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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Ships on old banknotes

Ships, not people?  The New Zealand fifty cent coin has an engraving of the Endeavour, but our notes, like those of other countries, are reserved for famous faces.

But a fascinating article on Nautipedia written by Ronald Greene proves that this was not always so.

"In the days before the Bank of Canada assumed control of all banknote issues in Canada," he begins, "the chartered banks issued their own notes. To the delight of the collector, there was a wide variety of designs in use, many of were extremely attractive. A good number of banknotes featured engravings, "vignettes" as they are called, of ships or of nautical themes. This article will discuss two related designs for banknotes of the Royal Bank of Canada, one issued, the other not. The two designs evoke some fascinating maritime history."

One note (or note proof, if there is such a term) is pictured above, and comes from Greene's collection.  But which ship is it?  Not the Titanic, he quickly established.

So, was the ship identified?  And why did the bank reject one of the two notes?

Read the story to see how dedicated researchers work.

With thanks to John M. MacFarlane

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