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Heated bidding for Mexican scrip

Two battered pieces of Mexican scrip, a five centavos and a 10 centavos, were responsible for some heated bidding at the 2016 Summer Knight Live Auction. Both hailed from Santa Rosalia, a small town in Baja, Calif. Both carried the text, “Tienda de Santa Rosalia / Entréguese al Portador / En Mercancías [Store of Santa Rosalia pay the bearer [x] centavos in goods].”


The five centavos was undated but signed “L. Lindsay.” The 10 centavos was unsigned but handstamped “Santa Rosalia Mexico, / [?]CCT [?]24 1897.” That date would place both as contemporaries of the boom brought to Santa Rosalia by the massive El Boleo copper mine.

For Joel Shafer, the two were the first he had ever seen. His lot description noted, “Various signs of circulation, including tape on back.” The grade given was Avg. Fair.

Those “signs of circulation” included splits, tattered margins and a general grubbiness on the five centavos. These defects mattered not to the bidders. The lot carried a $125-225 estimate which had seemed eminently reasonable pre-sale but collectors are not necessarily reasonable. When bidding ceased, the two had found a new home for $3,525 including premium.

The world paper section of the sale was dominated by 872 lots of Russian notes spanning the past century and including issues of the republics. There were few rarities amongst them. Rather they were a solid group of highly collectible items offered both as singles and sets. Many were highly attractive. Some were historically important. They certainly brought bidders out in number.

Post-sale Shafer commented, “Our regular customers for Russia were certainly active in this auction. That said, what stands out for me were those customers who are not particularly known for buying Russian notes but who showed interest in group lots. I cannot help but think that some of these lots were bought for sheer enjoyment—an experience all too often overlooked in today’s market that is so geared to bottom line prices and grades. It is still fun to go through a large group of material at a reasonable cost and figure it out; hopefully there will always be a place for that in our hobby/business.”

Some examples are:


• Chaikovskii Government, North Russia, 3 x 100 rubles, 1918, PS-142, VG: $1,880;

• Transcaucasian Socialist Federal Soviet Republic, 10 milliarde rubles, P- S639a, 1924, VF: $1,057;

• Bank of Russia, 500,000 rubles, 1995, P-266, UNC: $822;

• State Bank notes, 2 x 10 chervontsev 1922, P-143, VG; Fine/VF: $588;

• State Credit notes, one ruble (1903-1909), P-1b, AU: $382;

• State Currency note, 5,000 rubles, 1923, P-171, UNC: $764.

For anyone with an interest in Russian issues over the past 100 or so years, the catalog and prices realized are well worth an online browse:

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.

• Keep up to date on prices for Canada, United States and Mexico coinage with the 2016 North American Coins & Prices guide.