The Hong Kong International Numismatic Fair in late June saw Heritage Auctions offer a wide range of world paper money in its Signature Auction. When the dust settled on Jun. 29, the sale had realized a most satisfactory grand total of $1,329,564, with 20 lots securing prices in excess of $10,000.
Given the wealth of rare Chinese currency notes presently on the market, it may seem somewhat unusual that the top-selling item by a long chalk was a Central Bank of China 1 yuan from 1936, an example of P-209. The price realized was almost twice that of the next high-priced lot, with the new owner having to pay $84,000 to take their trophy home.
This was not only the rare, orange-tinted variety printed by Chung Hwa Book Company but, to quote the Heritage catalog, it came to the block “pack fresh” or, in other words, PMG Gem Uncirculated 65 EPQ. It was indeed a veritable trophy note.
In second place at a mere $48,000 was the first of three Peoples Bank of China 10 yuan from 1953 (P-870). Graded PMG Choice Uncirculated 64, it had no problem fetching $48,000. In 2017, Heritage sold two other examples in identical grade for $40,800 and $47,800. In the present sale, a second example in PMG Choice Extremely Fine 45 Net took $19,200, while a specimen in PMG Extremely Fine 40 made $17,400.
One of the nicer examples to appear at auction in the last couple of years of a Yuan Dynasty 2 kuan of 1335-40 (P- UNL; S/M#C167-1) realized $43,200. It was certified PCGS Fine 15 but with “restorations and repairs, edge tears, and minor damage on the holder.”
Other high-priced lots included a Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation $100, 1.4.1948, P-176e, PMG Superb Gem Uncirculated 68 EPQ, which brought $33,600; a Deutsch-Asiatische Bank Tientsin 20 taels specimen, 1.3.1907, P-S303s, PMG Choice Uncirculated 63, $33,600; and a Banque de l’Indo-Chine 10 piastres, 15.1.1902, P-S440B, PCGS Gold Shield Grading Very Good 8 (major repair, peeled), $33,600.
Full details of lots sold and prices realized are available online at www.ha.com.
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