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Hong Kong sale started with a bang

By Kerry Rodgers

Spink China’s Hong Kong collectors’ sale started with a mighty bang.

The first paper money item on the block was a 700-year-old Yuan dynasty two kuan (NIP, S&M C167-1). Extraordinarily rare in any condition, this one came heavily repaired. The best the cataloger could manage was an “about good” grade. That did nothing to inhibit bidders competing to obtain a piece of China’s history. The mulberry bark delight quickly rattled past its upper estimate of $25,000 to find a new home for $33,746.

Otherwise, it was business as usual at the company’s Sai Ying Pun offices with eye-watering prices the norm. Chinese notes were order of the day on Aug. 15, with Macau, Hong Kong and other world notes available Aug. 16. A total of 1,584 lots were on offer, which together realized $1,510,939.

People’s Bank of China 1st series renminbi “Mine cart and Donkey” 1,000 yuan (P-850a) that sold for $18,407, or over seven times upper estimate, in PMG Gem Uncirculated 66 EPQ.

Yuan dynasty rarities aside, 1st and 2nd series renminbi continue to attract record bids. Top lot here was a 1st series 1.000 yuan “Mine cart and Donkey” (P-850a). Graded PMG Gem Uncircuated 66 EPQ, it had no trouble in taking over seven times upper estimate, or $18,407. A second example, in PMG Gem Uncirculated 65 EPQ, made $7,669.

From the 2nd series, an example of the iconic 1953 10 yuan (P-870) came graded PMG Choice About Uncirculated 59. It was rapidly bid up to $30,677 — just short of double upper estimate. Two other examples realized $16,872 and $18,406 in PMG 35NET (repaired) and PMG Extremely Fine 40, respectively.

But among modern issues, it was the banks of Hong Kong that ruled the field.

Top-selling Chartered Bank $500 of Jan. 1, 1977 (Pick 72d), whose serial number Z/G 000001 helped push its price to $49,084.

From the Chartered Bank came a $500 dated Jan. 1, 1977 (Pick 72d). It carried the magic serial number Z/G 000001, which together with a PMG 64 EPQ grade helped push the price to $49,084.

Just a little way back came a superb Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corp. $500 of July 1, 1930 (Pick 177b). Its PMG Choice Uncirculated 64 grade is the highest in the PMG population report, which perhaps explains its $46,016 price.

HKSBC also provided a $5 of Jan 1, 1923 (P-166), but in good EF, it could manage just $24,542.

The rare Qing Dynasty Hu Bu Guan Piao 50 taels of Year 4 (1854), Pick A13e, bid up to $38,346 in good VF.

Other high fliers included a rare Qing Dynasty 50 taels of year 4 (P-A13e) in good VF that took $38,346, while a complete Bank of China five-specimen set from 1914 (P33s-35Bs) made $36,812.

From the rest of the world, the Old Man of Viet Nam provided yet another starring role with a 1,000 dong specimen, c. 1955-1956, P-4As. It came in PMG 64 Choice Uncirculated and edged past upper estimate to fetch $15,338.

Full catalog details and prices realized are available at www.spink.com. A premium of 20 percent has been added to all prices shown. These have been converted at a rate of 1 USD = 7.82345 HKD.


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• With nearly 24,000 listings and over 14,000 illustrations, the Standard Catalog of World Paper Money, Modern Issues is your go-to guide for modern bank notes.

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