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The BCRA Museum Recovered Stolen Paper Money Sketches

INTERPOL Argentina will return eight stolen paper money sketches from 1935, 1941, 1948 and 1983 to the BCRA. They were about to be auctioned in the United States. The Department for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of the Federal Police together with the FBI's Art Crime Division—both part of INTERPOL International—recovered the works and delivered them to the Consulate General of Argentina in New York. In the coming days, the BCRA's authorities will receive the works in Buenos Aires.

In January 2018, the BCRA reported the disappearance of the sketches from the “Héctor Carlos Janson” Numismatic and Historical Museum upon learning that some of them were on the verge of 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.

The FBI's Art Crime Team got into contact with the numismatist that had the sketches in his possession. The collector, now under investigation, denied knowing that the sketches had been stolen and handed them in to the FBI. In turn, the court ordered their repatriation through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Argentina.

“The recovery of these prototypes is significant for the BCRA as it is a way of recovering the cultural heritage of Argentine society,” stated Mabel Esteve, Director of “Héctor Carlos Janson” Numismatic and Historical Museum.

Sketches

The sketches were handmade using different techniques. They were drawn by outstanding artists from the BCRA´s design department and the Mint House, 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: The 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 $m/n 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.

September 4, 2020.

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