" and dated "4-11-1946", is in VF grade, which is exceptional for the Type. This note, which we are fortunate to have as an illustration of the Numizon catalog file and which illustrates the beginning of this article, sold for € 410 at cgb.fr, Live-auctions Banknotes in Summer 2019 (lot # 4320234) .
By identifying the year 1947 as being more common, Mr. Virecoulon proposed 4 years ago, to reconsider the ratings indicated in the work of MM. Muszynski and Kolsky. We therefore indicate to collectors the 6 banknotes currently available for sale and whose prices appear to us (except N ° 3 and N ° 5) in perfect adequacy with the real value of this magnificent Algerian bills:
- D.50-243 (17-1-1947) in F grade, on sale at € 80 by Numiscorner (lot # 267558),
- D.76-182 (24-2-1947) in F grade, on sale at € 100 by Numiscollection (lot # 100106226),
- T.135-115 (05-22-1947) in F/VF grade condition, on sale at € 199 by tresordupatrimoine.fr,
- W.161-079 (30-6-1947) in F/VF grade, on sale at € 145 on MA Shops,
- J.165-420 (4-7-1947) in G grade, on sale at € 70 by cgb.fr (lot # b05_0722),
- J.167-603 (8-7-1947) in F grade, for sale at € 100 on MA Shops.
The new banknote of 5,000 francs from the Bank of Algeria.
Here is the first note of 5,000 francs from the new issue of the Bank of Algeria. This note, which will be put into circulation in two or three days, includes on the front (our photo): in the left part, the profile of the Pythian Apollo, according to the statue of the Museum of Cherchell; in the center, a rectangular ornamental motif in multicolored print; on the right, in a clear part, the watermark representing a head of Moorish which already appears on various other notes. Trajan's triumphal arch in Timgad (Pompeii of Africa) occupies the central part of the back, in an irregular decorative frame. The new denomination will circulate “concurrently with the 5,000-franc note of the old type which continues to prevail.
- "The point on the 5000 F Apollo from the Bank of Algeria and 5000 F Apollon from Tunis" by François Virecoulon, "Bulletin Numismatique # 144", cgb.fr, summer 2015, pages 32 to 36.
- "The Banknote Book: Algeria" by Owen W. Linzmayer, banknotenews.com.
- "Banknotes from the Maghreb and the Levant" by Maurice Muszynski and Maurice Kolsky, Victor Gadoury Editions, 2002.
- "Banknotes of the Bank of Algeria and the Bank of Algeria and Tunisia" by Jean-Luc Aubert, 2002.
- cgb.fr, "Paper-Money Catalog # 18, Maurice Kolsky Collection, 2010.
- "Standard Catalog of World Paper Money", General Issues, 1368-1960.