STAMPS & BILLS
Ever since discovering his uncle, Yedl’s, stamp collection, acquired during Yedl’s service in Africa as an officer of the French Foreign Legion, Paul Kor aspired to design innovative and colorful stamps. He fulfilled this dream around the time he emigrated to Israel and was recruited by the Israel Philatelic Service, which had just replaced the Postal Service of the British Mandate in 1948.
On behalf of the Israel Philatelic Service and the Government Printer, he completed a stamp design course taught by British graphic designer, Abram Games, in May of 1956. This was just one of the many courses he took to ensure he understood the full complexity of a subject before attempting to design something masterful.
After completing this first course, Kor was invited to design a stamp for the Israel Postal Bank to communicate the importance of savings. Kor's love for animals was reflected in subsequent stamps featuring a brightly colored fish, squirrel, turtle and bird. Other stamps Kor designed for the Israel Philatelic Service include the forestry stamp and the tower and stockade stamp, which commemorates a notable event in the history of the State of Israel.
At the same time Kor was designing stamps for the postal service, he was approached by the State of Israel to paint and design a new series of Israeli Lira banknotes. His first attempt at revamping the country’s currency was in 1954, when he creatively incorporated a pixelated effect akin to a mosaic. However, the State of Israel felt his designs were too modern and ahead of their time. It was not until 1971 when they approached him again for this project, making sure to keep everything extremely secret.
This time, Kor attempted a more traditional design, taking inspiration primarily from Jerusalem's old city gates. He believed these historical sites held strong significance to the national identity of the country. He would visit Jerusalem every 10 days to ensure he was able to capture the full impact of the structures, as they were featured on the backside of every design for the new banknotes. The front of the notes featured portraits of important historical figures, including Henrietta Szold (5 Israel Lirot), Montefiore (10 Israel Lirot), Chaim Weizmann (50 Israel Lirot), and Herzl (100 Israel Lirot).