By Kerry Rodgers
On the afternoon of April 12 Spink London will offer the remarkable collection of Bruce Smart at auction. The catalog is separate from Spink’s main world paper sale that will commence that morning and continue over the following two days.
To call Smart’s collection impressive does not do it justice. It is an extraordinary assemblage of Middle Eastern and North African bank notes. The emphasis is on top grade examples of issued notes. Wherever possible these are in original condition. Rarities are commonplace.
Those who collect in the areas of Smart’s interests should at least scan the entire catalog online. Better, they should secure a hard copy to have and to hold for reference. Only a few examples can be mentioned here.
The two top spots among pre-sale estimates are taken by Qatar & Dubai Currency Board issues. First up is a 25 riyals c.1966, P-4, the rarest note of this series. That rarity is doubly enhanced in it being graded a PMG Superb Gem Uncirculated 64 EPQ. Understandably the estimate is £25,000-30,000.
A 50 riyals, P-5, comes with an even higher grade: PMG Gem Uncirculated 65 EPQ. In this condition it probably matches the 25 riyals in rarity. It carries an estimate of £20,000-25,000.
And then there is a Qatar Monetary Agency 500 riyals of 1973, P-6. Its grade of PMG Gem Uncirculated 66 EPQ, puts it among the finest extant, which explains its £16,000-20,000 estimate.
In the same league is a National Bank of Egypt 50 piastres dated Jan. 1, 1899, P-1a. That “a” suffix means it bears the scarce Palmer signature. It has been graded PMG Very Fine 25 and is the nicest example to be handled by Spink. The catalogers had no hesitation in assigning a £15,000-20,000 estimate.
Also from Egypt is a National Bank specimen £50 of Jan. 16, 1906, P-5s, graded PMG Choice Uncirculated 64 (£6,000-8,000) and a rare date National Bank specimen £100 of Sept. 6, 1913, P-16s, graded PMG Choice Uncirculated 63 (£6,500-7,500).
For those into low serials, how about an Egyptian Government 10 piastres of 1940, P-166b, with serial 000008? However, its PMG 67 EPQ grade means it carries an estimate of £1,500-2,000.
From Iraq there is a rare 10 dinars, c. 1934-40, P-11b. This is ex-George Kanaan and not from the well-known hoard of such notes. It is a fresh About Uncirculated and estimated at £6,500-7,500.
Among a small group of Palestine issues is a splendid £10 of Sept. 7, 1939, P-9c. It rates an About Uncirculated grade making it highly collectible with a £5,000-6,000 estimate.
Those who have a hankering for the issues of Afghanistan could check out Lots 6 through 9. These are higher denominations of SH1318 (1939) showing the first portrait of King Muhammad Zahir. All are in superior grade.
There are two examples of the 20 afghanis, P24, the key note of not just this series but the entire country. One comes graded PMG 55 EPQ.
For good measure there is a 500 afghanis, P-27, PMG 64, and a 1,000 afghanis, P-27A, PMG 65 EPQ.
And there are many more. Full details of the sale, including the catalog, are available at the Spink website: www.spink.com. The auction will be available online at Spink Live.
This article was originally printed in Bank Note Reporter.
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More Collecting Resources
• Come on down to the Chicago International Coin Fair in Rosemont, Ill. on April 14 to 17, 2016 to see impressive world coins, meet new collectors and participate in Heritage Auction’s fantastic coin auction.
• The Standard Catalog of United States Paper Money is the only annual guide that provides complete coverage of U.S. currency with today’s market prices.