The number of high denomination, first issue, People’s Bank of China renminbi available to the market is proving quite insufficient to meet collector demand. Prices have been sky rocketing but when it comes to high grade the sky fails to provide a limit.
This was well demonstrated by prices realized in Stack’s Bowers April Hong Kong Paper Money sale.
Among first issue renminbi there are four great rarities. An example of the rarest was on offer: a “Running Horses” 10,000 yuan of 1951, P-858A. It is seldom seen as an issued note with one in VF 20 selling for $150,000 a few moons back.
That on offer showed some faint handling and minor folds and came graded PCGSBG About Uncirculated 50. It went to the block with a highly conservative estimate of $100,000-150,000. When the dust settled it had taken $358,500. This is an auction record for any renminbi note and may well be a record for a single piece of paper money at auction in Hong Kong.
An issued 500 yuan from the same 1951 series, P-857a, attracted considerable attention given its PCGSBG About Uncirculated 53 grading. Despite its lower face value it is a seldom seen item and deservedly carried a $25,000-35,000 estimate. That was ignored by collectors who bid it up to $113,525.
Not too far behind came a 1951 5,000 yuan, P-857Ba, in PMG Extremely Fine 40. Like other high denomination notes of the series it saw little circulation in the north of China where it was issued. Its estimate of $40,000-50,000 appeared extremely reasonable but bidding raced past this to finish on $83,650.
And renminbi collectors know what they want. By comparison a 1,000 yuan of the series, P-857Aa, could manage just $52,580 on its $25,000-35,000 estimate in PMG About Uncirculated 55.
For those who may be tempted to dabble in this market be aware of Lot 70188. It consisted of 100 consecutive 1949 1,000 yuan, P-850. They graded PCGSBG About Uncirculated 55 to PCGSBG Gem Uncirculated 65 OPQ. On a $40,000-60,000 estimate the lot realized a most healthy $80,662.50.
That’s only a small part of the sale. Full lot details and prices realized from can be found at www.stacksbowers.com. It is well worth a 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.
• Any coin collector can tell you that a close look is necessary for accurate grading. Check out this USB microscope today!