The strength of the Asian bank note market was clearly demonstrated at Dix Noonan Webb’s Oct. 3 paper money sale. Notes from China, Malaya, Hong Kong and Singapore led the way in an auction that totaled $500,373 [£397,122].
As was anticipated presale the charge was headed by a Bank of Taiwan ¥50 specimen of 1901, P-1910s, SM-T70-4, graded good VF. The grade of this rarity clearly mattered little as the £10,000-15,000 estimate proved highly conservative. Bidding began at £16,000. A battle between telephone and Internet bidders followed that pushed the hammer price to £40,000, more than 2.5 times the high estimate. With commission added the final price was $60,480 [£48,000] paid by a China-based bidder.
Other Asian high fliers included a Malaya and British North Borneo $10 specimen dated March 21, 1953, P-3s, in EF-good EF. It was bid-up to $7,560 [£6,000] on its £1,000-1,500 estimate. The $50 specimen of the same date in good VF-EF, P-4s, fetched $6,955 [£5,520] on the same estimate.
Shortly thereafter a well used Jan. 1, 1901 $5 of the Hong Kong & Shanghai Banking Corp., P-150, Ma-H7, graded F, went for $7,258 [£5,760], on a mere £600-800 estimate. It was followed by series of early 1970s issues from Singapore. Among them a $10 specimen, P-3bs, Tan-E3a, in good EF sold for $5,443 [£4,320] on a similar £600-800 estimate.
The notes of Asia did not have it all their own way. A collection of Iranian issues, “the property of a gentleman,” realized $61,039 [£48,444]. The highest individual price was the $6,048 [£4,800] paid for a 20 tomans issued by the Imperial Bank of Persia, dated Dec. 23, 1924 and “PAYABLE AT HAMADAN ONLY,” P-15. It came in a most collectible good F.
DNW have noted two clear trends in recent sales. All notes from around the British Commonwealth that bear a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II are extremely popular. Secondly numerous American collectors are targeting specific world note markets. Prominent among these is the British Caribbean.
Full catalog details and prices realized can be found in the archives of the DNW website: www.dnw.co.uk. The prices cited include a 20 percent buyer’s premium and have been converted at a rate of GBP1.00 = USD1.26.
This article was originally printed in Bank Note Reporter. >> Subscribe today.
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