Paper Money

Chinese, Hong Kong notes to lead Heritage July sale

A 1949 100-yuan note issued by the People’s Bank of China and a 1921 $50 specimen note of the Hongkong & Shanghai Banking Corp. are among notes featured in Heritage’s July world notes auction in Hong Kong.

Images courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

Citing a surge in collector demand for Asian paper currency, Heritage Auctions says that a pair of notes — one Chinese and one from Hong Kong, could each sell for $30,000 or more when they are offered in its HKINF World Paper Money Signature Auction on July 6 and 7 in Hong Kong.

Each of the notes already had bids approaching $20,000 by the third week in June. Bids on a third Asian note, estimated at slightly less, are already over that barrier.

One of the first two notes is a 1949 People’s Bank of China 100-yuan note in Paper Money Guaranty Gem Uncirculated 65. From the initial denomination of the “Georgian Calendar” subseries, described as a very short-lived smaller denomination, quickly rendered valueless in contemporary terms, the note is called a rarity in any grade. This is just the sixth example offered by Heritage in the last decade.

The other note approaching $20,000 in bidding is a Hongkong & Shanghai Banking Corp. $50 specimen note of Jan. 1, 1921, in PMG Choice Uncirculated 63. It was printed by Waterlow & Sons and is not often seen in any format. The denomination was heavily forged, and this piece, one of only nine graded in the PMG Population Report, is just the second Heritage has ever offered.

Already at $36,000 with the buyer’s fee at the end of June was a PMG Gem Uncirculated 65 1949 People’s Bank of China 50-yuan note. It is described as one of the most iconic notes of the first series. The Heritage cataloger said that it was adapted from an earlier 10-yuan note. It features a vignette of a farmer carrying a hoe and a factory worker carrying a hammer.

The Tannu-Tuva republic was a small autonomous part of the former Soviet Union, adjacent to the Mongolian border, which was only recognized by the Soviet Union and China. It issued just four bank note series — in 1924, 1933, 1935 and 1940. A 10-aksha note from 1935 in PMG Very Fine 20, the second highest denomination in the series, is the only one ever graded by PMG. It is not only the first ever offered by Heritage, but may also be the first ever offered in a global public auction. It is estimated at a minimum of $20,000.

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