Jan. 12, 2018, is a date all collectors of South and Central American paper money will want to highlight in their diaries. On that date, Spink will undertake a sale of “The Andean Collection of Paper Money” at the Grand Hyatt in New York.
The collection has been assembled over the last 50 years in Europe. Many of the items have not seen an auction block in decades. Spink believes this could well be the first U.S.- or European-based sale devoted entirely to South and Central American paper.
Do not let the title of the collection mislead. The bank notes on offer run the full gamut of South and Central America — and more. They comprise Argentine, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela. This listing may not be exhaustive.
The 460 lots include notes of both private banks and national governments. Many, but by no means all, are 19th-century issues.
There are some remarkable rarities. Of these, a number are “Pick unlisted.” There are even notes of banks not in the Standard Catalog of World Paper Money. If there is one thing that delights a collector more than plugging a long-unfilled gap, it is plugging a gap they did not know existed.
A careful browse of the catalog by prospective bidders would seem warranted. It is more than likely that one or more sleepers lurk among the listings.
For starters, how about an Argentinian Banco de San Juan one peso dated Oct. 24, 1870? The bank, let alone its issues, are absent from SCWPM. The example on offer is in a highly collectible “fresh very fine” with a conservative estimate of $400-500.
And then there is a rare, vertical format Banco de Santiago one peso of Feb. 25, 1886, with a wonderfully low serial of 000129, P-S411a. Graded “fine to about very fine,” it carries an estimate of $2,000-2,500.
Or how about a seldom-seen Colombian 1 peso of El Banco Union dated Jan. 5, 1888, and issued at Cartagena, P-S866a. Despite being heavily pressed, it is in a presentable fine condition with a $1,000-1,200 estimate.
Collectors of El Salvador issues will want to look long and hard at the Series J one peso of El Banco Occidental of November 1907. It comes in black on a green underprint and as such is unlisted in SCWPM or Stickney-Almanzar. It has been recorded only as a proof and in a different color; never as an issued note. The example on offer is described as “completely original, a very presentable very fine” and, to state the obvious, “excessively rare.” The estimate is a modest $800-1,200.
Low denomination issues of the Honduras-based Aguan Navigation and Improvement Co. for 1886 are not all that uncommon. However, the corresponding 50 pesos is (P-S107a). The Andean Collection offers a most desirable example. Dated June 25, 1886, and graded PMG 20 NET, the estimate is a not unreasonable $2,000-2,500.
Full catalog details are available from www.spink.com. Bidders are urged to check the details reported here.
Lest any reader should be confused, this South and Central American sale is being held prior to Spink’s Numismatic Collector’s Series auction that will take place also in New York’s Grand Hyatt but on Jan. 14-16.
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More Collecting Resources
• Keep up to date on prices for Canada, United States and Mexico coinage with the 2018 North American Coins & Prices guide.
• 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.