By Kerry Rodgers
Two extremely rare and historically important Ottoman 50,000 livres specimen notes will be the stars of Noble Numismatics’ 40th anniversary sale to be held in Sydney from April 5-8.
The two are part of a family collection of 144 notes of the Ottoman Empire that has been in the one family through three generations. It is understood it was assembled from items obtained from diplomatic sources. Just two are issued notes. The rest are specimens.
All are Ministry of Finance State Notes of Mehmed V and Mehmed IV. All were produced during the height of World War I. All are among the final paper currencies authorized by the Ottoman dynasty. A number carry the imprint of Giesecke & Devrient.
The notes arrived at the auction house in a battered presentation album but the notes themselves were in excellent condition. None had been mounted. Some show a little toning and/or an occasional corner crease. They grade EF to UNC.
The two 50,000 livres, P-95s, are the undoubted stars of the collection. They are dated AH 1332 [A.D. 1916] when each had a contemporary value of approximately 500 pounds sterling. They were not intended for general circulation but were used as instruments in inter-bank transfers.
Mehmet Gacıroglu’s 2011 work, “Devlet-i Aliyye-i Osmaniyye,” reports a total issue of just 40 50,000 livres of which just two extant examples were known. That number has just doubled.
The two on offer are identical. Both are unsigned. Both have serial number 00. Both are perforated specimen in Turkish in five places. The sole difference is grade. One is EF, the other good EF. Both carry an estimate of c. $70,000 [A$100,000].
Among many other rarities are: 100 livres, AH1332, signed Cavid, toughra of Mehmed V (P.103s; G.RS-5-8); 500 livres specimen, AH1334, toughra of Mehmed V (P-107Bs; G.RS-7-2); 500 livres specimen, AH1334, signed Cavid, toughra of Mehmed VI (P-114); 1,000 livres specimen, AH1334, signed Cavid, toughra of Mehmed VI (P.115s; G.VA-8-1). All these items are unpriced in the Standard Catalog of World Paper Money in both issued and specimen form.
It is anticipated that the auction catalog should be available online (www.noble.com.au) and available in hard copy from mid-March. Any inquiries can be directed to Jim Noble in Sydney (+61 2 9223 4578).
This article was originally printed in Bank Note Reporter.
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