By Kerry Rodgers
Tucked among the world paper catalog in Noble Numismatics July sale in Sydney were three notes from Fiji’s World War II emergency issues: penny (P-47a), shilling (P-48a) and two shillings (P-50a). All were highly desirable as all carried serial No. 1.
The trio had surfaced in a Status International sale some 20 years ago. At that time they were purchased by a Sydney-based dealer who subsequently sold them privately. They had not been seen since.
Their reappearance sparked considerable interest among a range of collectors: World War II paper, low serial numbers, and Fiji. The notes’ attractiveness was perhaps aided by their ultra-conservative estimates of A$500 [US$375] apiece.
That estimate was quickly exceeded as each item came up on the block with four serious bidders in-room plus several on the Internet. At least one was from the United States.
All items followed the same bid pattern. As prices passed $2,000 most dropped out but three and then two went toe-to-toe until hammer fall as the price exceeded $3,000.
Most interest was in the penny. When the dust settled, it had taken $3,042 [A$4,054] as did the two shillings. Both went to the same bid number held by a New Zealand dealer.
The one shilling realized $2,506 [A$3,339] on the day. It was bought by another New Zealand dealer who resold it within 12 hours for a price commensurate with the other two.
Hopefully all three notes will continue to reside together as they have these past 74 years.
This article was originally printed in Bank Note Reporter.
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More Collecting Resources
• The Standard Catalog of United States Paper Money is the only annual guide that provides complete coverage of U.S. currency with today’s market prices.
• 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.