By Kerry Rodgers
The results of Spink’s Hong Kong sale in mid-January should lay to rest any doubts there might be as to the continuing strength of the Chinese market. Prices realized moved beyond being simply hot to the incandescent, whether for scarcer issued notes, specimens, or, even, quite low grade examples of rarities.
For the first time a complete set of 1912 specimen notes from The Mercantile Bank of India was offered at auction: $5 (P-235s), $10 (P-236s), $25 (P-237s), $50 (P-238s) and $100 (P-239s). All were signed by Macdonald. All came PCGS graded as either Choice or Gem Uncirculated. They realized $8,916, $9,223, $61,488, $26,298, and $12,298 respectively, for a total of $118,025 [HK$921,600]. The seriously high price of the $25 reflects its issue being limited to 1912 only.
Star of the show was an issued and canceled Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corp. $50 from 1898, P-145. Unpriced in the Standard Catalog of World Paper Money and in excellent condition for its type it was little surprise when it sold for $64,559.
A rather battered but obviously collectable Chartered Bank of India, Australia and China $5 of 1910, P-34, graded a generous VG had no problems in fetching $27,670. The same price was taken by a 1923 $50 issue of the same bank, P-44, in PCGS Good 6.
Other top selling items included:
• Deutsch-Asiatische Bank $1, Peking, 1907, P-S272, PMG Very Fine 25: $7,686;
• Chartered Bank of India, Australia and China $10 color trial, Tientsin, 1930, P-S215cts, PMG Gem Uncirculated 66EPQ: $3,997;
• Russo Asiatic Bank gold two fen specimen, P-S480s, PCGS Choice Uncirculated 63: $7,379;
• Seychelles 100 rupees, 1975, P-18e, PCGS Superb Gem Uncirculated 68PPQ: $7,379.
For those in into Japanese military currency five lots of early 20th century vertical issues were on offer, four from 1904 and one of 1918. Two lots sold with the highest price of $9,223 fetched by a 1904 five yen, P-M5b, in a remarkable PMG Choice Uncirculated 63 grade.
But when it comes to auspicious serial numbers nothing beats straight eights in China. A 1985 HKSBC $100 with serial AA 888888, P-194a, raced away to $7,686, no doubt helped by its PCGS Gem Uncirculated 66PPQ grade. The current SCWPM price for this note without those eights is $30.
Full details of the sale, including catalog and prices realized, are available at www.spink.com. A 20 percent buyer’s premium has been added to the prices cited that have been converted at a rate of 1HKD = 0.128 USD.
This article was originally printed in Bank Note Reporter.
>> Subscribe today or get your >> Digital Subscription
More Collecting Resources
• Bank note enthusiast? Visit the Chicago Paper Money Expo, held March 17 – 20 in Rosemont, Ill. to view spectacular bank notes, attend expert led seminars and participate in Lyn Knight’s currency auction.
• The Standard Catalog of United States Paper Money is the only annual guide that provides complete coverage of U.S. currency with today’s market prices.