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Un-adopted Bank Note Designs

India    Iran    Poland    Sierra Leone    Uruguay

Information about Czeslaw Slania's involvement in the design of bank notes is hard to come by owing to the high level of security surrounding the designing and production of banknotes. While some issuing banks have been more open in their disclosure policies (like the Canadian Central Bank concerning the recent 5$- and 100$-bills), others have kept very tight-lipped, especially if the designs were not adopted. 

Some of Slania's portrait engravings on bank notes are shown in Count Lennart Bernadotte's book "Das Lebenswerk von Czeslaw Slania", as well as in the quarterly news bulletin published by the Czeslaw Slania Study Group (CSSG), and various exhibition catalogues. So far the five following items are among those found to date. 


India 1996. Indian bank note of 10 rupees. Slania's Gandhi-engraving, scanned from an image of Jerzy Krysiak's exhibition catalogue in the Postal Museum in Wroclaw (Poland).

Beyond the obvious same pose, the two engravings are very different. Handling of the sparse hair on Gandhi's head and the moustache hairs is quite different. More private engravings of politicians are shown on this page. 

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The die proof print shown on the right was found by Piotr Naszarkowski on Slania's desk after his death. The image is a poor third-generation photocopy of the original, but Naszarkowski has overlaid and compared the portrait, line-by-line with the 20,000 rial banknote with the portrait of Ayatollah Khomeini shown immediately below, and tells that except for the collar and button which were changed, the images are exact. 

He never talked to Slania about this, but that is not unusual, as banknotes are very often kept secret during and after production. The fact that the die proof was on his desk points directly toward Slania having engraved the die. At present CSSG is looking for such information, which may be difficult to obtain. 

It should be noted that Slania himself to another close friend has denied this copy to be the one used for the series of banknotes.

  • Photocopy of an engraved portrait of Ayatollah Khomeini (denied by Slania). Scan from Close-up 2006, vol. 21, No.3. 

Photocopy of an engraved portrait of Ayatollah Khomeini (denied by Slania).Scan from Close-up 2006, vol. 21, No.3.

Iran 2003. Banknote showing Ayatollah Khomeini "small portrait". Iran 2003. Banknote showing Ayatollah Khomeini "large portrait".

The portrait of the Ayatollah on the two banknotes was produced in two different sizes exactly as shown, and are probably two different engravings. 

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On the Polish bank note from 1941 (left), Slania had produced a portrait of his then girlfriend. This very early effort was made as a tribute to her, but was of course not submitted to the Polish government for consideration, so as such it does not really fit the "un-adopted" category, much rather to the category of "Private Works", which are treated elsewhere on this site. 

At the time of the engraving he was only 20 years old, and had not yet emigrated to Sweden. 

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Sierra Leone 

The below portrait is of President Joseph Saidu Momoh (1937-2003), and was probably intended for a banknote or other public use. To the best of my knowledge the portrait has not been used on any banknote, or elsewhere. However, there does exist a series of banknotes, issued 1988-1993, showing Joseph Saidu Momoh's portrait, but it is NOT engraved by Cz. Slania, and is only shown here for the sake of completeness. Many thanks to Dr. Kayode Robbin-Coker (a Sierra Leonean national in the UK) for the information about the portrait engraving. More private engravings of politicians are shown on this page. 

Dr. Joseph Saidu Momoh, President of Sierra Leone 1988-1993. Date of engraving unknown.  

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A rendering of the Parliament Building of Uruguay looks very much like the image used by Uruguay on their series of bank notes from 1974 until 1992 (through a 1000:1 devaluation in 1975). 

The Parliament Building in Uruguay, engraved by Slania.

However, close examination reveals numerous differences in the lines and shading between the image reproduced in Lennart Bernadotte's book and the actual issued bank notes. 

Probably this was a case of more than one engraver competing for the same contract, working from the same original photograph or drawing. 

  • The Parliament Building in Uruguay, engraved by Slania. Scan from Count Lennart Bernadotte: "Das Lebenswerk von Czeslaw Slania". 


Uruguay 1988. Reverse side of a 50 Nuevos Pesos bank note. P61A. Uruguay 1994. Reverse side of a 1000 Nuevos Pesos bank note.

Please note that the two bank notes are of different size, exactly as shown here. 

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Czeslaw Slania being a very productive artist in many fields, he has also been involved in the initial design of the USA Duck Stamp (2005), as well as the Greta Garbo joint issue between USA and Sweden. These designs will be mentioned later in a coming section of designs.  

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