Basics Of A Printer’s Model

Two simple steps for singling out a printer’s model are that it needs to be attached to cardboard and have elements of the note pieced together and glued on the paper.

Printer’s models are pieces of art. They show a vast array of complexity and originality to banknote designing. Some printer’s models look very closely to its issued counterpart. While others are off base and have little in common.

The beauty of printer’s models is their exquisite designs. These notes were pieced together by hand for the purpose of either final approval or at the very beginning stages of designing a banknote. Some models are hand painted and are truly works of art.

This article will go over the two easy steps in identifying a printer’s model. It should be noted that printer’s model is not universally used across all dealers and auction houses. You may also see the term “composite essay” used. However, here at Paper Money Guaranty we use the term "printer’s model" exclusively.

Below is an example of a Hong Kong 50 Dollar (Pick 75a) model:

This example of a printer’s model is virtually the same mock up as the issued note.

The two steps to identifying printer’s models are:

  1. Paper on card stock: Thus far, polymer printer’s models haven’t become readily available to the public, and their existence is speculative purely based off of the printing process of polymer. Sometimes the card stock will be cut down, while other times the card stock will be several times larger than the actual note. It is very common to see printer’s annotations around the border of the note and/or the card stock. These handwritten notes come from a variety of places: the printers, the designer of the note, or even dealers are among the few, but most likely, possibilities.

  2. Design elements glued/mounted on the paper: The most common element, and the most important element, of what makes a printer’s model a printer’s model is that it has pieces of the design (signature, seal, serial number, denomination, etc.) attached via adhesive to the note. The above 50 Dollar Hong Kong model has both signature titles (Accountant and Manager) and the imprint (Thomas de la Rue Currency Limited) affixed to the model.

It’s easy to identify the note above. The pieces on this note are affixed as the left serial number has lost most of its adhesive during its almost 100 year life. Again, the above Chinese 5 Yüan model is identical to its issued (or in this case it’s unissued) counterpart – the Pick S254, which was never issued.

Another common element that is quite often found is how the printer’s models come. More often than not the models are seen uniface – either just the front or just the back.

A major draw to the collecting of printer’s models is that they are often times unique or near unique. Likewise, another draw is that they are treated as art. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and usually the more pieces attached and the more attention to fine detail (in hand painting design elements especially) will increase the demand for that particular model.

PMG is an independent member of the Certified Collectibles Group (CCG).


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