In 2009, NBC aired a 13 episode TV miniseries called “Kings,” a modernized retelling of the biblical story of King David and King Saul. Starring as King Saul was Ian McShane. In a rather roundabout way, I took a look at my Kings reference materials yesterday, and took some new screencaps of the briefly-glimpsed banknotes of the fictional Royal Kingdom of Gilboa:
These are from episode 10. Incredibly, NBC is still streaming a low-res HD version of Kings on their website here: Kings at NBC.com
Regrettably, the above reference material is quite poor, and does not match up to a Gilboan Laurel note posted by one of the series’ artists online. If you recall seeing any paper currency in other episodes, please let me know, and I’ll try to get more screencaps.
I love (good) design, I love technology, and I love it when they can all combine together in a functional and beautiful whole. In this case: paper money (but for how long will we still be saying that?). And futuristic money movie props combine so many things into a perfect storm of my interests that I will turn the internet upside down and shake it looking for them.
As a minor point of trivia, (higher denomination) US paper money combines four different types of printing: intaglio (most art, engravings), offset lithography (background tints, patterns, colors) letterpress printing (serial numbers and seals), and screen printing (color-changing inks). Additionally, it contains multiple advanced security features (IR & UV inks, magnetic inks, security threads, lenticular threads, etc).
When BTTF II was filmed in 1988-89, copiers and color copiers were beginning to have a significant impact on counterfeiting. Only in 1990-92 were the first of the modern security features implemented: microprinting and the security threads. However, a 1985 study recommended a security thread, and holograms (if feasible in the near future). Someone on the BTTF II crew did their homework (or maybe they just went to DC, or a Federal Reserve Bank), and the original concept art for the dollars of 2015 shows many advanced features and serious design changes that A)were being contemplated that that time, B) make sense, and C) would even be adopted well before 2015.
The Good Stuff:
Concept art & props (images obviously not mine):
I particularly like the final image of the concept art, with it’s suggestive title of “Version 2.” What was Version 1? Was there a Version 3? Who was the artist? So many questions! Let’s analyze the features we can see, and compare the ‘guessed’ features versus the real currency of 2015:
A) Security threads? – Yes, 1990-92.
B) Off-center, enlarged portraits? – Yes, 1995-96.
C) Enlarged numerals? – Yes, 95-96.
D) Barcodes? Not by 2015. The Dutch added serial number barcodes to their banknotes in 1989. The Canadians added simplified barcodes to their notes in 1986, but these only encoded the denomination, not the serial number.