Paper Money

East Africa note tops world paper money bidding at Heritage

The top result of $96,000 in Heritage’s Oct. 20 auction of world paper money was realized for an East Africa East African Currency Board 10-florin note dated May 1, 1920 in PMG Choice Uncirculated 63.

Images courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

Heritage Auctions says that over 1,000 bidders from across the globe participated in its World Paper Money Signature Auction in Dallas on Oct. 20. The sale realized a total of $1,920,786 including buyer’s fees and included, a company press release indicates, several world records.

The $96,000 top result for an East Africa East African Currency Board 10-florin note dated May 1, 1920 in Paper Money Guaranty Choice Uncirculated 63 tripled its estimate. The bright yellow note (also denominated as 1 pound) is part of a short-lived series since notes denominated in shillings were soon issued dated 1921. The sold item is one of only three graded by PMG. This note had never before been offered by the auction house.

Nine other East African notes were also offered, including two in PMG About Uncirculated 55 from the same series – a 20-florin/2-pound note for $32,400 and a 50-florin/5-pound note for $45,600. These both had higher estimates than the first note.

One of the more shocking results was the $66,000 paid against a $7,000 estimate for an undated (1879) uniface proprietary proof for a Kingdom of Hawaii Department of Finance $500 note in PMG Choice Uncirculated 63. The description mentions that Hawaiian paper money from before World War II is very rare and often exist only in prototype format. The American Banknote Company design features vignettes of the last Hawaiian king, King Kalakau, two sailing vessels, a locomotive, and sugar cane harvesting. The obligation clause reads “Five hundred dollars in silver coin payable to the bearer on demand.” None of these were ever issued.

Other claimed records, all graded by PMG, among them a Trinidad & Tobago Canadian Bank of Commerce $100 note of March 1, 1921, graded Very Fine 25 and issued in Port of Spain settled at $38,400. Trinidad and Tobago issued small-denomination notes from 1905 to 1939. This $100 note is the first ever offered by Heritage in issued format.

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