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Dutch movie employs rare U.S. $100

 (Image courtesy National Numismatic Collection, National Museum of American History,

(Image courtesy National Numismatic Collection, National Museum of American History,

By Robert R. Van Ryzin

With Dutch lineage on both sides of my family, I’ve spent quite a bit of time learning about the Netherlands. I’ve visited several times, and for well more than a decade I’ve been learning the language by reading detective/mystery novels in Dutch.

Nowadays I also watch television programs and movies in the language. As I’m much more proficient in reading, I prefer ones with subtitling in Dutch. Fortunately there is much of this I can watch on the Internet, including crime dramas and game shows, that have aided greatly in my understanding. It’s gotten so that, just like with U.S. television, I now recognize several of the stars as they appear in different shows.

Along those lines, there is one on Netflix right now, though with English subtitles, that I watched recently, titled “Noble Intentions.” It was released in the Netherlands as “Publieke Werken.”

The movie revolves around the late 1800s in Amsterdam and involves the main character holding out against the selling his land (from which he operates a small shop where he repairs string instruments) to hotel developers.

The story of his holding out and the hotel building around him when he didn’t sell in time is true in the sense that this happened with the Victoria hotel, across from the newly completed Centraal Station. Those who conceived of the hotel didn’t own all of the necessary property and attempted to buy what they needed. The owners of buildings Nos. 45-47 on the Prins Hendrikkade held out for higher prices and it was decided to build around them. Today the two properties, which are surrounded on three sides by the four-star Victoria Hotel, are souvenir shops.

The reason for writing about the movie here is that at one point in the movie one of the lead character’s relatives from America wants to buy a violin from him and offers a U.S. $100 note in exchange.

The note, which appears two or three times in the movie, but very clearly at the time of the violin purchase, is a “Spread Eagle” $100 Legal Tender, which is a great rarity in any grade.

It’s certainly not usual to see coins or paper money in a movie or a television show, but this one was accurate.

You see the back for only an instant but it looks correct and the face of the ultra rare $100 is clear enough that if you freeze the frame you see the signatures of Chittenden and Spinner are also correct and to style.

You can also just about make out the series at the upper left.

The note has been folded when it is first seen and I think looks a bit worse for wear a little later in the movie. However, so few are known of any variety that it would be a major find today. I think it was an 1862, as there was no serial number at the upper left. There are a couple of 1863 Friedberg numbers with that feature, so I wasn’t certain.

Anyway, it’s fun when interests like this intersect.

This article was originally printed in Bank Note Reporter. >> Subscribe today.

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