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1 Peso 1957, Cuba

in Krause book Number: 87b
Years of issue: 1957
Edition: --
Signatures: Presidente del Banco: Joaquin Martinez Saenz, Ministro de Hazienda: Justo García Rainery
Serie: No Serie
Specimen of: 1956
Material: Cotton fiber
Size (mm): 132 х 57
Printer: TDLR (Thomas de la Rue & Company), London

* All pictures marked magnify are increased partially by magnifying glass, the remaining open in full size by clicking on the image.

** The word "Specimen" is present only on some of electronic pictures, in accordance with banknote images publication rules of appropriate banks.

1 Peso 1957




1 Peso 1957

Text throughout the field of banknote: "Banco Nacional de Cuba".

José Julián Martí PérezThe engraving on banknote is made after this photo of José Martí.

José Julián Martí Pérez (January 28, 1853 - May 19, 1895) is a Cuban national hero and an important figure in Latin American literature. In his short life he was a poet, an essayist, a journalist, a revolutionary philosopher, a translator, a professor, a publisher, and a political theorist. He was also a part of the Cuban Freemasons. Through his writings and political activity, he became a symbol for Cuba's bid for independence against Spain in the XIX century, and is referred to as the "Apostle of Cuban Independence". He also wrote about the threat of United States expansionism into Cuba. From adolescence, he dedicated his life to the promotion of liberty, political independence for Cuba, and intellectual independence for all Spanish Americans; his death was used as a cry for Cuban independence from Spain by both the Cuban revolutionaries and those Cubans previously reluctant to start a revolt.

On the left side is the red seal of Cuban National Bank (the coat of arms of Cuba, on background is the five-pointed star).

monumentThe José Martí Memorial (Spanish: Monumento a José Martí) is a memorial to José Martí, a national hero of Cuba, located on the northern side of the Plaza de la Revolución in the Vedado area of Havana. It consists of a star-shaped tower, a statue of Martí surrounded by six columns, and gardens.

The 109 m. (358 ft.) tower, designed by a team of architects led by Raoul Otero de Galarraga, is in the form of a five-pointed star, encased in grey Cuban marble from the Isla de Pinos. The design was eventually selected from various entries put forward from a series of competitions beginning in 1939. Entries included a version of the tower topped with a statue of Martí, and a monument similar to the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. with a statue of Martí seated within. The fourth competition held in 1943 resulted in the selection of a design by the architect Aquiles Maza and the sculptor Juan José Sicre. In order to proceed with construction of the monument, the Monserrat Hermitage, which occupied the proposed site, had to be demolished. Various impediments to the acquisition of the Hermitage by the state led to delays in the demolition and the start of building work, so by 1952 – when Fulgencio Batista seized power in a coup – work on the construction had still not begun.

monumentEager to garner popular support after seizing power, Batista committed to pushing ahead with the construction of a monument to Martí; but rather than proceeding with the competition winner, he selected the design that had come third in the competition, created by a group of architects headed by Raoul Otero de Galarraga, a 1905 graduate of Harvard University, and included Enrique Luis Varela, Batista's Minister of Works and his personal friend, and Princeton University Professor Jean Labatut. The Monumento a Jose Marti was Raoul Otero de Galarraga's last major architectural and engineering project, and his proudest accomplishment. The base was huge and so deep that when looking from above, the men working below-grade looked like miniature men, and rebar was so heavy that six to eight men were required to carry each piece. The concrete, used to fill the base, took several days to pour.

The selection of this design caused something of a public outcry, and as a result the design was modified to remove the statue from the top of the tower, and to instead feature sculpturer Juan José Sicre's statue of Marti at the foot of the tower. Construction of the tower began in 1953 on the 100th anniversary of José Martí's birth. The marble was delivered to Havana from Isla de Pinos, then cut to the chief architect's specifications, and polished in Gallo's factory. Huge blocks of marble were sculpted by Sicre, one block at a time. Marti's thoughts were written in gold mosaic which came from Venice, Italy, and was personally inspected by Architect and Engineer, Raoul Otero de Galarraga and his son, Raul Otero.

The right to compensation for local inhabitants forced to move to make way for construction caused further problems; their case was taken up by a young Fidel Castro. The monument was finally completed in 1958 during the final days of the Batista dictatorship.

The selected design includes an enclosed observation deck on the top floor, the highest point in Havana, accessible by elevator which gives commanding views over the city in all directions. Housed on the ground floor of the tower which overlooks the city, the memorial features two rooms of correspondence, writings and items from the life of José Martí and displays relating his life story. A third room illustrates the history of the Plaza de la Revolucion, and a fourth room is used for displays of contemporary art. The centre of the tower houses the elevator and features walls decorated with quotes from Martí. Among other items on display is a replica of the sword of Simón Bolívar presented to Fidel Castro by Hugo Chávez during his visit to Cuba in 2002.

Outside, facing over the plaza and towards the mural of Che Guevara on the Ministry of the Interior on the opposite side of the square, is an 18 m (59 ft) white marble statue of Martí carved in situ by Sicre and surrounded by six half-height marble columns. The platform where the statue is located is used as a podium when rallies take place in the Plaza de la Revolución.

Tourists are able to ascend the memorial and enjoy the best panoramic view of Havana. However, many tourists have complained about the ad hoc charges that are administered by the memorial's officials, which varies wildly depending on the members of staff manning the ticket booths. Imposter groundspeople are not unknown to charge tourists to ascend the memorial steps.

Denominations in numerals are in all corners, in words on left side.


1 Peso 1957

The coat of arms is centered.


The Cuban Coat of Arms is the official heraldic symbol of Cuba. It consists of a shield, in front of a Fasces crowned by the Phrygian Cap, all supported by an oak branch on one side and a laurel wreath on the other. The coat of arms was created by Miguel Teurbe Tolón and was adopted on April 24, 1906.

The shield is divided into three parts:

In the chief, a key charging a blue sea between two rocks, symbolizing Cuba’s geographical position between Florida and the Yucatán Peninsula. A bright rising sun in the background symbolizes the rising of the new republic. A key is a symbol of Cuba as Cuba is the key to the Americas. On the left are the stripes of the flag of Cuba but turned so as they are bendwise. On the right is a common Cuban landscape, Royal Palm tree, a symbol of Cuba with mountains in the background.

The shield is supported by an oak branch on one side and a laurel wreath on the other. The oak branch symbolizes the strength of the nation; and the laurel wreath: honor and glory. These symbols were meant to represent the rights of man: Equality, Liberty and Fraternity.

A Phrygian Cap (Gorro Frigio) or liberty cap is located at the top, as a crown symbolizing liberty, with a sole star on it standing for independence.

sugarOn left side - Machetero (cutter of sugarcane). As a result of Soviet mechanization the number of Machetero decreased from 350 000 to 60 000 people. But due to the shortage of fuel and technology since 1991 their quantity has been increasing again.

sugarOn right side - the view at sugar mill, inside.

More about sugar industry in Cuba you can read here.

Denominations in numerals are in all corners, in words on right and left sides.


For assistance in preparing the material a special thanks to the following link:

(Strela. Банкноты и монеты rus.).