Paper Money

Far Eastern notes dominate paper money auction

As expected, Far Eastern bank notes showed enor­mous strength at Dix Noonan Webb’s auction Oct. 3 in London. Asian issues led the way in the £397,122 or $493,920 (including buyer’s commission) auction.

An extremely rare Bank of Taiwan “Fifty Yen in Silver” note dated 1901 and estimated at £10,000 to £15,000 went to a Chinese bidder for £48,000 ($59,700). Bidding began at £16,000, after which a battle ensued between participants on the telephone and the internet. Finally, the low estimate was eclipsed by a factor of almost five. 

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Far Eastern bidders also forced the pace on bidding for notes from Malaya and British North Borneo, Hong Kong and Singapore. A $10 note dated March 21, 1953, issued by the Board of Commissioners of Currency in Malaya and British North Borneo, slayed its £1,000 to £1,500 estimate when it sold for £6,000 ($7,462). Its companion $50 note with the same date and estimate brought £5,520 ($6,865), and a 1901 $5 of the Hong Kong & Shanghai Banking Corporation, expected to reach only £600 to £800, fetched £5,760 ($7,164). A Singapore $10 note issued in 1970 and 1971, also with a £600 to £800 expectation, settled at £4,320 ($5,373).

The first appearance on the market in recent years of a comprehensive Iranian collection drew multiple bidders. Called “the property of a gentleman,” it totaled £48,444 or $60,250. The highest individual price was £4,800 ($5,970) for a 1924 20-toman note issued by the Imperial Bank of Persia, estimated at £1,500 to £2,000.

DNW’s Chris Webb saw two noticeable general trends — the popularity of notes from around the Commonwealth bearing the head of Queen Elizabeth II, and that American collectors are bidding in a number of sectors of the market, such as the British Caribbean, and not only buying U.S. paper money.

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