Object of the month

Each month the MusEYEum focuses in on a different object from the wide-ranging BOA collections.

With the launch of the updated College website we took the decision to discontinue this feature as of May 2010, but for the time being the past entries are here for you to continue enjoying. 

Latest Object of the Month - May 2010
 

Currency

A German friend of the College museum has donated a set of temporary currency notes - known as notgeld - to the BOA collection. We reproduce one of them here...don't worry, they're no longer legal tender. 

When the gold reserves ran out in Germany during the First World War, many towns and cities issued their own replacement currency and the town of Rathenow near Berlin, in the State of Brandenburg, chose to include imagery related to the optical industries that had made the town great. Shortly afterwards the City of Magdeburg followed their example. 

The notes date from 1917 and the complete set of six notes include two different images per denomination. The 50 pfenning note bears a huntsman in local costume carrying a pair of binoculars or using a magnifying glass to count the rings of a tree stump. Binoculars themselves were in short supply at this time and captured German soldiers often had to surrender their optical equipment to the under-resourced British Army. The 75 pfenning note shows either an early 19th century lady carrying a long-handled lorgnette (shown in our illustration) or a bespectacled man with a bellows camera and two further Rathenow objectives beside him. The 90 pfenning note features either an elderly astronomer with a tripod-mounted telescope viewing the planets (and a shooting star) or an old woman reading. She has two pairs of spectacles, one on her face and the other in her hand. 

It gives pause for thought that such beautiful small works of art were produced in the context of a global conflict and period of economic emergency. Indeed it is suggested that they were soon out of print since even at the time of their use they were considered highly collectible.

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    1. MusEYEum history
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    6. Object of the month
      1. May 2010 - Optically-themed currency
      2. April 2010 - The Spectacle of the Two Cultures
      3. March 2010 - Adaptive Eyewear for the Third World
      4. February 2010 - Masonic Badge
      5. January 2010 - Doctor Cupid
      6. December 2009 - Tactile Christmas Card
      7. November 2009 - An Implanted Eye
      8. October 2009 - Photographs of Japanese Dogu Figures
      9. September 2009 - John Browning Jeweller's Spectroscope
      10. August 2009 - The Teacher's Spectacles
      11. July 2009 - Lens for Retinitis Pigmentosa
      12. June 2009 - View Through a Focimeter
      13. May 2009 - Squirrel Collecting Box
      14. April 2009 - British Optical Association Wall Plaque
      15. March 2009 - IC Tonometer
      16. February 2009 Eskimo Snow Goggles
      17. January 2009 - Braille
      18. December 2008 - Rules at Christmas
      19. November 2008 - Pol-Rama Sunglasses
      20. October 2008 - Pharmacy Jar
      21. September 2008 - Bamboo spectacles
      22. August 2008 - Botanical Viewer
      23. July 2008 - Reichskontaktlinsen
      24. June 2008 - Nélys Nose Pads
      25. May 2008 - Bronze Statuette
      26. April 2008 - The IOOL
      27. March 2008 - Polish Health Service Spectacles
      28. February 2008 - Polarographic Cell
      29. January 2008 - The unintended memorial
      30. December 2007 - Christmas past...Christmas present
      31. November 2007 - A book to bring tears to your eyes
      32. October 2007 - Give that man a medal
      33. September 2007 - A Jug Eyed Character
      34. August 2007 - Instructions for the Deaf
      35. July 2007 - I See A Nice Little Earner
      36. June 2007 - We wouldn't make this up
    7. Temporary exhibitions
    8. Aperture