Paper Money

Hong Kong auction offers high quality Asian notes

The Stack’s Bowers and Ponterio 10th Anniversary Hong Kong Auction offered what the firm characterized in a press release as some of the finest Asian bank notes that the market has to offer.

First among them was an undated $10 note of the Ta-Ching Government Bank from 1910 that sold for triple its estimate at $60,000 in U.S. funds, including the buyer’s fee. The face of the note shows a dragon flying through the clouds in front of a radiant sun and above the Great Wall of China and a coastal scene. At About Uncirculated 55 Exceptional Paper Quality, it is the better of only two ever graded by Paper Money Guaranty.

A modern test note showing the ancient sage Confucius went for $42,000. The Choice Uncirculated 63 10-yuan note was printed by the Beijing Banknote Printing Co. and is one of a very few Beijing Test notes available to collectors. The bright red design covers the extremes of Chinese history. In addition to the bust of Confucius, the watermark is of Chairman Mao Zedong.

An early 1,000-yuan note from the People’s Republic of China doubled expectations at $31,200. This Choice Extremely Fine 45 issue from 1951 features an agrarian scene of horses grazing in a field, with tents and a horse cart in the background. The reverse inscriptions are in, not Chinese, but Arabic.

A 200-guilder note dated May 28, 1938, from De Javasche Bank, headquartered in Batavia, Netherlands Indies (now Jakarta, Indonesia), realized $13,200 in Very Fine 30. The note features a common but attractive motif for the bank’s issues, a native man and woman in traditional dress facing each other.

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