Turner wins a Prize

Joseph Mallard William Turner, an English Romanticist landscape painter who was born in 1775 and died in 1851, has been chosen by the Bank of England to be the next character on its £20 note. A magnificent choice as Turner was one of the all-time great painters. He will replace the current £20 quid avatar of Scottish economist, Adam Smith. The new note should be circulated by 2020.

Each country’s currency is unique and while the office was having a game of monopoly during a liquid lunch break (where we got liquidated in two different ways) we discussed the more unusual banknotes that have brightened up our days.

50 Kaneek – Belarus

Belarus love their wildlife. The Belarussian 50 Kanneek (circa 1992) features a red squirrel. how nuts is that? Other notes printed at the time included images of beavers, bears and wolves. It makes you wonder if the saying, name a famous Belgian should have been name a famous Belarusian instead. I expect a Belarusian wolf at the door any day now.

Punched out Mobutu Banknotes (Zaire)

Dictators always get their comeuppance, one way or another. In 1997 when the new government in the Democratic Republic of the Congo found itself short of notes it used used 20,000 Zaire (DR Congo’s name at the time) notes and punched out the face of the old dictator, Joseph Mobutu, creating a polo mint currency. This was a Rumble in the Jungle that Ali and Foreman would have been proud of.

10 Dollars – Cook Islands

From the wretched to the beautiful. And what could be more beautiful than the Cook Islands’ ten dollar bill? Although the region primarily uses the New Zealand dollar, the Cook Islands still issue their own distinctive currency – including this one-of-a-kind note featuring a topless woman riding a shark. Strangely, no other bank in the world will exchange this currency. It must be something to do with Jaws. Sharks don’t half get a bad press.

Now you may laugh or marvel at these outlandish offerings but I tell you what, seeing as I’ve not got any Turner originals on my wall or stashed away in the cupboard I’d love to have just one of those notes. Just one of them in my hand would cure my money problems. You see, I rolled the dice and it didn’t come up trumps. I’ve landed on the Sub-Editor’s Mayfair box and he’s got a hotel on it.

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2 Comments on “Turner wins a Prize”

  1. Fascinating, JW, and how beauteous the Cook Islands and Belarus. And how gratifying for someone to `punch out the face` of an old dictator…

    Hugely enthused, I`ve been scrabbling in my treasure box for money from holidays of yore. Hurray! I found two beautiful 1000-Spanish peseta notes displaying handsome men-with-ruffs, and three 1000-Italian lire notes with a grand building and a man looking pensive.

    Fond memories, but I suspect my money problems won`t be cured either. (Is it worth ebaying, one wonders…)

  2. theroyalist Says:

    Money, money, money. It’s all Abba’s fault.

    Lucky you finding those old currencies, Dolores, I’m sure they are worth a pretty penny. My unused, extra foreign cash was always exchanged as soon as I got off the
    boat/hovercraft/dolphin/plane/fighterjet/spaceship from foreign climes.

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