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50 Francs 1997, France

in Krause book Number: 157c
Years of issue: 1997
Signatures: Le Secretaire: D. Bruneel, Le Controleur: J. Bonnardin, Le caissier: Y. Barroux
Serie: 1993 - 1997 Issue
Specimen of: 1992
Material: Cotton fiber
Size (mm): 123 х 80
Printer: Banque de France, Chamalieres

* 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.

50 Francs 1997




Portrait of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

Since 1990, a new element of protection of French banknotes - security thread, sewn into a piece of paper.


50 Francs 1997

Antoine Marie Jean-Baptiste Roger de Saint-Exupery

The engraving on banknote is based, probably, on this photo of Exupéry.

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (29 June 1900 - 31 July 1944) was a French aristocrat, writer, poet, and pioneering aviator during a period when flying machines were made of sticks and fabric. He became a laureate of several of France's highest literary awards and also won the U.S. National Book Award. He is best remembered for his novella The Little Prince (Le Petit Prince) and for his lyrical aviation writings, including Wind, Sand and Stars and Night Flight.

Saint-Exupéry was a successful commercial pilot before World War II, working airmail routes in Europe, Africa and South America. At the outbreak of war, he joined the French Air Force (Armée de l'Air), flying reconnaissance missions until France's armistice with Germany in 1940. After being demobilized from the French Air Force, he traveled to the United States to persuade its government to enter the war against Nazi Germany. Following a 27-month hiatus in North America, during which he wrote three of his most important works, he joined the Free French Air Force in North Africa, although he was far past the maximum age for such pilots and in declining health. He disappeared over the Mediterranean on his last assigned reconnaissance mission in July 1944, and is believed to have died at that time.

Prior to the war, Saint-Exupéry had achieved fame in France as an aviator. His literary works - among them The Little Prince, translated into over 250 languages and dialects - posthumously boosted his stature to national hero status in France. He earned further widespread recognition with international translations of his other works. His 1939 philosophical memoir "Terre des hommes" became the name of a major international humanitarian group, and was also used to create the central theme (Terre des hommes - Man and His World) of the most successful world's fair of the XX century, Expo 67 in Montreal, Canada.

On the background is a world map, with pointed Saint-Exupéry's flights.

Bottom left is "Le Petit Prince".

The Little Prince (Le Petit Prince), first published in 1943, is a novella and the most famous work of the French aristocrat, writer, poet and pioneering aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

Top left is "Latecoere 28".

Latecoere 28

The Latécoère 28 was a successful French long-haul mail plane and passenger airliner of the 1930s. It was the main-stay of Air France's predecessor, Aéropostale in its efforts to establish intercontinental air mail services and support French colonialism and French cultural influence between the wars.

Its pilots included famous poets and French men of letters such as Antoine de Saint Exupéry and Jean Mermoz as well as the usual veterans from World War I.

Near is small elephant.

I found an interesting article about this elephant. Here, what wrote Antoine de Saint-Exupery:

"When I was six years old, in a book called "True Stories", which tells about the virgin forest, I saw one amazing picture. The picture is a huge snake - boa - swallowed a beast.


That's how it was pictured. The book said: "Boa swallow their prey whole, without chewing it. After that, he can not move and sleeps six months in a row, while not digest food."


I was thinking a lot about the adventurous life of the jungle and also painted his first colored pencil picture. It was my picture No1. That's what I drew.

I showed my creation to adults and asked them whether the drawing frightened.

- Is it scary hat? - they objected. And it was not a hat! It was a boa, that swallowed an elephant.


Then I drew a boa constrictor from the inside, to make it clearer for adults. Because you always have to explain them everything. Here is my picture No2.

Adults have advised me not to draw snakes either outside or inside, and more interested in geography, history, arithmetic and spelling. Here's how it happened that the six years I gave up a brilliant career of the artist. Having failed with drawings No1 and No2, I lost faith in myself. Adults never understand anything for yourself, but for the children is very tedious without end to all of them to explain and expound.

So I had to choose another profession, I trained as a pilot. I circled almost the whole world. And geography, to tell the truth, I really handy. I could at a glance distinguish China from Arizona. This is very useful if you loose your way in the night.

In my life I have met a lot of different serious people. I have long lived among adults. I saw them quite closely. And that, frankly, did not think of them better.

When I met an adult, who seemed to me reasonable and intelligent then others, I showed him my picture No1 - I kept it and always carried with me. I wanted to know, whether this person really understands something. But they said to me: "This is a hat." And I have not talked to them anymore about the boa, or jungle or about the stars. I applied to their concepts. I spoke with them about the bridge game and golf, politics and neckties. And adults were very happy to have met such a sensible man."

The name of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (top left, vertically) is written in the old way, which is wrong today.

Denomination in numeral is in lower right corner, in words and in numeral in lower left corner.


50 Francs 1997

Breguet 14

One of the first aircraft in which Antoine de Saint-Exupery began constant flights, became "Breguet 14".

The "Breguet 14" was a French biplane bomber and reconnaissance aircraft of World War I. It was built in very large numbers and production continued for many years after the end of the war. Apart from its widespread usage, it was noteworthy for becoming the first aircraft in mass production to use large amounts of metal rather than wood in its structure. This allowed the airframe to be lighter than a wooden airframe of the same strength, in turn making the aircraft very fast and agile for its size, able to outrun many of the fighters of the day. Its strong construction was able to sustain much damage, it was easy to handle and had good performance. The "Breguet 14" is often considered one of the best aircraft of the war.

Bottom right is, again, Le Petit Prince.

Top right is wind rose.

Denomination in numeral top left, in words and in numeral on the right side.


Reverse designer: Pfund, R

Le Petit Prince Le Petit Prince

To the lamb, in the ultraviolet:

"My new friend smiled softly, condescendingly.

"You yourself see,” he said, “this is not a lamb." This is a big ram. He has horns ..."(quote from the book).

All the drawings for the book were made by Saint-Exupéry himself.

There is an actual asteroid in the inner regions of the asteroid belt, named after the little prince - 46610 Bésixdouze.

Bésixdouze is French for B-six-twelve, and 46610 is B-612, written in hexadecimal format.