A red leather presentation album of seven specimen notes of Bhutan
sold for £1,900 ($2,982 in U.S. funds) Dec. 9, 2014, by Spink in London.
The presentation album has “Royal Government of Bhutan” in gold
lettering in the cover of the album. The album contains 1-, 2-, 5-,
10-, 20-, 50- and 100-ngultrum specimen notes, circa 1980s.
Bhutan is a tiny and remote Buddhist kingdom tucked up high in the
Himalaya Mountains between India and China.
With its remote location and restrictions on tourism, it’s easy to
imagine it could have inspired James Hilton, who wrote the novel
Lost Horizon in 1933, about a mythical place called
Shangri-La. The book was made into a movie by the same name in 1937
by Frank Capra
Hilton’s inspiration for the physical location and cultural elements
of Shangri-La are thought to be in China. He traveled in the region
before writing his popular novel.
Also sold for £1,000 ($1,565 U.S.) during the auction was a rare
specimen 5-taler note from the Bank of Abyssinia circa 1914. The
roulette and stamp CANCELLED note was graded by the firm as Good
A large vignette of the head of an antelope is on the face, flanked
by a vignette of the bank building and a vignette known as the Lion of
Judah, an allegorical representation of the nation of Abyssinia, later
known as Ethiopia.
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