As expected, Far Eastern bank notes showed enormous strength at Dix
Noonan Webb’s auction Oct. 3 in London. Asian issues led the way in
the £397,122 or $493,920 (including buyer’s commission) auction.
An extremely rare Bank of Taiwan “Fifty Yen in Silver” note dated
1901 and estimated at £10,000 to £15,000 went to a Chinese bidder for
£48,000 ($59,700). Bidding began at £16,000, after which a battle
ensued between participants on the telephone and the internet.
Finally, the low estimate was eclipsed by a factor of almost five.
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Far Eastern bidders also forced the pace on bidding for notes from
Malaya and British North Borneo, Hong Kong and Singapore. A $10 note
dated March 21, 1953, issued by the Board of Commissioners of Currency
in Malaya and British North Borneo, slayed its £1,000 to £1,500
estimate when it sold for £6,000 ($7,462). Its companion $50 note with
the same date and estimate brought £5,520 ($6,865), and a 1901 $5 of
the Hong Kong & Shanghai Banking Corporation, expected to reach
only £600 to £800, fetched £5,760 ($7,164). A Singapore $10 note
issued in 1970 and 1971, also with a £600 to £800 expectation, settled
at £4,320 ($5,373).
The first appearance on the market in recent years of a
comprehensive Iranian collection drew multiple bidders. Called “the
property of a gentleman,” it totaled £48,444 or $60,250. The highest
individual price was £4,800 ($5,970) for a 1924 20-toman note issued
by the Imperial Bank of Persia, estimated at £1,500 to £2,000.
DNW’s Chris Webb saw two noticeable general trends — the popularity
of notes from around the Commonwealth bearing the head of Queen
Elizabeth II, and that American collectors are bidding in a number of
sectors of the market, such as the British Caribbean, and not only
buying U.S. paper money.