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Zanzibar note tops recent Long Beach sale

For Heritage Auctions, its Long Beach World Currency Signature sale proved a major success. The total realized by the 1,500+ lots was $1,262,724. Nine of those lots fetched in excess of $10,000.

Central to the sale—and these prices—were the 136 items from the Minot Collection and, in particular, the remarkable 215-lot Ibrahim Salem Collection of Cyprus. The catalog illustrating the latter is a superb reference work in itself.

Record breaker: 1928 Zanzibar 10 rupees, P-3, that realized $72,000.

The star of the show came from neither collection but its position at No. 1 was assured the moment Heritage placed it in the catalog: a Zanzibar Government 10 rupees dated Feb. 1, 1928, P-3. In an attractive PMG Very Fine 25 it easily romped to a record $72,000 on its $60,000-80,000 estimate. This compares with the $64,625 paid for the Ruth Hill example in 2014 that came in similar grade.

The second place holder was also not unexpected although its price of $36,000 was half that of the Zanzibari rarity: a Royal Bank of Canada issue for Port of Spain, Trinidad, denominated as “One Hundred Trinidad Dollars the equivalent of £20-16-8,” P-S153. Its grade of PMG Choice Very Fine 35 demonstrates that in the paper money world rarity trumps all.

An exceptionally rare 1949 Jordanian 50 dinars specimen in PMG Choice Uncirculated 63, P-5s, had also been expected to attract competitive bidding. In the event, its final price of $16,800 failed to exceed lower estimate.

It was edged out of third position in the price stakes by the first of many Cypriot rarities: a stunning 1960 Queen Elizabeth £5 dated March 1, 1960, P-36a. This is an exceptional note.

Top-priced Cypriot issue: Queen Elizabeth £5 dated March 1, 1960, P-36a, ex-Major Pridmore Collection. In PMG About Uncirculated 55 it fetched $18,000.

All 1960 Cypriot £5s are rare but all known examples bar the present note have serial numbers in the range B/1 0857XX. This one came ex-Major Pridmore Collection and is numbered B/1 045278. In PMG About Uncirculated 55 it had no problems realizing $18,000 commensurate with its estimate.

Scarce as hens’ teeth: Cypriot 10 shillings specimen of Oct. 30, 1914, P-4s, that made $15,600.

Two Cypriot rarities achieved $15,600 apiece as specimens, both dated Oct. 30, 1914, and both graded PMG Choice Uncirculated 63: a 10 shillings, P-4s, and a £1, P-5s. These prices were considerably below those achieved by both notes in 2015.

The Salem Collection was notable for many Central Bank of Cyprus notes having desirable serial numbers, especially the large number of No. 1 notes. Among the latter were the first 250 mils to be issued by the bank, P-41a, and the first 500 mils, P-42a. Both attracted eager collectors. Both sold for $9,000.

One in 10 million: Canadian King George VI $20 of $1937, P-62b. Despite its VF grade it managed $10,800 due to its 10000000 serial. A close inspection shows the final zero is slightly offset as a result of being added manually.

Canadian notes did well. One rarity deserves special mention: a King George VI $20 of $1937, P-62b. Priced at $500 in UNC in the Standard Catalog of World Paper Money, this example achieved $10,800 in PMG Very Fine 20 Net. The reason: its 10 million serial number E/E 10000000. The seventh “0” was added manually after printing.

Full details of lots sold and prices realized are available online at www.HA.com where those who have not already done so, can order a copy of the Salem catalog for their libraries.


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


More Collecting Resources

• Order the Standard Catalog of World Paper Money, General Issues to learn about circulating paper money from 14th century China to the mid 20th century.

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