Paper Money

Notes of Zanzibar, Nicaragua in Archives International sale

 A very rare 1916 10-rupee bank note from Zanzibar, graded Very Fine 20 by Paper Money Guaranty highlights a 900-lot auction by Archives International Auctions on March 10 at the firm’s offices in River Edge, New Jersey.

Zanzibar notes are nearly always at the top of any world paper money sale for good reason. For example, the auctioneer says examples of this particular note have sold at auction only seven times in the past 10 years, with only three of those notes graded higher than the one offered in the Archives International Auctions auction. Most auction appearances were for notes dated 1928, which themselves are rare. The 1908 and 1916 issues are rarer still.

Other highlights in the sale include an 1856 Nicaragua, William Walker $25 “military script” rarity making its first appearance since an R.M. Smythe auction in 1998. The date is unlisted.

Walker was an American physician, lawyer, journalist and mercenary who organized several private military expeditions into Mexico and Central America with the aim of establishing English-speaking colonies under his personal control. He usurped the presidency of Nicaragua in July 1856 and ruled until May 1, 1857, when he was forced out and left. He returned in 1860, was captured by the government of Honduras, and executed.

Iraqi bank notes in the auction include a Government of Iraq Law #44 of 1931 (ND 1934 Issue) 1-dinar bank note graded Extremely Fine 45 by Paper Money Guaranty. Only five examples are graded higher out of 46 notes graded in the PMG census.

Korea is represented by a Bank of Korea 1953 (4286) 100-hwan note with the facing portrait of President Syungman Rhee. The note was found in an old scrapbook of a Korean war veteran, by his family.

The United States section of the auction includes four scarce Nevada national bank notes including ones from Elko, Ely, and Reno, and an uncut sheet of six Woodbine, New Jersey, $5 Series 1929 Type 2 national bank notes.

Also included is a unique Panama Railroad bond proof from 1880 from the American Bank Note Archives, never offered previously at auction. In the 1860s to 1900s, the Panama Railroad became one of the most profitable in the world, charging up to $25 per passenger to traverse the 47 miles from coast to coast. Until the opening of the Panama Canal, it carried the heaviest volume of freight per unit length of any railroad in the world. The existence of the railway was one of the keys to the selection of Panama as the site of the canal.

The sale can be viewed as a virtual catalog or is downloadable as Sale 65 at

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