Paper Money

Notes of Asia lead Heritage Hong Kong currency auction

Many of the estimated selling prices were left by the wayside April 3 in the Hong Kong Spring World Paper Money Showcase from Heritage Currency Auctions.

The auction understandably focused almost exclusively on the currency of Asia, with 211 of the lots from China, another 45 from Hong Kong and the rest from other areas in the region.

Estimated at $6,000 and up, but finally selling for $26,600 including the buyer’s fee, was a Chinese Checkiang provincial government bond from 1912 with a face value of 1 dollar. The piece is unlisted in the Pick catalog and bore a grade of Very Fine 30 by Paper Money Guaranty.

Reaching $11,400, after being estimated at a minimum of $7,000, was an interesting PMG Choice Uncirculated 64 Government of Hong Kong undated 1-dollar note from 1945. It is overprinted on a Japanese 1,000-yen note graded PMG Choice Uncirculated 64. This note was never issued and as a historical document, it represents the change of government after the Japanese occupation forces left Hong Kong and the region was returned to the British.

Also from this chaotic period in Chinese history was a People’s Republic 1949 1,000-yuan note graded PMG Choice Uncirculated 64. It was estimated at a value of at least $2,500 and ended up selling for four times that, at $10,200. PMG remarks that this note is one of the first examples of paper money printed by the new government that emerged in 1949 after the Chinese civil war. It displays industrial and agricultural scenes on the face, along with a large ship on the back.

The total realized for the 309-lot sale was $363,042.

Many of the lots in the sale bore a caveat that United States collectors should be aware of when buying any collectibles from China. It reads “This lot was manufactured in China and was sourced from outside the United States for this auction after September 1, 2019. Under the new U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods, collector’s items from China will be subject to a 7.5% import tariff. Any clients who wish to take delivery of this item in the United States should be aware of this added charge.”

This tariff was instituted by the Trump administration as part of the ongoing trade war with China and applies also to coins and other numismatic items that previously were not subject to customs duties of any kind.

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