#FaceXchange: Currency Lookalikes
500 Lithuanian litų – Vincas Kudirka/Brad Pitt
Oh, look! It’s Vincas Kudirka – Lithuanian national hero, poet, physicist, and composer/librettist of his motherland’s rousing national anthem. He also bears a startling resemblance to Brad Pitt, who has acted in some films and written zero national anthems.
10 Slovenian tolarjev – Primož Trubar/Brian Blessed
“Trubar’s ALIVE?!” No, not really. Relax! It’s just a GIF of 16th century protestant reformer Primož Trubar morphing into excitable British actor Brian Blessed. Looking sinister as he gazes slyly out of this 10 tolarjev note, Trubar was actually an important historical figure, helping consolidate the Slovene language by writing the first Slovenian printed book. Brian Blessed is a preeminent shouter and noted philanthropist who claims to have sparred with the Dalai Lama.
100 Deutsche Mark – Clara Schumann/Emily Blunt
Clara Schumann was a composer and one of the Romantic era’s most distinguished pianists – among the first to give recitals from memory without reading sheet music. Clara notoriously defied armed combatants during the 1849 May Uprising in Dresden, crossing battle lines to rescue her children before walking back out again. With scenes like this, it’s easy to see why Schumann’s life was dramatised in Song of Love, the 1947 film in which she was played by Katharine Hepburn. As you can see, Emily Blunt will be a shoo-in for Schumann when it comes to the inevitable remake.
100 Russian rubles – Catherine the Great/David Cameron
Russia’s longest-serving female leader looks so much like the UK’s most recent male prime minister that it is genuinely quite difficult to see any difference between them – stare at this GIF long enough and you will lose any sense of which is which. This could be down to a genetic link, The Spectator claiming that Dave and Catherine II are second cousins nine generations removed. Catherine was plagued by spurious rumours that she had been sexually involved with a horse; no equivalent claims about David Cameron and farm animals spring to mind.
100 French francs – Eugène Delacroix/Johnny Depp
Johnny Depp appears to have borrowed his face, beard and hairstyle from 19th century Romantic artist Eugène Delacroix. This banknote features a detail from Delacroix’s most influential painting (Liberty Leading the People), in which a semi-nude revolutionary brandishes a flag and rifle while beside her a gunslinging child fires warning shots into the sky. It seems plausible that Depp might find himself in unusual social situations like this one quite regularly.
100 Deutsche Mark – Jakob Muffel/Michael Douglas
The image on this 1948 100 DM note is taken from a 1526 painting simply called Portrait of Jakob Muffel, by renowned German Renaissance artist Albrecht Dürer. Not much is known about Jakob Muffel besides his hilarious name and the fact that he was an important councillor in Nuremberg, but what’s clear is that the lizard-faced star of Basic Instinct, Wall Street and Fatal Attraction could take Muffel’s place on all 1948 100 DM banknotes and no one would bat an eyelid.
1000 Iranian rial – Mohammad Reza Pahlavi/Eugene Levy
What a stonking likeness. Watch as the Shah of Iran (1941-1979) gracefully, seamlessly becomes underappreciated comic actor Eugene Levy, best known for walking in on his fictional son in flagrante with an American pie. What could be more heartwarming than seeing the stern, no-nonsense expression of Reza Pahlavi turn into Levy’s absurd, 100%-nonsense smirk. This GIF is a testament to the subtle emoting power of eyebrows.
1 Russian chervonets – Vladimir Lenin/Ice T
Two icons of the 20th century, together at last on this 1937 Russian 1 chervonets banknote! That Lenin and 1980s rapper Ice T are basically identical is a given, but can you tell which of them made the following statements about guns?
a) “One man with a gun can control 100 without one.”
b) “If somebody wants to kill people, they don’t need a gun to do it.”
⊥ ǝɔI (q ‘uıuǝ˥ ɹıɯıpɐןΛ (ɐ :sɹǝʍsu∀
50 Austrian schillings – Sigmund Freud/Sir Alec Guinness
The founder of psychoanalysis stares deep into your soul from this 50 schilling note, before his features soften slightly and you are treated to the gentle smile of Sir Alec Guinness as Jedi mind-bender Obi Wan Kenobi (drawn by James S. Watson). Both Obi Wan Kenobi and Freud used their mental powers to scramble/unscramble the brains of their victims/patients, even if one was driven by the Force and the other by cocaine. It’s a testament to Freud’s lasting legacy that a concerted effort has been made to avoid Freudian slips whenever typing out ‘Obi Wan Kenobi’.