Fearing a shortage of banknotes in the colony, on 17 September 1914, Raymond Poincaré, then the president of France, signed a decree authorizing Madagascar’s governor general to produce 10 million francs worth of notes consisting of 7 million in 5-franc notes, 2 million in 10-franc notes, and 1 million in 20-franc notes.
The anticipated shortage did not materialize because France was able to deliver 5- and 20-franc notes in 1914, followed by 10-franc notes in 1916. As such, it wasn’t until 29 March 1917 that the decree of 1914 was promulgated and l’Imprimerie Officielle de Tananarive began printing notes in Madagascar. However, by late 1917, the Banque de France was able to supply notes to the colony, so the locally-produced notes were never issued and were thought to have been destroyed. For more than a century, only the 10-franc note was known to survive, but 5- and 20-franc notes were also confirmed in 2023.
B103 (PNL): vingt (20) francs
Green and blue. Front: French text; Malagasy woman carrying basket on head; decree of 1914; prickly pear cacti. Back: French and Malagasy text; two 5-franc Hercule de Dupré coins with three figures under text LIBERTE EGALITE FRATERNITE; penal code. No security thread. Watermark: None. Printer: (l’Imprimerie Officielle de Tananarive). 150 x 100 mm. Paper (counterfoil).
a. 29 mars 1917. Sig.: Robert-Paul de Guise/Jean-Baptiste Vuillod. 50,000 notes. Unissued. Unconfirmed.
as. Diagonal green ANNULÉ ovpt front; no s/n.