Paper Money

Rare Bank of Spain notes appear with world paper money in Heritage sale

Paper money from Canada and the British Commonwealth, Spain, Portugal, and Brazil comprise the lion’s share of the 687-lot Heritage world paper money auction in Dallas April 30.

A good portion of these are attributed to the collection of Yuri Solovey, a collector based in Moscow, who, in the last decade, was an active auction bidder and who, in a relatively short time, accumulated prodigious holdings of rare and top quality United States and world paper money.

Among the items up for bid is an extensive run of Spanish and Portuguese specimens, proofs, and remainders. Ten of them, all Spanish, have estimated selling prices starting at $10,000. Two, a 50-peseta specimen proof and a 100-peseta specimen note, are expected to double that. Both are dated Jan. 1, 1875, and are graded Choice Uncirculated 64 by Paper Money Guaranty. Very few of these large-format notes are known today and they are rarely offered for sale. They were printed in England by Bradbury, Wilkinson & Company for the Bank of Spain.

The highest denomination specimen note from the East African Currency Board in Mombasa, a perforation-canceled 500-florin (50-pound) note of May 1, 1920, in PMG About Uncirculated 55 is expected to get the highest bids in the sale, with an estimate of $30,000 and an opening bid of at least $15,000. Heritage says it is only the second example offered publicly, and the first since 2014. It calls the De La Rue design a “titan” of bank note engraving. The 1920 series did not last long, since the florins or pounds designation was replaced by the more familiar shilling/pounds the next year.

With a current bid of $13,500 ($16,200 with the buyer’s fee), a Bank of Canada $1,000 note graded PMG Choice Uncirculated 64 already exceeds its $15,500 estimate. The issues in Series 1935 were the first bank notes of the Bank of Canada, with separate printings in English and French. The bust of Sir Wilfrid Laurier, the seventh prime minister of Canada, is on the face. The reverse is of an allegorical scene called “Security.” The Bank of Canada Museum says this was a stock image owned by the American Bank Note Company that the company had used as early as 1917 on an issue of Russian bonds. The note was printed by the Canadian Bank Note Company.

The $1,000 was the highest denomination of the series, and rare in any grade. Only 66,500 notes were printed in English, and most were redeemed. The French version is rarer still. Only 6,700 were produced.

Series 1935 was short-lived, due to the death of King George V in January 1936 and the subsequent abdication of his son, Edward VIII, the following December.

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