Paper Money

World notes are star attractions in Stack’s Bowers sale

Three of the 362 lots broke through the $25,000 barrier at the Stack's Bowers Galleries world paper money auction held in Las Vegas on Aug. 5. The venue, the Bellagio Hotel, was a stand-in for Pittsburgh’s David L. Lawrence Convention Center and the American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money.

At the top of the list at $33,600 was a Panama 1941 5-balboa note issued by El Banco Central de Emision and printed by New York’s Hamilton Bank Note Co. It was graded by Paper Money Guaranty as Choice Uncirculated 63 Exceptional Paper Quality.

The blue, purple, and orange note is part of a series called “The Arias Issue,” in reference to President Arnulfo Arias’ legislation authorizing private banks to issue paper money. This issuing bank was the only one to do so, and it lasted only for a week or so, since Arias was soon overthrown, the bank was closed, and the notes were withdrawn and destroyed.

Close behind at $28,800 was the finest PMG-graded Pakistan 100-rupee note of 1948. The About Uncirculated 50 piece has no date printed on it, but was issued just after Pakistan became independent from Great Britain. It has “Government of Pakistan” in English and Urdu overprinted in the watermark area.

Finally, $26,400 was the result for a triple-signature Bahamas Government $50 bank note of 1965 in PMG Very Fine 30 EPQ that was estimated at $3,000 to $5,000. The unlisted note is from the first Bahamian series denominated in dollars rather than pound sterling, and has three signatures of officials. The colorful reverse has a harborside fruit market as its central element.

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