As was to be expected, rarities from the People’s Republic of China, Chinese private banks, and the imperial past all featured among top-selling lots at Heritage Auctions' early December Hong Kong sale. Issues from other Asian countries also featured among the top 10.
These days, no auction of Chinese paper is complete without at least one example of a China People’s Republic large-format 10 yuan of 1953, P-870. There were two in this sale. The top-graded example, an amazing PMG Choice Uncirculated 64, was easily bid up to $40,800 — the highest price achieved for this sale. The second took $13,200 in PCGS Very Fine 30.
Second place of $33,600 went to a pair of Hong Kong’s Chartered Bank face and back printer’s models for the $1,000 issue of April 1, 1977 (cf. P-81).
For some time, specimen notes have proved highly popular among Asian collectors. This was ably demonstrated by a specimen of a Sarawak $25 dated July 1, 1929. Graded PMG Choice About Unc 58, it realized $20,400.
From the The Ma Tak Wo Collection came a delightful rarity: an example of a Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corp. $500 dated July 1, 1930 (P-177b). In PMG About Uncirculated 55, it took $19,200 on a $15,000-18,000 estimate.
The same price was achieved by a second HKSB note, in this case a $1 of Dec. 31, 1873 (P-112) graded a desirable PCGS Extremely Fine 45.
Other regulars at Chinese paper sales are Ming Dynasty one kuan of 1368-99 (P-AA10). Several were on offer. They were led by the finest example Heritage has ever handled, a superb PCGS Choice About New 58PPQ. It sold for $18,000. Three other examples went for $14,400 (PMG About Uncirculated 55), $10,200 (PCGS Extremely Fine 40) and $9,600 (PMG About Uncirculated 53). (Readers can draw their own conclusion from the slight disparity in the last two prices.)
Other lots taking more than $10,000 included a scarce Malaya Board of Commissioners $1,000 dated Jan. 1, 1942 (P-16) that fetched $15,600 in PMG Very Fine 30; a Straits Settlements $5 of Jan. 2, 1914 (P-3) that made $15,000 in PMG Choice About Unc 58 EPQ; and a China Russo-Asiatic Bank 10 gold fen = one mace dated Aug. 9, 1917 (P-S481a) that realized $14,400 in PMG About Uncirculated 53.
An original brick of 1,000 consecutive 1937 one yuan notes of the Bank of China (P-79) attracted considerable interest. It came as delivered by Thomas De La Rue, its lead seal and string wrapping intact. Apart from some foxing, all notes appeared crisp UNC. On an estimate of $7,000-$10,000, it was bid to a comfortable $11,400.
In total, the sale realized $847,052, with 14 lots selling for above $10,000.
Full lot details and prices realized can be sourced on the Heritage website: www.HA.com.
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