by Tracy Schmidt
The recent World Banknote Auction held by Spink from Oct. 2 to 3 contained many interesting, quality bank notes. Two hot collecting areas of interest to watch were China and India. Overall, there were many strong performers with obvious influences from bank note grade and scarcity playing a role in prices realized.
Looking first at China, lot #781, a China Ching Dynasty 500 cash, year 7 (1857), blue and white note with two red chops on face in extremely fine estimated at £250-£350 hit a hammer price of £750. Lot # 1055, an India Bank of Madras 100 rupee note, ND (1859-1861) P-S153 hand-stamped “Cancelled” in PMG 25 Very Fine hammered in at £7,000.
Moving on to India, lot #1065, Government of India 10 rupee bank note, P-A7i, Lahore or Calcutta 25 November 1896 in almost very fine condition. The Stephen Jacob signed note was estimated between £10,000-£12,000 and brought a hammer price of £16,000. Lot #1066, a Government of India, 1865, proof 50 rupees on watermarked Government of India paper P-A14Ap with printed “Cancelled” in lower right in PMG 50 About Uncirculated condition went for £52,000, well above the estimate of £25,000 to £30,000. A fabulous example of a 1000 rupee, Government of India P-12e in PMG 40 Extremely Fine was offered and brought £15,000. This result shows the premium a high-grade note can deliver.
The area of the auction catching my attention the most post-sale is East African banknotes. They achieved some exceptional results. In fact, the following three lots posted results at or greater than twice their estimates. Lot #824 (P-2A), an East African Protectorate, 10 rupees, Mombasa, 1 December 1918, signature of William Alfred Kempe low right, PMG Choice Uncirculated 63 EPQ hammered at £33,000. Lot #826 (P-4A), East African Protectorate, 50 rupees, Mombasa, 1 July 1912, signature of treasurer Henry Armstrong Smallwood, in PMG 62 Uncirculated realized an exceptional result at £65,000. Lot #827 (P-5a), East African Protectorate, high-denomination 100 rupees, Mombasa, 1 July 1912, signature Henry Armstrong Smallwood, in PMG 63 Choice Uncirculated hammered at £48,000.
Lot #840 (P-32a), The East African Currency Board, 1951, 10,000 shillings/£500, Nairobi, 1 August 1951, printed signatures, PMG 58 Choice About Unc. EPQ, estimated at £30,000-£40,000 realized £76,000.
Another interesting auction item was Lot #733 (P-S1102), a promissory note from Canada that hit a high note. The Fort Garry, Hudson’s Bay Company, £5 Sterling note is dated 10 May 1870 with a manuscript signature of HBC clerk John Henry Mctavish for Hudson’s Bay Company low right, oval blue handstamp: W.MACTAVISH RED RIVER SETTLEMENT MAY 12 1870. William Mactavish was the governor of Rupert’s Land and Assiniboia. Bearing a PMG Very Fine 25 grade, estimated at £1,500-£2,500, the lot performed well and realized £4,800.
Day two of the auction included Lot x1377 (P-15a) State Bank of Ethiopia, $50, 1945, signature Blowers PMG 64 Choice Uncirculated with low serial number, AA 000006, estimated at £400-£600. Bank notes with low serial numbers often bring a premium with collectors.
It also included two notes with a Lebanon 1939 overprint. The first of note, Lot #1513 (P-14c) Banque de Syrie et du Grand-Liban, Syria issue with Lebanon 1939 overprint, 100 livres, 1939 (old date 1935), PMG 58 Choice About Uncirculated EPQ estimated at £6,000-£8,000 sold for $13,000. The second, Lot 1518 (unlisted) Rare Banque de Syrie et du Grand-Liban, Lebanon issue, 100 livres, 1939 (old date 1935), handstamp LIBAN 1939, PMG 35 Choice Very Fine, estimated at £9,000-£11,000 hammered at £12,000.
It's really exciting to see some great notes and collections coming to auction for collectors of world banknotes. I am looking forward to seeing what Spink has in future offerings. Visit www.spink.com for more information.