Paper Money

Stack’s Bowers Galleries offers world notes in auction

A diverse quintet of 20th century world bank notes are expected to surpass $25,000 each at the Stack’s Bowers Galleries world currency auction in New York City on Jan. 18.

A rarely seen 1927 Palestine Currency Board 10-pound note graded by Paper Money Guaranty as Very Fine 25 has an estimated price of $55,000 to $65,000. This was from the first issue of Palestinian notes and is rare when offered as a proof or specimen note. Rarer still are any actually issued and not canceled. This one, the catalog notes, is “one of the finest examples of the type known in fully issued state.”

An offering of 49 Canadian notes is led by a 1924 Dominion of Canada $5 note in PMG Very Choice New 64. Owing to lack of demand, only 2 million of these were printed in 1931. About a third of them were finally released in 1934, and then withdrawn the next year when replaced by the Bank of Canada issues. The face has vignette of Queen Mary, wife of King George V, in an evening dress and wearing a diamond tiara and necklace. It bears the date of her birthday, May 26. The back shows the Parliament in Ottawa. A Choice New 63 example graded by PCGS Currency sold for $20,562.50 in 2014. This one is expected to reach $35,000 to $45,000.

A minimum of $30,000 is forecast for a PMG Gem Uncirculated 65 Exceptional Paper Quality undated Bank of Japan 1,000-yen specimen note from 1945, the last year of World War II. It has two red overprints reading “Mi-hon” in Japanese, indicating they are specimens. The eighth century Takebe shrine is on the left, while the portrait at the right is of the legendary 12th emperor of Japan, second century folk hero Yamato Takeru No Mikoto. PMG has graded a total of five examples.

A rare Jan. 1, 1952, presentation booklet from Libya of seven face and seven back specimen notes for King Mohamed Idris is projected at $25,000 to $35,000. The 5- and 10-piastre notes, and quarter-, half-, 1-, 5-, and 10-pound notes all have the Arabic word for “specimen” printed in red or green ink. All notes in the booklet are Uncirculated.

The same price applies to a South Vietnamese undated 1,000-dong specimen note dated to 1955–56. The PMG Choice Uncirculated 64 example is the second to appear on the market in a year. A Gem 65 Premium Paper Quality example reached $40,800 in January 2018. The face of the stunning design depicts an old man, representing longevity, facing a temple meant to be symbolic of religion. The back shows a serene-looking young woman in front of a lake and traditional Vietnamese sailboat.

It was designed by DeLaRue and was approved, but never issued. There is a GIAY MAU overprint in black on each side, and the red specimen number 873. 

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