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50 Francs 1950. 100 years of Neptune discovery, France

in Krause book Number: 127c
Years of issue: 24.08.1950
Edition: --
Signatures: Le Caissier General: J. Cormier, Le Secrétaire General: P. Gargam (29.06.1950 - 16.11.1950)
Serie: 1945 - 1949 Issue
Specimen of: 14.03.1946
Material: Cotton fiber
Size (mm): 120 х 78
Printer: Banque de France, Chamalieres

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50 Francs 1950. 100 years of Neptune discovery



100 Francs 1950

Profile of Neptune.


50 Francs 1950. 100 years of Neptune discovery

A bit of history:

After the liberation of France by the Allies, in the Second World War, the country was for some time in financial chaos.

France was flooded with temporary banknotes printed in the USA, which, among other things, were also forged in an incredible amount. Then the question arose about introducing its own, more secure currency.

The first proposal came from the Americans. A banknote of 100 Francs, blue, with a portrait of Moliere, was proposed. But this option was rejected by the Bank of France (and General De Gaulle, in particular), since the banknote was very similar in design to American dollars.

This note refers to a new series of "Famous People of France and Workers' Professions", initiated by the decision of the General Council of the Bank of France in 1945 (the topic of this banknote was agriculture and fishing). This series includes still fifty franc notes Leverrier and five hundred francs Chateaubriand. The series is made in the Art Deco style, inspired the development of the design of French banknotes in the last series of 1992.

On the banknote are - the portrait of Le Verrier, his eyes turned towards the sky, and on his face the shadow of his right hand, while in his left hand he holds a compass. On the background is the facade of the Observatory of Paris , where he used to work.

Urbain Jean Joseph Le Verrier (11 March 1811 – 23 September 1877) was a French mathematician who specialized in celestial mechanics and is best known for predicting the existence and position of Neptune using only mathematics. The calculations were made to explain discrepancies with Uranus's orbit and the laws of Kepler and Newton. Le Verrier sent the coordinates to Johann Gottfried Galle in Berlin, asking him to verify. Galle found Neptune in the same night he received Le Verrier's letter, within 1° of the predicted position. The discovery of Neptune is widely regarded as a dramatic validation of celestial mechanics, and is one of the most remarkable moments of 19th-century science.

Observatoire de Paris Observatoire de Paris

On background is the south facade of Paris Observatory, where Le Verrier used to work.

The Paris Observatory (French: Observatoire de Paris or Observatoire de Paris-Meudon), a research institution of PSL Research University, is the foremost astronomical observatory of France, and one of the largest astronomical centers in the world. Its historic building is to be found on the Left Bank of the Seine in central Paris, but most of the staff work on a satellite campus in Meudon, a suburb southwest of Paris.

Its foundation lies in the ambitions of Jean-Baptiste Colbert to extend France's maritime power and international trade in the XVII century. Louis XIV promoted its construction, which was started in 1667 and completed in 1671. It thus predates by a few years the Royal Greenwich Observatory in England, which was founded in 1675. The architect of the Paris Observatory was Claude Perrault whose brother, Charles, was secretary to Colbert and superintendent of public works. Optical instruments were supplied by Giuseppe Campani. The buildings were extended in 1730, 1810, 1834, 1850, and 1951. The last extension incorporates the spectacular Meridian Room designed by Jean Prouvé.

The world's first national almanac, the Connaissance des temps, was published by the observatory in 1679, using eclipses in Jupiter's satellites to aid sea-farers in establishing longitude. In 1863, the observatory published the first modern weather maps. In 1882, a 33 cm. (13 in.) astrographic lens was constructed, an instrument that catalyzed what proved to be the over-ambitious international Carte du Ciel project.

In November 1913, the Paris Observatory, using the Eiffel Tower as an antenna, exchanged sustained wireless (radio) signals with the United States Naval Observatory to determine the exact difference of longitude between the two institutions.

Denomination in numerals are in top corners, in words - at the top.


50 Francs 1950. 100 years of Neptune discovery

On banknote - god Neptune with a trident, holds by right hand a newt. Behind Neptune are the symbols of two constellations, Capricorn and Aquarius, symbolizing the discovery of Neptune.

Six-pointed stars (hexagrams) are in three corners. Two red curves indicate the plane of the ecliptic and celestial equator.

Near Neptune is an inscription: "Neptune 1846".

Neptune is the eighth and farthest known planet from the Sun in the Solar System. In the Solar System, it is the fourth-largest planet by diameter, the third-most-massive planet, and the densest giant planet. Neptune is 17 times the mass of Earth and is slightly more massive than its near-twin Uranus, which is 15 times the mass of Earth and slightly larger than Neptune. Neptune orbits the Sun once every 164.8 years at an average distance of 30.1 astronomical units (4.50×109 km.). It is named after the Roman god of the sea and has the astronomical symbol ♆, a stylized version of the god Neptune's trident.

The planet Neptune was mathematically predicted before it was directly observed. With a prediction by Urbain Le Verrier, telescopic observations confirming the existence of a major planet were made on the night of September 23-24, 1846, at the Berlin Observatory, by astronomer Johann Gottfried Galle (assisted by Heinrich Louis d'Arrest), working from Le Verrier's calculations. It was a sensational moment of 19th century science and dramatic confirmation of Newtonian gravitational theory. In François Arago's apt phrase, Le Verrier had discovered a planet "with the point of his pen".

In retrospect, after it was discovered it turned out it had been observed many times before but not recognized, and there were others who made various calculations about its location, which did not lead to its observation. By 1847 the planet Uranus had completed nearly one full orbit since its discovery by William Herschel in 1781, and astronomers had detected a series of irregularities in its path that could not be entirely explained by Newton's law of gravitation. These irregularities could, however, be resolved if the gravity of a farther, unknown planet were disturbing its path around the Sun. In 1845 astronomers Urbain Le Verrier in Paris and John Couch Adams in Cambridge separately began calculations to determine the nature and position of such a planet. Le Verrier's success also led to a tense international dispute over priority, because shortly after the discovery George Airy, at the time British Astronomer Royal, announced that Adams had also predicted the discovery of the planet. Nevertheless, the Royal Society awarded Le Verrier the Copley medal in 1846 for his achievement, without mention of Adams.

The discovery of Neptune led to the discovery of its moon Triton by William Lassell just seventeen days later.

Text on top: "L'Article 139 du Code Pénal Punit des Travaux Forcés Ceux qui Auront Contrefait ou Falsifié les Billets de Banques Autorisées par la Loi.

Ainsi que Ceux oui Auront Fait Usage de Ces Billets Contrefaits ou Falsifies."

In English: "Article 139 of the criminal code.

Penal Punit of Forced Labor for those, who Have Counterfeited or Falsified Bank Bills. As well as those, who will Have Made Use Of These Counterfeit or Falsified Tickets."

Denomination in numeral is in top right corner, in words - at the bottom.


Obverse engraver: André Marliat.

Reverse engraver: Georges Regnier.

Designer: Eugène Poughéon.