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Recovered Historical Documents Return to the BCRA Museum

The eight stolen paper money sketches from 1935, 1941, 1948 and 1983 that had been stolen from the “Héctor Carlos Janson” Numismatic and Historical Museum are back at the BCRA. In a ceremony headed by the BCRA Vice President, Sergio Woyecheszen, the Chief of the Argentine Federal Police, Juan Carlos Hernández, delivered the recovered sketches.

“It is a pleasure to have the sketches back because they are part of the history of our banknotes´ designs,” said Mabel Esteve, Director of the “Héctor Carlos Janson” Numismatic and Historical Museum during the ceremony. “These sketches are important because they help us to appreciate former designers; our current artists are inspired by these previous designs,” added Esteve.

“Mabel mentioned that Argentine paper money generates interest around the world due to the cultural wealth of its designs and the history embedded in it. The BCRA together with the Ministry of Economy seek to restore the value of currency for Argentineans. We know it is a challenge that is even greater on account of this pandemic that has damaged the world economy, probably, as never before; however, it is a challenge we are willing to face because it will allow us to think in pesos again,” said Woyecheszen.

The ceremony was also attended by the Secretary of Cultural Heritage of the Ministry of Culture, Valeria González; representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; the Deputy Chief of the Argentine Federal Police, Osvaldo Rubén Mato; the Director of International Coordination of the Argentine Federal Police, Aldo Álvarez; the Head of the INTERPOL National Central Bureau in Buenos Aires, Edgardo Moses; and the Head of the INTERPOL Department for the Protection of Cultural Heritage, Fernando Gómez Benigno.

The Department for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of the Argentine Federal Police together with the FBI's Art Crime Team of the US—both part of INTERPOL International—recovered the works in New York. The BCRA reported the disappearance of the sketches from the Museum upon learning that some of them were being put up for auction in New York. Once the Federal Justice ordered that the sketches be entered into the international database of stolen works of art, different international organizations began to work together and eventually the works were recovered.

Sketches

The sketches were handmade using different techniques. They were drawn by outstanding artists from the BCRA´s design department and the Mint, and by designers from companies such as Thomas de la Rue and Waterloo and Son, which were hired by the BCRA after it became the monetary authority.

Recovered designs:

• Prototype of the obverse and reverse side of the $m/n 1,000 (one thousand pesos moneda nacional) banknote from 1935. Color engraving test. Design not approved for circulation. In the lateral side, a female figure with an emblem and a torch that represents the Argentine Republic. Illustration on the reverse side: Painting titled “Segunda fundación de Buenos Aires” by José Moreno Carbonero.

• Prototype of the reverse side of the $m/n 5 (five pesos moneda nacional) banknote from 1941. Design not approved for circulation. Piece protected by a film. In the lateral right side, the symbol of freedom.

• Prototype of the reverse side of the $m/n 1 (one peso moneda nacional) banknote from 1941. Design not approved for circulation. Piece protected by a film. In the center, the symbol of freedom.

• Prototype of the reverse side of the $m/n 10 (ten pesos moneda nacional) banknote from 1948. Design not approved for circulation. In the center, the symbol of the sower. Piece protected by a film.

• Prototype of the reverse side of the $a 20 (twenty pesos argentinos) banknote from 1983. Design not approved for circulation. In the lateral side: The portrait of General José de San Martín.

• Prototype of the reverse side of the $a 5 (five pesos argentinos) banknote from 1983. Design not approved for circulation. In the lateral side: The portrait of General José de San Martín..

• Prototype of the reverse side of the $a 1 (one peso argentino) banknote from 1983. Design not approved for circulation. In the lateral side: The portrait of General José de San Martín..

• Prototype of the reverse side of the $a 1 (one peso argentino) banknote from 1983. Design not approved for circulation. In the lateral side: The portrait of General Manuel Belgrano.

BCRA JMB

November 4, 2020

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