The muralist Edwin H. Blashfield is known among paper money
collectors for creating Science Presenting Steam and Electricity to
Industry and Commerce, the vignette on the face of the Series
1896 $2 silver certificate. The vignette for this note in the
“Educational Note” series was engraved by Charles Schlecht and G.F.C.
Smilie, while Thomas F. Morris engraved the rest of the face and the
back with its portraits of Robert Fulton and Samuel Morse.
Blashfield was one of four noted late 19th century artists charged
by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing with the task of enhancing the
artistry on U.S. currency. The other three were Will H. Low, C.S.
Reinhart and Walter Shirlaw.
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Just as Augustus Saint-Gaudens was much more than a coin designer,
Blashfield’s art went beyond paper money design. His charcoal on paper
Study of a Head for a Mural Panel offered by Heritage
Auctions in its June 24 to 27 fine art sale, though, bears a
remarkable stylistic similarity to his work on paper currency, despite
its different purpose.
Blashfield was also on the commission regarding redesign of coinage
in 1916 and, according to Heritage, was instrumental in pushing for
Hermon A. MacNeil’s Standing Liberty quarter dollar design.