Monday, February 21, 2022

Franklin.TV: Finding Ben Franklin, Part 4

by Pete Fasciano, Executive Director  02/20/2022

Our Who? Benny. What? On our money. When/Where? The Ben Franklin $100 goes back more than a century. Prior to 1914, the $100 bill featured several different portraits, including 6th President James Monroe and Union Admiral David Farragut. One predecessor stands out from the rest.

His name was Senator Thomas Hart Benton, aka ‘Old Bullion’, who championed the gold standard. He and Andy Jackson both favored ‘hard money’. (Remember All the gold in Fort Knox?)

Ben first appears in 1915 in profile. This engraving was rendered by Thomas Holloway from a 1777 bust of Franklin created by Jean Jacques Caffieri (1725-1792).

Only six years later we see Ben in his forward pose. This 1921 engraved image is believed to originate from a 1777 portrait by French painter Anne-Rosalie Bocquet.

In 1966 and again in 2006 our Benny was again featured more prominently. These most recent engravings were carefully wrought following the Josef  Duplessis  portraits.    Ben’s  portrayals  by Duplessis and Caffieri are remarkably similar in their interpretations of Franklin. Their efforts at expressing realism are the how and why we can recognize Ben Franklin – primarily through the icons on our money.

And –  as always –
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Franklin.TV: Finding Ben Franklin, Part 4
Franklin.TV: Finding Ben Franklin, Part 4

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