Among the most interesting parts of the Feb. 9 St. James’s Auctions
sale in London is an offering of more than 2,000 bank notes from
German East Africa that is as surprising for the story they tell as
for the large amount of them.
The notes, which are divided into 216 lots, include some individual
rarities. Others are divided into lots ranging from a few pieces to
over a hundred. Their remarkable aspect is that until recently they
had been sitting in a chest unopened since 1926.
The chest belonged to the family of Casimiro Fernandes, who was born
in Goa, Portuguese India, in March 1873. After his marriage he and his
wife left India for Dar es Salaam, German East Africa (now Tanzania),
where he took a job with the Customs Department. He took early
retirement in 1912 and went into private business as C. Fernandes
Although German East Africa came to its demise with the allied
victory in World War I, Fernandes remained in business and prospered.
In 1926, at the age of 53, he moved to Europe with his wife and five
children. Among the possessions that accompanied the family on their
journey was this chest of paper money, part of which is being sold
now, with the balance to follow later in the year.
Among the more valuable notes being offered are a run of 200-rupee
notes dated June 15, 1915. The note with the highest estimate at
£1,500 to £2,000 ($2,200 to $3,000) is a scarce issue with the
signatures of Kirst and Frühling and is graded Very Fine to Extremely Fine.
Connect with Coin World:
Five other German East Africa 200-rupee notes are offered in the
auction as well.
Also prominently represented are the 5-, 10-, 50-, and 100-rupee
notes of June 15, 1905, and an interesting selection of notes with
errors, cancellations and misprints.
The catalog may be viewed online at www.sixbid.com, www.the-saleroom.com, and www.numisbids.com.