One side effect of the great buoyancy of the present Chinese bank note market is the ongoing stream of seldom-seen Chinese rarities emerging from the wainscoting. This is clearly apparent in the Heritage catalog for their Dec. 5-7 HKINF World Currency Signature Auction.
Notes on offer cover the gamut of Chinese paper money history from the 13th century Yuan Dynasty to the Peoples’ Republic.
At the time of writing, top billing in the catalog had been assigned to an exceedingly rare $5 dated 2 May 1894 and issued by the minor and short-lived Hong Kong National Bank of China (P-247a). Just a handful of notes of this bank are available to collectors; all are of the single 1894 issue.
Two are listed in the PMG Census, one graded Fine 15 Net with rust damage and a second allocated PCGS Apparent Fine 15 with ink stains and minor damage. The latter sold in September 2015 for $60,904. With that price in mind, the $50,000-70,000 estimate for the present National Bank example could prove conservative given its PMG Very Fine 30 grade.
From the Yuan Dynasty comes a 2 kuan (NIP; S/M#C167-1). For its age, it is well preserved with some restoration, paper damage, and staining. It grades PMG Choice Fine 15 Net. A similar example sold in June for $43,200, which no doubt helped determine the present estimate of $40,000-50,000.
For those into recent Asian history, a Bank of Taiwan $5 drawn on Shanghai and dated 1 June 1916 (P-S625) should attract bidders. It comes in a collectible PMG Very Fine 30 and carries an estimate of $30,000-50,000.
The Bank of China is represented by a seldom-seen 100 copper coins issue of 1921 from its Jiujiang (Kiukiang) branch. This branch issued a number of copper coin denominated notes from 1919 to 1921. The Standard Catalog of World Paper Money lists issues of the first two years only (P-56 to P-61), few of which are ever seen at auction. That on offer is well preserved with original colors, bold inks, and top paper quality. It grades PCGS Extremely Fine 45PPQ and carries a $25,000-35,000 estimate.
Other high rollers include front and back uniface specimens of the 1949 5 yuan (P-814s), estimate $22,000-25,000; an Imperial Bank of China $5 dated 22 January 1898 and drawn on Shanghai (P-A52a), estimate $20,000-30,000 in PMG Extremely Fine 40; and a rare 500 taels (the highest denomination) specimen of the Russo-Chinese Bank drawn on Tientsin (P- S554s), estimate $18,000-20,000 in PMG Choice Very Fine 35.
The above details need to be confirmed online at www.ha.com, along with the particulars of the many other desirable items on offer.
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