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East African rarities in Spink sale

In early October, world paper collectors will be spoiled for choice in London-town. Leading the charge are three major sales at Spink.

Oct. 3 sees the Ibrahim Salem collection of world notes go on the block. Those who recall the October 2013 sale of Salem’s African holdings will be anticipating the arrival of this catalog. Many a hole in many a collection can look forward to being plugged with a quality note.

The main bank note sale is slated for Oct. 4. This catalog was a continuing work in progress at the time of writing, but Spink’s Master Hunter-gatherer has been at it again. Barnaby Faull has already scored some choice and exceptionally desirable rarities. These are guaranteed to cause any collector’s bank manager to quail in dreadful fear.

Quite where Faull digs these beauties up must forever remain a mystery. His proposed East African offering is a case in point.

Seldom seen, let alone offered, 20 rupees of 1 December 1918 (P-3) that comes graded PCGS 58 and will carry an estimate c. $20,000 in Spink’s October 4 sale. (Image courtesy and © Spink, London)

First up is a 20 rupees dated 1 December 1918 (P-3). It is a most handsome piece and comes graded PCGS 58. It is unpriced in SCWPM above VF, and the estimate will likely be about $20,000.

Sublime rarity: Currency Board 50 florins (= 5 pounds) of 1 May 1920 (P-12) heading for the block at Spink London in PCGS Choice About New 55 and with an estimate of $40,000-45,000. (Image courtesy and © Spink, London)

Then comes an East African classic: a Currency Board 50 florins (= 5 pounds) dated 1 May 1920 (P-12). As with all higher denominations in the 1920 issues of the East African Currency Board, this is a rare note in any condition and unpriced for any grade in SCWPM. The example on offer has been graded PCGS Choice About New 55 and, in Faull’s own words, is “Totally original and fresh. One of the most attractive notes we have handled at Spink.”

But there’s more! It also comes with serial A/1 00005. Under the circumstances, an estimate of $40,000-45,000 does not seem unreasonable.

Super-rarity: East African 10,000 shillings of George VI dated 1 August 1951 (P-32) that will be offered by Spink graded PCGS Choice New 63. (Image courtesy and © Spink, London)

As desirable as both the above notes are, they are no match for the sale’s pièce de résistance, its tour de force, or, if readers prefer, Faull’s masterwork: the offering of an East African Currency Board issued 10,000 shillings (= 500 pounds) of 1 August 1951 (P-32).

Although several archival 10,000 shillings have appeared in previous Spink sales, all were archival specimens. An issued note is a mind-blowing rarity. Just two examples of P-32 are believed extant today.

And there is naturally much more in this case! The note comes in a staggering PCGS Choice New 63. It is likely the estimate of $40,000-45,000 may prove highly conservative.

For those into the Best of British bank notes, that sale is scheduled for Oct. 10.

World paper collectors can check out all three catalogs pre-sale at www.spink.com.

Those wishing to participate in any of these sales via the Spink Live bidding facility should ensure they are registered on the company’s website well in advance. Those who don’t wish to bid but would like to view the sale of the 10,000 shillings note live can do so without being registered.


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


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