header Notes Collection

50 Francs 1957, Belgian Congo

in Krause book Number: 32b
Years of issue: 01.04.57
Signatures: Directeur: Firmin Peigneux (19 July 1948 – 11 April 1952), Le Gouverneur: Hector - Jules Martin (17.06.1954 – 3.10.1960)
Serie: Banque Centrale du Congo Belge et du Ruanda-Urundi
Specimen of: 01.03.57
Material: Cotton fiber
Size (mm): 150 x 80
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 Francs 1957



50 Francs 1957



50 Francs 1957

The weaving is shown on the banknote: on the obverse - modern (at the time of issue of the banknote), and on the reverse - traditional.


Workers at the machines, in the workshop of the UTEXCO company in Leopoldville (today - Kinshasa).

TEXAF or Societe Financière et de Gestion TEXAF (previously UTEXAFRICA, Congotex UTEXLEO, UTEXCO) was a major textile manufacturer of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Since the 2007 liquidation of its textile manufacturing division, it has been operated out of Belgium and Kinshasa as part of a larger Belgian-headquartered Congolese textile and industrial firm under the name TEXAF. Under a series of brands, TEXAF operates in the sectors of textile design/distribution, transport, housing and construction, mechanical, and cotton plantation. UTEX operates quarrying under the name CARRIGRES, machine and rail transport fabrication under the name MECLCO, consumer textile sales branded as UTEXAFRICA, and a medical hospital, the Hospital Center UTEXAFRICA in Kinshasa.[2][3] All its arms operate in the DRC, while the company is based in Brussels.


TEXAF is best known as a brand name of DRC produced consumer textiles, along with UTEX, UTEXAFRICA, ONAFITEX, UTEXELEO, UTEXCO and IMMOTEX. From independence consumer textiles were among the most high profile domestic industries in Congo/Zaire. Based in Kinshasa, the company traces its lineage back to a 1925 Franco-Belgian company, founded in the then Belgian Congo, called TEXAF.

carding mashines

For the next idea, thanks to one user of my site from Belarus.

On background are the Carding machines.

Carding machines - machines for combing fibers. This is the separation of scraps of fiber into individual fibers, straightening and cleaning the fibers from debris, impurities, short fibers, the formation of a continuous roving belt from the loosened fiber mass. Carding is a preparatory process for spinning production, used for the primary processing of all types of raw materials - wool, flax, cotton, as well as artificial fibers. The carding process differs in the method and type of equipment used and can be carded or combed.

Carding is the processing of fiber with working devices - needles or teeth.

Combing is the combing of fibers with working devices - combs.

These carding processes are carried out on carding or combing machines.

The fiber processing process is carding. It is carried out by passing fibers between a needle or serrated belt, these are the main working devices of the card. In the process of carding, the fibers are freed from impurities, debris and tangled fibers are smoothed out.

Cards differ in the type of working equipment, which depends on the kind of raw material. Slip machines are used for cotton, and roller cards are used for wool.

Fiber supply to these machines also differs in the way it is fed; cotton is fed to the flattening machine in a uniform layer, previously loosened on a scutcher. The supply of wool fiber to the roller machine is carried out by a self-weight weighing equal portions of the fiber. The hat machine has the main working devices: drums - main, receiving, removable, as well as hats.

The hats are the plates of the needle tape, they are located on the main reel. The take-up drum has teeth on its surface, it receives the fiber first and, by combing it, cleans it of debris. After the fiber, the main drum takes over, the surface of which is covered with a needle tape. The fiber is located between the needle surface of the drum and the caps, which carry out carding, trash remains on the caps, the combed fiber falls on the removable drum and is removed from it with a removable comb, passes through a funnel and turns into a dense tape. The tape is packed in a cylindrical container.

To improve the carding quality, machines with two main drums are used. The main working devices of the roller machine are also drums: main, receiving and removable, runner and rollers: working and removable, which in pairs surround the main drum. The take-up drum performs the primary preparation of the fiber, dividing it into smaller fibers, and directs it to the main drum, the carding process goes between it and the work rollers, from which the removable rollers remove the remaining fiber and send it back to the main drum. The runner, when rotating, with its needles interacts with the needles of the main drum, brings fibers to its surface. Then the fibers fall on a removable drum, are leveled into a thick layer, uniform in composition, and removed with a removable comb. (Энциклопедия техники .rus)


Now a little about the person, on the right (in the foreground). It seems to me that he carves the patterns on the roller to apply them to the fabric. It may not sound very professional, but that's the point. I have written a request for this image to a couple of museums in the US and Belgium. Waiting for an answer!

Top, right, is a gold star. Most likely, the star is a legacy of the coat of arms of the Belgian Congo, where it symbolized hope that illuminates African darkness. (


50 Francs 1957

The weaving is shown on the banknote: on the obverse - modern (at the time of issue of the banknote), and on the reverse - traditional.

On the reverse, there are two rural weavers (one of the traditional professions of the Congo), which used rudimentary machines, in the background, a Congolese woman cooking outside her hut.

Now in more detail:

The entire description is based on my own research and inquiries!

Kuba textiles Kuba textiles

It seems to me that two rural weavers are weaving a kuba from raffia.

The Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly known as the Belgian Congo and then Zaire) is the third largest country in Africa.

Textiles are highly valued in the DRC and are often used to define status or traded as currency. The Kuba people of the Kasai River region produce a distinctive fabric called Kuba Cloth, whose fibres come from raffia palm leaves. The making of such cloth involves the entire Kuba community and men and women each take responsibility for specific parts of the process. Raffia is first harvested from the fields and woven on upright, single-heddle looms by the men. Women then fashion the woven cloth into skirts and, often add the finishing touches using cut-pile embroidery and appliqué, . The completed skirts, secured with a belt over a long underskirt are called mapels on a man and ntshacks on a woman, are also worn for special occasions. Belts, skirts and masks worn by members of the royal families are often decorated with such as abundance of cowrie shells and glass beads that one can only imagine the weight of these royal outfits.

The Shoowa tribe, close relative of the Kuba, also makes a raffia cloth using dried grass called Kasaï velvet. Working together, both genders weave the cloth. Then the women embellish the cloth with geometric designs and wavy, flowing lines. Traditionally, only pregnant women were allowed to decorate the cloth. (

Kuba textiles

Kuba textiles are unique in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, formerly Zaire, for their elaboration and complexity of design and surface decoration. Most textiles are a variation on rectangular or square pieces of woven palm leaf fiber enhanced by geometric designs executed in linear embroidery and other stitches, which are cut to form pile surfaces resembling velvet. Women are responsible for transforming raffia cloth into various forms of textiles, including ceremonial skirts, ‘velvet’ tribute cloths, headdresses and basketry.

Raffia is a natural fiber derived from the leaves of the Raphia farinifera palm tree. This tree has very large leaves that are collected, cut and divided into long parallel strips. These strips are then dried to produce long strands of raffia.


On background are the traditional houses of Kongo.


Gouverneur: Hector-Jules MARTIN (17.06.1954 - 3.10.1960).

Hector-Jules MARTIN

He was born in 1899 in Cuesmes. After studies at the Provincial Institute of Industrial Hainaut, it entered the Bank of Belgian Congo. He was appointed Secretary

Management in Leopoldville in 1922, Director in Elizabethville 1927 and director in Brussels in 1945. When the Central Bank the Belgian Congo and Ruanda-Urundi was established in 1951 H.Martin was appointed the first Director and in 1954, Governor.

Commissioner Hoover Foundation for Development University of Brussels, since 1942. Administrator-Treasurer Belgian Foundation in Montana, 1949. Administrator and Vice-

President of the Savings Bank of the Belgian Congo and Ruanda-Urundi, 1952-1958. Administrator and Vice-President of the Credit Company in Colonat and Industry, 1953-1958. treasurer Honorary Officer of the Belgian Red Cross. administrator

Chairman of Study Financial Group of the National Institute for the development of Bas-Congo "Inga", 1958-1960.

Directeur: Firmin Peigneux (19 July 1948 – 11 April 1952).

Firmin J. A. Peigneux was born in 1904 in the village of Moha, Liège. His parents were Arthur Joseph Peigneux (1876-1942) and Flore Lega (1879-1952). He joined the colonial service and arrived in the Belgian Congo in 1925 at the age of 21. Peigneux spent his entire colonial career in the southwest of the Belgian Congo, in Bas-Congo, Léopoldville and Kasaï. In 1926 his supervisor said in an evaluation report, "This officer has the qualities needed to become an elite administrator in the short term." He was sensible, tactful and thoughtful in his dealings with the natives, and that had earned him the confidence of leaders and elders.

Pierre Ryckmans travelled through Bas-Congo District in 1930-1931 investigating labor conditions. He reached the territory of Thysville on 6 November 1930, where Peigneux was the administrator 1st class. He found that censuses had badly under-counted dependent women and children, and excessive numbers of Africans were being employed by the European companies and on the railway. The north of the territory, near the river, held the center of Kimbanguism. Peigneux showed Ryckmans examples of Kimbanguist chants, psalm-like hymns that proclaimed the glory of the pure and the confusion of the unfaithful, Black and White, when Jesus would return. They interpreted the Old Testament curses against evil kings as allusions to missionaries and administrators.

Peigneux became commissioner of Kwango District, with capital at Kikwit. He became Governor of Kasaï Province on 19 July 1948, replacing Léon A. Hofkens. He held office until 11 April 1952, and was replaced by Roger Le Bussy. Peigneux had been recalled to Belgium for health reasons. He was one of the few provincial governors who were openly socialist in their views. Peigneux was admitted to the Order of Léopold on 15 November 1946. He was promoted to the rank of officer on 19 October 1949.

Peigneux's signature as a director, and that of governor Hector Martin, appears on notes of the Central Bank of Belgian Congo and Rwanda-Burundi (Banque Centrale du Congo Belge et du Ruanda-Urundi) between 1956 and 1958. In 1957 he was elected a member of the International Institute of Differing Civilizations. He was a member of a commission of inquiry sent to Rwanda in January 1960 to report on the violence there in November 1959. He died in 1968 in Huy, Liège at the age of 64.