Collection Inspiration: Eagles
Posted on 6/20/2023
National Bald Eagle Day is a day dedicated to celebrating and raising awareness about the bald eagle, the iconic national bird of the United States. This day is observed annually on June 20, in celebration of the day when the Second Continental Congress selected bald eagles as the national symbol of the United States in 1782.
In the late 20th century, bald eagle populations faced severe threats due to habitat destruction, hunting and the use of harmful pesticides, such as DDT. As a result, they were listed as an endangered species. However, thanks to conservation measures and legal protections, the bald eagle population has made a remarkable recovery. In 2007, the bald eagle was removed from the endangered species list.
The bald eagle is just one of the many kinds of eagles featured on banknotes from around the world. Here are ten examples.
Ten Eagle Notes
Eagle symbolism in the US is deeply ingrained in the nation's identity and history. The bald eagle is the national bird and a powerful emblem of strength, courage and freedom. Its majestic presence and keen eyesight symbolize vision, foresight and clarity of purpose, while its magnificent appearance and soaring flight embody the nation's aspirations for greatness. From the Great Seal of the United States to various national emblems, the eagle is found throughout American iconography.
In ancient Egypt, the eagle held significant symbolism, representing various concepts and deities. It was revered as a divine creature and believed to embody the presence of the gods. Associated with the sun god Ra, the eagle was considered a protective power, guarding the pharaoh and providing defense against malevolent forces. As a royal symbol, the eagle represented the authority and power of the king, highlighting their divine connection and role as intermediaries between the gods and the people. In more modern times, the Eagle of Saladan emblem has been adopted as a national symbol by several Arab countries, including in the Egyptian coat of arms seen on this note.
The Czech Republic's national coat of arms includes a left-facing eagle with its tongue out. This was adopted from the coat of arms of the Silesia region, located in the country’s northeast. The eagle symbolizes strength, courage and nobility, reflecting the country's proud and resilient spirit.
The eagle is prominently featured in the Mexican coat of arms, where it is depicted perched atop a cactus with a serpent in its beak. An iconic image derived from an ancient Aztec legend, it represents the Aztec heritage and their capital city of Tenochtitlan, which is now modern-day Mexico City. The golden eagle seen on this Mexican banknote can be found in much of that country as well as in the United States.
Suriname, located on the northeastern coast of South America, holds significant symbolism surrounding the eagle. A 2000 10,000 Gulden shows an ornate hawk-eagle, which can be found in much of Central and South America. The colorful bird is one of the smaller eagles, though its wingspan is still an impressive 3 to 4 feet.
The harpy eagle is shown on the 2016 2,000 Bolivares, along with one of its homes, Canaima National Park. It is found from Brazil to Central America, but faces threats from habitat loss and hunting due to fear related to its imposing size. It is one of the largest eagles, with a wingspan up to 7 feet, and one of its preferred prey is monkeys.
The Algeria 1964 5 Dinars note shows two birds of prey: a griffon vulture and a tawny eagle. The tawny eagle is considered a vulnerable species, and it is seldom seen in northern Africa these days. Found as far east as India, the tawny eagle is more associated with scavenging than other types of eagles.
Oman is mostly desert country located on the Indian Ocean, southeast of Saudi Arabia. However, a significant number of bird species can be seen in Oman, including about a dozen eagles, including Verreaux’s Eagle, the Golden Eagle and Greater Spotted Eagle. An eagle can be seen on the back of this 1995 100 Baisa.
The White-bellied Sea Eagle is found from India through Southeast Asia and as far south as Australia, with Singapore located in the middle of that range. As a symbol of Singapore's connection to its maritime heritage, the sea eagle embodies the country's identity as a thriving port city and a global hub of trade and commerce. The bird with a wingspan of up to 7 feet appears on the front of this large-denomination note.
The Philippine eagle is the country's national bird and a powerful emblem of strength, freedom and conservation. Unfortunately, the Philippine eagle is critically endangered, with just a few hundred left in the wild. Sometimes called the monkey-eating eagle, it is believed to be closely related to the harpy eagle, with whom it shares a predilection for monkeys.
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