Friday, 25 July 2008

New Scottish banknotes - Stuart Rost, designer

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I thought it was very cool when New Zealand science legend Ernest Rutherford appeared on our $100 notes -- one of the few unalloyed good things the Reserve Bank of New Zealand has ever done. 

There's nothing quite like getting a bundle of Rutherfords as payment for a job well done; it's not gold, but it does at least offer superb aesthetic value.

So with a Rutherford judged as 'very cool,' these new Royal Bank of Scotland notes have to be judged as very cool indeed.

They combine two of my favourite things: bridges and money.  Kerry Rodgers   explains their significance  [hat tip Building Today magazine]:

It was no mere script writer's fancy that Captain James T. Kirk's chief engineer on the USS Enterprise spoke with a phony Scottish burr.  The Scots have long enjoyed reputations as serious engineers, whether of a mechanical or civil bent. 

... just one reason places like NZ's West Coast still have some mouldering engineering marvels from the nineteenth century still extant...

And it is highly appropriate that the backs of an entire new note issue from the Bank of Scotland pays homage to some of the more notable engineering achievements of the Land of the Mountain and the Flood.

Read  all of Rodgers article for a description of all the the fine engineering works depicted.



  1. How about the English ten pound note with Charles Darwin and the new 20 pound note with Adam Smith. Is that cool enough for you? :-)

  2. Ooh, that's very cool. I must take a look at those.

    Isn't it great how un-pomo banknotes are? The central bankers might print too many of them, but they can be damned good looking.

    Maybe I should start collecting them. :-)

  3. Have they put Adam Smith on the scottish notes? I thought they were going to, since he is the most influential scotsman ever.

  4. Scotland doesn't have a central bank, and the bank notes are not legal tender - each bank prints their own. So these notes represent a throwback to the days of free banking, as well as Scottish engineering marvels.

  5. Great idea but I personally think the design leaves a bit to be desired.

  6. "An image of Smith already appears on some Scottish £50 notes."

    See it in this BBC article:

  7. If you want to see Scottish £50, check out this excellent website. Shows notes from all three commercial banks in Scotland too.


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