Paper Money

Specimens book triples its estimate at auction

The days when world paper money placed a distant second to America’s paper money in the battle for collectors are long since over, as proven by a separate auction session by Stack’s Bowers Galleries dedicated exclusively to world paper money at the American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money in Anaheim, Calif. The sale realized $863,865 (including buyer’s fees).

Just a few lots into the sale, at $141,000, a book of South American specimens sold for nearly triple its high estimate. The book contained more than 100 specimens and 40 vignettes, with pieces from printers including American Bank Note Co., Waterlow & Sons, and Bradbury Wilkinson.

In other lots, many notes that previously have not been available at auction were offered, including an 1865 Canadian $1 Port Hope note from the Royal Canadian Bank that realized $12,925, and a $2 St. John’s Newfoundland note graded Gem Uncirculated 65 Exceptional Paper Quality by Paper Money Guaranty going for $14,100.

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British Commonwealth material remains a focus of interest. At $35,520 was a 1934 Serial Number 1 Reserve Bank of New Zealand 10-shilling note, graded Very Choice New 64 by PCGS Currency. With a kiwi and a Maori chief on its face, the piece is emblematic of the country and was called in the catalog the most important bank note known to exist for all of New Zealand. 

A $100 color-trial specimen note for Malaya and British Borneo Board of Commissioners of Currency, undated (March 21, 1953) graded PCGS Currency Gem New 66 Premium Paper Quality sold for $11,162.50.

A 10-rupee specimen note from the Reserve Bank of India sold for $5,405, about double its estimate, and a Princely States artist essay sold for $9,400. 

Two Qatar notes fetched $5,875 each — a 1-riyal remainder note and a 1-riyal progressive proof. The highlight of the Qatar section was a possibly unique test note that was hammered at $7,637.

More information on the sale is available at

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