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Classical figures adorn Spink highlights

The first few weeks of the new year see a spate of world paper money auctions around the globe. One of the first will be Spink China with their sale of Bank Notes, Bonds & Shares, and Coins of China and Hong Kong, which is scheduled for Jan. 4-5.

For collectors of Chinese paper, the catalog deserves more than a casual perusal. Notes from all the main players are represented: HKSBC, Qing Dynasty, trading banks, colonial enclaves, and early PRC renminbi. Issued singles, runs, and specimens are all there, both the ubiquitous and rare.

Rare HKSBC $50 of 1 January 1921 (P-168) that will be offered in Spink China’s Jan. 4-5 sale. In aVF condition, it carries a pre-sale estimate of $45,000-60,000. (Image courtesy and © Spink, China)

As happens so often these days, a rarity from Hong Kong & Shanghai Banking Corporation leads the charge. This time around, it is a $50 dated 1 January 1921 (P-168): the design with the classical sculptured male bust at center. Only a handful of issued notes are known today, and in aVF the estimate has been set at $45,000-60,000.

Nicknamed The Big Roman, this Chartered Bank of India, Australia and China $500 false color specimen dated 1 August 1930 (P-58cs) is another standout offering. In high-grade aUNC, it goes to the block with an estimate of $45,000-50,000. (Image courtesy and © Spink, China)

Not far behind comes a Chartered Bank of India, Australia and China $500 false color specimen dated 1 August 1930 (P-58cs). Hole punched cancelled, it comes in red and black on multicolor. The face vignette of a Roman soldier is responsible for this issue being nicknamed The Big Roman in Hong Kong.

No issued notes of this $500 are known extant. Specimens and commercial specimens are the sole examples available to collectors but are rarely offered. The last time Spink sold such a note was in November 1996, when it hammered for $29,371. The present note is in a far superior aUNC condition and goes to the block with an estimate of $45,000-50,000.

A second HKSBC rarity fronts in the shape of a $5 dated 1 March 1898 (P-139). It grades a highly collectable PMG 30 Very Fine with minor rust and has an estimate of $19,000-25,000.

Of more recent vintage is a HKSBC $1,000 of 1 January 1999 (P-205c). Not only is it in a desirable PMG 66EPQ Gem Uncirculated grade but it bears the coveted serial AA1000000. All things considered, its $12,000-15,000 estimate may prove conservative.

For those wanting to plug a gap in their collection of early PRC issues, there is a scarce 1951 1st series renminbi 5000 yuan (P-857Ba). In PMG 25 Very Fine, its estimate is $25,000-35,000. Or, if condition is vital, how about a consecutive run of 100 uncirculated 2nd series renminbi 2 yuan of 1953 (P-867)? This lot carries an estimate of $15,000-20,000.

Collectors of imperial Qing Dynasty issues may wish to consider a seldom seen vertical format Year 4 (1854) Hu Bu Guan Piao 50 taels (P-A13b). Graded PMG 30 Very Fine, the estimate is $35,000-40,000.

NIP and possibly unique, a Russo-Chinese Bank specimen 25 kuping taels c. 1909. It carries a grade of PMG 35NET Choice Very Fine and an appropriate estimate of $20,000-25,000. (Image courtesy and © Spink, China)

And among private issues is a most unusual Russo-Chinese Bank specimen 25 kuping taels. It is both NIP and undated, which perhaps prompted the cataloger to add, “Of the highest rarity, if not unique!” Graded PMG 35NET Choice Very Fine, its estimate has been set at $20,000-25,000.

The sale will take place at Spink’s Hong Kong Office, 4/F Hua Fu Commercial Building, 111 Queen’s Road West, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong. Previews are available on Dec. 27-28 but by appointment only, as there are limited spaces. Public viewing will take place from Dec. 31 to Jan. 3.

Details given above can be confirmed, along with the estimates in HKD in the printed catalog or at www.spink.com. Those wishing to participate via the Spink Live bidding facility should ensure they are registered on the company’s website well in advance.


This article was originally printed in Bank Note Reporter. >> Subscribe today.

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