The sale by Spink & Son of the loans of the German Reich on Nov.
20 was but a small part of a 550-lot auction of world bond and share
certificates, but it earned a disproportionate share of attention,
particularly in Germany.
At a time when the German Ministry of Culture is trying to push a
set of draconian restrictions on the ability of German dealers and
collectors to export legitimate cultural property from their homeland,
the fact that the German Ministry of Finance exported part of its own
heritage for sale in England instead of Germany, was met with
bemusement by some and outrage by others, notwithstanding the
commercial logic of the choice.
Although more lots went unsold than would be expected at a paper
money auction, the majority sold within Spink’s estimates, most of
which were in the range of £100 to £300. All but a few were
The bargain of the day, at least on a per piece basis, was a group
of 7,826 Nazi 4.5 percent debenture bonds of May 4, 1937, consisting
of 100-, 500-, 1,000-, 5,000-, 20,000-, 50,000-, and
100,000-reichsmark bonds, mostly graded Extremely Fine. It was
estimated at £400 to £500 and sold for £420 ($631) including the 20
percent buyer’s fee, or 5.4 pence (8 cents) each.
The highest price for a single lot was £1,200 ($1,803) for a unique
85-million-reichsmark issue concerning railway special assets in the
occupied eastern territories issued a week before the end of the war
that sold for £1,200 ($1,800) on a £200 to £300 estimate.