Paper Money

Palestine note hits $84,000 in May Stack’s Bowers sale

The 1944 Palestine Currency Board 10-pound note in PMG Gem Uncirculated 65 was estimated at a minimum of $30,000 but sold for $84,000 in the May 4 Stack’s Bowers Galleries auction.

Images courtesy of Stack's Bowers Galleries.

Attendance at the MIF Maastricht Currency Fair in the Netherlands on April 28 to 30 was described as huge by one attendee. Although Stack’s Bowers Galleries, the show sponsor and auctioneer, showed the notes in its 826-lot auction at the event, the Maastricht auction itself was not held until May 4, 5,700 miles and nine time zones away, in California.

Most lots sold within or above their estimated prices with very few not selling.

The 1944 Palestine Currency Board 10-pound note in Gem Uncirculated 65, the finest known of 81 graded by Paper Money Guaranty, was estimated at a minimum of $30,000 and sold for $84,000. The left side of the face shows the 12th century Crusader’s tower in the Israeli city of Ramla. The back has David’s tower in Jerusalem.

A pair of issues from an extensive run of notes from the Belgian Congo attracted spirited bidding. A 1920 1,000-franc note issued by the Banque du Congo Belge, graded Choice About Uncirculated 58 by PMG, sold for $36,000 on an estimate of $15,000 to $25,000. This was the highest value issued between 1912 and 1937 and this note is the only one graded. It is ornately designed with two allegorical figures and a child on the face. A seated woman with lyre contemplatively staring at the Congo River appears on the back.

Completely different in style is the 1929 Banque du Congo Belge 100-franc note that was thought to be worth from $1,500 to $2,000 in the catalog but ended up being hammered down at $16,800. Despite the grade of Very Fine 25, it is the better of two graded by PMG.

The most eagerly anticipated lots were a pair of extremely rare bank notes from Greece, which came close to but did not meet their reserves. They were a 500-drachmai note from 1923 that at $72,500 missed its reserve price by $2,500, and an Ionian Bank 25-new-drachmai note of 1877 (restored Fine 12) that was estimated at $50,000 and fell just short.

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