‘Currency’ as art: major artists use money in their works

Banksy work depicts Diana, the Princess of Wales, on a bank note
By , Special to Coin World
Published : 08/07/17
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Currency used as works of art have joined prints, drawings, and mixed media on the Paddle8 online auction marketplace for collectors. The firm was founded in 2011 and has offices in New York, London, and Los Angeles. It conducts dozens of auctions monthly. 

Among the items offered in a 20-lot sale on July 24 were “currency” by Andy Warhol, photographer David LaChapelle, and the anonymous British graffiti artist known as Banksy, whose contribution was a counterfeit £10 note from the “Banksy of England.” The note is virtually identical to an authentic £10 note of the Bank of England except for the name of the bank and a nearly perfect substitution of a portrait of Diana, Princess of Wales, for that of Queen Elizabeth II.


The fallout from the Enhanced Uncirculated Coin set release: Another column in the August 21 weekly issue of Coin World re-veals that while forms of numismatic literature like fixed-price lists were meant to be fleeting, they can actually be quite useful.


The LaChapelle work was Negative Currency: One Dollar Bill Used as Negative, 1990-2008, in which the artist experimented with using money in place of negatives. The catalog description explains that the “result is a colorful print that reveals both sides of the currency, transforming the bill into a work of Pop art.” 

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There were three Warhol entries. One was an offset lithograph of a sheet of S&H Green Stamps. The second, a genuine Bicentennial era $2 bill with a 13-cent stamp and Garden Grove, California, cancellation; the real reason this item is of interest is because it is also signed by Warhol. The third lot was a collection of “Art Cash” bills, printed by the American Banknote Co. These were used in an Experiments in Art and Technology benefit at a December 1971 private casino party at Automation House in New York City. In addition to Warhol, Robert Whitman, Robert Rauschenberg, Tom Gormley, Red Grooms and Marisol contributed notes for the set.

See more at the firm’s website.

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