header Notes Collection

50 Kronur 1974, Iceland

in Krause book Number: 49a
Years of issue: 1974
Signatures: David Olafsson, Johannes Nordal, 1967- 1986
Serie: 29 March 1961 Issue
Specimen of: 1961
Material: Cotton fiber
Size (mm): 135 х 70
Printer: Bradbury, Wilkinson & Company Limited, New Malden

* 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 Kronur 1974




Jón Sigurðsson.


50 Kronur 1974

Guðbrandur Þorláksson Guðbrandur Þorláksson

The engraving on banknote is made after this portrait of Guðbrandur Þorláksson. Today this portrait is in The National Museum, Reykjavik.

Guðbrandur Þorláksson (or Gudbrandur Thorlaksson) (1541 – July 20, 1627) was an Icelandic mathematician, cartographer and clergyman.

He studied at the cathedral school in Hólar and then at the University of Copenhagen. He and was successively rector of the school at Skálholt and minister at historic Breiðabólstaður in Vesturhóp. The first laws of Iceland had been written at Breiðabólstaður. The bar association of Iceland has erected a memorial by the site.

Guðbrandur Þorláksson was Bishop of Hólar from 1571 until his death on July 20, 1627. During his time as bishop, Guðbrandur edited and published at least 80 books, including first translation of the Bible in Icelandic (Guðbrandsbiblía) and the Icelandic Lawbook or legal code. He is also noted for having drawn the first good map of Iceland, published in Abraham Ortelius' Theatrum orbis terrarum in 1590. He had at least one child, a daughter named Steinunn, born in 1571 to Guðrún Gísladóttir.

On the banknote the written denomination is in a typeface matching that in Guðbrandsbiblía.

Denominations in numerals are in top corners. Centered in words.


50 Kronur 1974

press print

Two men (Swedish printers) of the XVI century at work (Gudbrandbibli's seal).

A manual typographic machine is a mechanical press, through which an image (usually text) is transferred onto paper or other material by means of a colorful printing form.

In Europe, Johann Gutenberg was the first to use a manual printing machine in the mid-1440s. It is believed that the basis of his invention lay the similar mechanisms of the wine press and the press of papermaking production. Gutenberg's inventions very soon spread throughout Europe, and then around the world. It is believed that the printing press and mobile letters became one of the key factors that accelerated the onset of the Renaissance.

gudbrandbiblia gudbrandbiblia

On background are the texts from Guðbrandsbiblía.

Guðbrandsbiblía (Guðbrandur's-Bible) has two tailpieces from two different woodcuts that appear in turn at the end of each chapter. Ornaments such as floral borders and tailpieces were popular in early printed works that were done with much ambition. This marked a visual continuation of illustrated illuminations in the manuscripts that preceded the art of printing that were heavily based on various interlaced patterns and sprouts.

There are speculations about Bishop Guðbrandur Þorláksson having carved out the tailpieces and other ornaments in the Bible himself and because he was known as an accomplished craftsman as well as being artistic. This was the first time images were printed in a book in Iceland. For a long time Guðbrandur was thought to have carved all of the imagery but we now know that some of the images have also been found in Bibles printed in Germany. The woodcuts were borrowed or bought from Germany.


Guðbrandsbiblía is the first Icelandic translation of the entire Bible. Guðbrandur finished the translation in 1584 and used older, partial translations to aid him whenever possible. It is said that seven people worked on printing the book and that it took two years to print 500 copies. It was an expensive book, costing the equivalent of 2-3 cows, depending on the financial status of the buyer. To finance the printing each church was expected to donate one ríkisdalur (state dollar) in addition to a rather generous royal grant. The printing of Guðbrandsbiblía played an important part in preserving the Icelandic language and culture. It was also one of very few sources of imagery that was distributed widely across Iceland at the time and therefore also played a part in forming the nation's visual literacy. (


In lower right corner is one of the woodcuts of Guðbrandsbiblía.

Denominations in numerals are in lower left and top right corners.


In 1987 a 50 Krónur coin was issued to replace the note.


An article in the newspaper (dated April 10, 1967) about printing and sorting of paper money in Bank Of Iceland.