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Of Scientists and Mountains: Hideyo Noguchi

Todays discussion is in regards to the 2004 1000 Yen banknote from Japan, pick numbers 104a, 104b and 104c.

This banknote, which was issued by the Bank of Japan (aka the Nippon Ginko), prominently features the bacteriologist Hideyo Noguchi on its front and a scene of the great Mount Fuji on its reverse.

Noguchi was born on November 24, 1876 in Inawashiro, Fushima in the Empire of Japan and at a young age of 1 1/2 years old found himself in the fireplace which lead to the disfigurement of one of his hands. Not letting this stop him, he later graduated from Saisei Gakusha, modern day Nippon Medical School and with a degree in hand he moved to the United States in 1900. Originally working with Dr. Simon Flexner at the University of Pennsylvania, Noguchi eventually found himself working for the Rockefeller Institute of Medical Research.

Nominated for the Nobel prize for both Physiology and Medicine, Noguchi was seen as a rising star but modern historians have called into question this glowing review. For example, in 1911 Noguchi was accused of inoculating orphan children with syphilis. Although acquitted at the time, contemporary 20th century lawyers use this specific case as an early instance of unethical human experimentation. Despite these transgressions, in 1913 Noguchi discovered that the bacteria Treponema pallidum, a relative of the bacteria which causes syphilis, was present in patients who suffered from progressive paralysis and his discovery would be used to ultimately lead to the treatment of syphilis itself.

Noguchi spent the rest of his life in British Ghana attempting to develop a cure for Yellow Fever. Despite his best attempts Noguchi instead developed a treatment for leptospirosis, which although having many of the same symptoms, was miscorrectly labeled as Yellow Fever by Noguchi. Ironically, in his search of a cure he died of the very illness he sought to cure dying in Accra on May 21, 1928 at the age of 51. Noguchi is seen as a very controversial figure in modern medicine, and is know for his discovery of the cure for syphilis and leptospirosis, and his innovation of using snake venom in vaccines. He is equally well know for his reckless experimentation practices and his love of working in isolation. However you see him, he is indeed noteworthy.

Most people who have heard of Japan have probably also heard of Mount Fuji. This mammoth stratovolcano stands at a staggering 3776m (12 389ft) making it Japan's largest mountain. One of the three Holy mountains, along with Mount Tale and Mount Haku, Mount Fuji has one of the most notorious forests in the world, Aokigahara, more commonly referred to as the Suicide Forest which is the preferred place of death for many Japanese people looking to end their own life. The amount of sucides in this place is so high that officials have plastered the forest with signs urging suicidal visitors to seek help and to not kill themselves, and listing local suicide hotline numbers.

Interestingly, the summit of Mount Fuji was actually forbidden to women until the Meji Era. The gaint still pierces through the Tokyo skyline and has been a UNESCO cultural heritage site since 2013. The designation of a cultural hertiage site rather then a natural hertitage site is tied to the mountains inspiration, which is reflected by many artists and poets over the centuries. Indeed these artists have carved Mount Fuji into the hearts and minds of the Japanese population, as well as many others from abroad. This makes the man, mountain, and money truly noteworthy!

More Information About benuminister
By benuminister on 2014-11-28

Sex and Scum Banknotes: Seychelles Rupees

Although in banknote collecting circles the infamous Seychelles 50 Rupee banknote (p17), which was issued from 1968 to 1973, is well known, this peculiar and well known banknote, which features some distinctive palm fronds spelling the word "SEX" behind the queens head, has a lot of controversy surrounding it.


The Famous Seychelles SEX Banknote: 50 Rupees from 1968-1973

Very little is known about how this sort of printing "anomaly" happened. Even some senior members of the IBNS (Internation Bank Note Society) cannot agree. In one article on the web the writing is described as an unintentional error whereas another article describes the BWC (Bradbury, Wilkinson & Co., the company responsible for printing these banknotes) banknote engraver as a rogue.

In regards to this allegation, it can be said that the artists who were commissioned to prepare drawings for the whole series, Wendy Day Veevers-Carter and Mary Harwood, were definitely not the culprits as their drawings and designs, which are available for viewing in the IBNS journal (volume 34 no 1) clearly shows a palm tree that in no way spells "SEX", or any other word for that matter. The same article it is explained that the engraver, a man by the name of Brian Fox of BWC* probably altered the original drawings or at least approved the changes to what ended up being the printed version of these famous banknotes of Seychelles. What is not know, and will probably never be known for sure, is whether the changes were an unintentional paper money printing anomaly, of whether the hidden word "SEX" was included on purpose.

Exactly when this hidden word was initially discovered by the wider community is known, as nothing was done to alter the design or retract the banknotes from circulation between their issue dates of 1968-1973**.

One anomaly within a series of paper money is scarce, but may be acceptable. However, a second and much less know anomaly from the same series must at least raise an eyebrow. The notes in this series, with denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 rupees, also had a hidden word inextricably located on the 10 rupee banknote (p15).

Under the flipper of the turtle at the lower left of the banknote, the coral is arranged to spell the word "SCUM". The how, why, and when of this is a bigger mystery than the mystery of the 50 Rupee note. It is very hard to conceive, though not impossible, that two coincidences of this nature occur with words that are not particularly complimentary in the same series of notes, from the same printer, and at the same time. It would probably be timely to ask what motive there was to do such a thing to these notes. One plausible idea put forward was that this was done to somehow aid Seychelles in their bid for independence which was started around 1964 and was finally achieved in 1976. It seems the whole thing may have been an intentional insult to the crown, under who's administration the Seychelles were. This is purely the opinion of a few, and no such links have ever been established.


The Famous Seychelles SCUM Banknote: 10 Rupees from 1968-1973

However, there is no doubt that BWC, in producing this series of Seychelles banknotes with their "anomalies", has brought about one of the most highly sought after series of British Commonwealth paper money. Anomalies aside, for their age the designs of these banknotes are truly some of the best in the Queen Elizabeth II series, and a must for collectors of the same.

The Seychelles 10 Rupee note had only two issues in the years 1968 and 1974, whereas the 50 Rupee banknote from Seychelles was issued every year from 1968-1973 with the exception of 1971.

* BWC were taken over by De La Rue sometime after this event so research into this is very limited; the secrecy with which banknote printers must operate is also a contributing factor in the lack of a resolution to this story.

** In a similar incident, where Canadian banknotes included an effigy of the devil in the hairdo of Queen Elizabeth II (devil's hair notes), the banknotes were re-printed with a correction, and the originals were slowly withdrawn from circulation, though many are still available for collectors.

More Information About cats25
By cats25 on 2014-11-03

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