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 Bank Note Companies
(1795-present)

Bank note and stock certificate engravers have been producing art depicting the American economic scene since the first stock certificate with an engraved vignette (for the Philadelphia and Lancaster Turnpike Road) was issued in 1795. Mining companies naturally wanted mining scenes to adorn their company certificates and scrip (company money), and thus was born a new genre of mining art. Fortunately the New York Stock Exchange has long required that the name of the engraving company (if not the actual engraver) appear on the face of all certificates traded, so we can easily identify the producers today. And in the 1880's it also issued an edict that stock certificates should carry a vignette to make counterfeiting more difficult. Some engravers worked from photographs of miners or of the mine buildings, and others drew from their imaginations.

By far the most prominent of the engraving and printing companiesóand the producer of the best mining artówas the American Bank Note Company, co-founded in 1810 by Robert Scot, who had been appointed by Thomas Jefferson to be the first chief engraver for the United States Mint in 1793. Originally known as Murray, Draper, Fairham & Company (after Scot's three partners), it merged in 1858 with six other engraving companies to form the American Bank Note Company. In addition to producing millions of U.S. Government bank notes annually, as well as postage stamps and public and private securities certificates, the company also printed currencies, bonds and stamps for various foreign countries including Argentina, Colombia, Brazil, Ecuador, Italy, Peru and Uruguay. In the 20th century the American Bank Note Company continued to absorb smaller engraving firms such as Franklin, Homer Lee, Western, and International. It remains a major International producer today.

For REPRODUCTION PERMISSION and high-resolution images of the engravings shown here, all from the Mineralogical Record Library, contact minrecord@comcast.net.

W.E.W.

Reference:
Tamarkin, B., and Krantz, L. (1999) The Art of the Market. Stewart, Tabori and Chang, New York, 176 p.

Click on thumbnail picture to see larger image.
Number of artworks found: 61 | Artworks being viewed: 1 to 8

The Mineralogical Record:  Bank Note Companies - Guanajuato, Mexico 1828 (10-peso bill) Guanajuato, Mexico 1828 (10-peso bill)
Depicts the famous Mexican silver-mining town of Guanajuato in 1828. Banco de Mexico 10-peso bill (1961), copyright American Bank Note Company; Mineralogical Record Library specimen.
The Mineralogical Record:  Bank Note Companies - Cerro de Pasco Copper Corporation (stock certificate) Cerro de Pasco Copper Corporation (stock certificate)
Depicts the Cerro de Pasco, Peru mines (1915), engraved and printed by the Republic Bank Note Company, Pittsburgh; Mineralogical Record Library specimen.
The Mineralogical Record:  Bank Note Companies - New Cornelia Copper Company  (stock certificate) New Cornelia Copper Company (stock certificate)
Depiction of an ore train being loaded in the open pit mine at Ajo, Arizona, probably engraved from a photograph (undated, probably 1900-1920), engraved and printed by the American Bank Note Company; Mineralogical Record Library specimen.
The Mineralogical Record:  Bank Note Companies - Phelps Dodge Corporation  (stock certificate) Phelps Dodge Corporation (stock certificate)
Depicting a miner drilling into the floor of a drift (undated, probably 1920's-1930's), engraved and printed by the American Bank Note Company; Mineralogical Record Library specimen.
The Mineralogical Record:  Bank Note Companies - Magma Copper Company  (stock certificate) Magma Copper Company (stock certificate)
Depicting the Magma mine, Superior, Arizona (1910), engraved and printed by the American Bank Note Company; Mineralogical Record Library specimen.
The Mineralogical Record:  Bank Note Companies - Arizona Commercial Mining Company  (stock certificate) Arizona Commercial Mining Company (stock certificate)
Depicting miners drilling underground (1912), engraved and printed by the John A. Lowell Bank Note Company, Boston; Mineralogical Record Library specimen.
The Mineralogical Record:  Bank Note Companies - New Dominion Copper Company  (stock certificate) New Dominion Copper Company (stock certificate)
Depicting a miner dumping an ore car down an ore chute (1921), engraved and printed by the New York Bank Note Company; Mineralogical Record Library specimen.
The Mineralogical Record:  Bank Note Companies - Tuolumne Copper Mining Company  (stock certificate) Tuolumne Copper Mining Company (stock certificate)
Depicting two miners drilling, engraved from a known photograph (1900-1918), engraved and printed by the Western Bank Note & Engraving Company, Chicago; Mineralogical Record Library specimen.
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The Mineralogical Record Museum of Art is is supported entirely by donations from
Kathryn and Bryan Lees, Rob Lavinsky, Wendell Wilson and Susan Robinson.

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