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Spink Claims Hong Kong $84,084 record

That incandescent dragon that Chinese paper money has become continues to roar mightily in Hong Kong. Anyone with remaining doubts in this matter need only scan the results of Spink China’s three-day sale in late March.

Day one of the sale concerned the banknotes of Macau and Hong Kong. It saw one lot claim a world record price.

World record: card-mounted uniface model/trial for the face of a 1911 series $500 of The Chartered Bank of India, Australia and China (cf. P-46) that realized $84,084. (Image courtesy and © Spink, China.)

Towards the end of the day, a card-mounted uniface model/trial for the face of a 1911 series $500 of The Chartered Bank of India, Australia, and China appeared in the block. The design differs from that of the issued note (P-46) in a number of respects: bank title banner, center of left and right borders, serial numbers, geometric design around center vignette and underprint. Examples showing the final design are exceedingly rare.

Several devotees of The Chartered Bank of India, Australia and China made clear each wished to claim this prize. Graded PMG 62 Uncirculated it was bid up to $84,084 [HKD660,000] on a HKD150,000-200,000 estimate. This price is a world record for a composite model/trial of any Hong Kong note.

Top price of the sale of $99,372 [HKD780,000] was claimed by two lots. On Day one it was achieved by a further Chartered Bank of India, Australia and China specimen $50 (cf. P-38).

Equal top price of sale of $99,372 was paid for this Chartered Bank of India, Australia and China specimen $50 (cf. P-38) that came graded PMG 40 Extremely Fine. Note partial date “190_”. (Image courtesy and © Spink, China.)

Both SCWPM and Boon’s “Hong Kong & Macau Banknotes & Coins” list this note as September or October 1910. That on offer shows the partial date “190_” which indicates the design was intended to be used before 1910. No such issued note is known giving the specimen on offer extreme rarity value.

Graded PMG 40 Extremely Fine it came with an estimate of HKD200,000-300,000.

The second equal top-price was paid on Day two.

It was somewhat predictable going to a PRC 1st series renminbi ‘Running Horse’ 10,000 yuan of 1951 (P-858Aa). It came in an acceptable PMG 20NET Very Fine (Restoration) with what proved to be a realistic estimate of HKD600,000-900,000,

A 500 yuan of the same series (P-857a) took $82,551 [HKD648,000] graded PMG 35 Choice Very Fine (Minor Restoration).

Other serious prices included a rare Pei Yang Tientsin Bank $100 remainder c. 1910 (P-S2530) that made $91,728 [HKD720,000] in PMG 53 About Uncirculated. The corresponding $50 (P- S2529Ar) realized $79,498 [HKD624,000] in PMG 55 About Uncirculated.

Yet another Chartered Bank of India, Australia and China item generated fierce bidding: a seldom seen example of the ‘Big Gourd’ issue – a $50 dated 1.11.1929 (P-44). Graded a seemingly lowly PMG 15 Choice, it none-the-less soared to $76,440 [HKD600,000] on what had seemed a realistic HKD150,000-200,000 estimate.

Eventually The Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation managed an appearance in the high-price stakes. Their leading contribution was a choice specimen $50 dated 1 January 1921(P-168s) – a rare note in any form. In a most desirable PMG 64 Choice Uncirculated it fetched $58,796 [HKD540,000].

A contemporary forgery of the issued version of this same note was snapped-up for $4,458 [HKD35,000].

But there are many, many more extraordinary prices. Full catalog details and hammer prices are available from www.spink.com. A premium of 20% has been included in all prices shown. These have been converted at a rate of 1USD =7.85HKD.


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


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