By Kerry Rodgers
Following the success of Spink’s April sale it would not have been unexpected if the world bank note market had taken time out to catch its collective breath. Not so. The firm’s fall sale in September continued where April left off with more record prices notched up among the many rarities on offer.
Most collectors of military paper could only watch in awe when Lot 290 arrived on the block. It consisted of a presentation album containing a complete specimen set of Cassa Mediterranea di Credito per l’Egitto issues intended for the Italian Occupation of Egypt in World War II: pink one piastre, blue five piastre with Apollo, red 10 piastre with Apollo, red-brown 50 piastre with Octavian, grey-blue one lira with Octavian, pale brown five lire with Octavian, mauve 10 lira with Octavian, grey 50 lire with Michelangelo’s David, and blue 100 lire also with David. All had zero serial numbers and red CAMPIONE overprint.
Rather sensibly Spink had not placed an estimate on this lot in the sale catalog. When the dust finally settled around the auction hammer the new owner had paid $163,080 [£108,000] for what is probably the only extant set of all nine notes available to collectors.
Pre-sale media releases had drawn attention to another potential star: an extremely rare Pakistani Haj 100 rupee specimen, P-PR1s, with serial A/1 000000. The note is overprinted with FOR PILGRIMS FROM PAKISTAN/ FOR USE IN SAUDI ARABIA AND IRAQ along with SPECIMEN. In about UNC it had no problems realizing $65,232 [£43,200] on its £10,000-15,000 estimate.
Not far behind was a delightful Hong Kong-issued National Bank of China $5, c.1894, P-247b. Today issues of this bank are among the rarest of any bank of issue in Hong Kong. Only a few examples remain extant. Graded PCGS Fine 15, bidding for the note raced past the £20,000-25,000 estimate to finally reach $59,796 [£39,600].
Also commanding five figures was a Leeward Islands specimen two shillings and six pence of Jan. 1, 1921. Not listed in SCWPM it is one of the few believed to exist. In EF it galloped past double estimate (£8,000-12,000) to finally sell for a most healthy $50,736 [£33,600].
Among other lots fetching more than $15,000 were:
• Arabian Currency Board artwork for one riyal, 1965, not in Pick: $17,736 [£11,500] (est. £400-600);
• British Solomon Islands 10 shillings specimen, 1932, P-2s, UNC: $15,855 [£10,500];
• Egypt 50 piastres specimen (1899), P-1s, good EF: $30,200 [£20,000];
• Grenada two shillings and sixpence specimen, 1920, P-1s, good VF: $28,690 [£19,000];
• Iraq 100 dinars, (1936), low serial number, P-12, VF: $19,630 [£13,000];
• Malta five shillings specimen, 1918, P-10s, about UNC: $31,710 [£21,000];
• Palestine 50 mils specimen, 1943, NIP, about UNC: $24,160 [£16,000];
• Qatar 500 riyals, (1976), P-6a, PMG 55: $22,650 [£15,000];
• Spain 500 pestas specimen plus counterfoil, P-9, about UNC: $20,385 [£13,500];
• Trinidad & Tobago 100 dollars unique specimen, (1964), NIP, UNC: $17,365 [£11,500];
• Uganda 100 shillings composite essay on card, (1978), NIP, about UNC: $16,610 [£11,000].
Four series of reverse die proofs of unissued one, five and 10 Arab dinars of the Central Bank of the United Arab Republic fetched from $12,000-22,650 [£8,000-15,000].
Full catalog details and prices realized can be viewed at the Spink website: www.spink.com. A 20 percent buyer’s premium is included in the prices cited with an exchange rate of 1GBP = 1.51USD used to convert the original sterling prices.
This article was originally printed in Bank Note Reporter.
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