From Saarland to Madagascar ...
or the multiple lives of the 1,000 francs type 1893
Articles by Sept. 15, 2019- on
Among the many wonders produced by the Banque de France between 1800 and 2000, there are notes that have had a more atypical destiny than others. This is the case of the banknote that I will speak to you today, the 1,000 francs type 1893 Chazal "not issued" (1). We are in the midst of the Franco-Prussian War of 1870. In the chaos of history, the Bank of France, which wants to stay one step ahead of counterfeiters, makes the decision to design a new high-value banknote. featuring the latest manufacturing and security techniques. It is the painter Camille Chazal (1825-1875) who is designated to work on the project. But the artist is at the end of life and disappears in 1875. His works are taken again in 1892 by Georges Duval (1847-1919) which completes the front of a pink safety background. The note should normally replace the 1,000 francs type 1889 Bleu et rose (Ref. Pick: # 67 or Fayette-Dessal: # F.36). The program was authorized on 9 February 1893 for the production of 300 alphabets (1 to 299). But the production is finally stopped and the banknote is put in reserve ... Another note that will also remain unmitted, the 1,000 francs type 1897 Flameng (Ref. Pick: # NA or Fayette-Dessal: # NE.1897.01), already makes him a shade and announces especially a radical change in printing techniques: CMYK color model!
The second life of the 1,000 francs type 1893!
We must make a detour to the Saar to find a second version of this banknote. Between 1920 and 1930, France occupied and administered the autonomous territory of the Saar Basin, in order to control and exploit the coal mines in financial compensation for the damages of the First World War. A series of seven banknotes is prepared but only two notes are issued: a 50 cent note (Pick: P.SAAR 01 or Fayette-Dessal: # VF.50) and a 1 franc note (Pick: P.SAAR 02 or Fayette-Dessal: # VF.51). The five other denominations of 5, 10, 50, 100 and 1000 francs are not issued and remain in the proof state. The 1,000 francs type 1920 Mines Domaniales de la Sarre is identical to the front and back of the 1,000 francs type 1893, but with dominant brown and pistachio green colors.
This 1000 francs appeared for the first time on sale in 2011 in a catalog of the house Worbes Berlin. Is it the same cut, in any case Worbes always offers a copy of this event on its website at the price of ... 25000 euros! Notice to the amateurs. We currently know only two copies of this banknote: the one pictured above, in a private collection, and the one on sale at Worbes. For information, it seems, according to Worbes that the Bank of France does not have any copy of this test in its archives!
The third life of the 1,000 francs type 1893!
We end this trip on the other side of the world ... Madagascar! It is on this island of the Indian Ocean that we find the 1,000 francs type 1893, this time adapted for a issue of a 1,000 francs type 1926 Madagascar (Ref. Pick: # 42 or Kolsky: # 815). The note is large: 225 x 130 mm, but seems smaller than its "ancestor" of 25mm in length! The watermark on the left has a profile of Ceres and the right watermark is a profile of Mercury. The banknote is printed in polychrome with a dominant pink for the background of security. There are two signatures with The Comptroller General, André Dejouany and the Director General, Henri Saurin. Below is a double-sided, large-margin paper copy, signed but not watermarked, and pasted on paperboard (2).
The issued note is very rare. Some known copies: M.1-242, V.1-423, U.2-265, V.2-105, V.3-011, S.4-043, V.4-985 and Y.4-130 (this last note is sold at € 9,260.00 without fees, during the Live Auction Banknotes of July 2019 at cgb.fr, lot # 4310366).
A single-sided proof of the front is also known non-watermarked, unsigned, numbered O.000 - 000, slab PCGS 53 About UNC EPQ and approved on the back "accepted template" with a signature.
The 1,000 francs type 1893 will have finally crossed the borders and the continents on several key periods of our history ... And like a chameleon, it will be offered to several banks of emissions for the greatest happiness of the collectors!
(1) We unfortunately do not have good front and back photos of the 1000 Franc type 1893 banknote, but you can see a definitive proof and a detailed description on pages 180 and 181 of Claude Fayette's book: "Les billets de la Banque de France et du Trésor, 1800-2002", 2007 edition.
(2) For reasons of legibility, the proofs were cropped. These are from the Live Auction Banknotes from May 2017 at cgb.fr (lot # 4130097).