Superb Russo-Chinese Bank $5 sells for a hammer price of £32,000 in Noonans Banknotes sale
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Superb Russo-Chinese Bank $5 sells for a hammer price of £32,000 in Noonans Banknotes sale
The Russo-Chinese Bank $5 of 1903 that sold for £32,000.

LONDON.- A superb Russo-Chinese Bank $5 of 1903 sold for a hammer price of £32,000 – against an estimate of £10,000-15,000 at specialist Coin, Medal, Banknote and Jewellery auctioneers Noonans (previously Dix Noonan Webb) in their sale of British, Irish and World Banknotes on Thursday & Friday, May 26 & 27, 2022 at their Mayfair saleroom (16 Bolton Street, London W1J 8BQ) [lot 732].

As Andrew Pattison, Head of Banknote Department at Noonans explains: “Bought by a European Collector, this was the finest example of this note ever to come to market and there cannot be more than a handful of them in existence. It’s a very popular area of collecting so it wasn’t surprising that it fetched such a high price.”

Other World notes that attracted strong interest included a remarkable and possibly unique French Indochina 100 Piastres note of 1899 that realised £10,000 against an estimate of £6,000-8,000. The only other known examples of this note are specimens or notes officially cancelled by the bank, however despite a missing corner and being made of brittle paper, it was bought by an American Collector [lot 753].

A 5 Riyal note from the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency dating from 1961 sold for £8,500 against an estimate or £2,800-3,400 to a collector of specifically Saudi Arabian notes. This note was issued with two different signature varieties, of which this example is by far the scarcest. It was also in spectacular grade, which is something collectors of Saudi Arabia care passionately about [lot 1041].

While from China; a very fine, scarce and large 3 Taels note from 1854 from the Ch’ing Dynasty sold for £7,500 to a Chinese Collector against an estimate of £2,000-2,600 [lot 730] and also selling for £7,500 was 1000 Dirhams note from the United Arab Emirates Currency Board dating from 1973. Considered as a key note for the entire UAE banknote series, it very seldom appears in such attractive condition. It was no surprise that it sold to a collector of Middle Eastern notes in America for over its estimated value of £5,000-7,000 [lot 1166].

From the Laurence Pope Collection was two notes from Portuguese India, which each fetched £4,600. The first was obverse and reverse archival photographs showing the original design for 5 Rupias from 1905, with the serial number 00000. Expected to fetch £300-400, it attracted enormous interest and sold to a collector of world banknotes [lot 606]. The second from the Banco Nacional Ultramarino was an uncirculated printers’ archival specimen 5 Rupias note dating from 1 January 1906 had been estimated at £2,000-2,600 and again sold to a collector of World banknotes [lot 605]

As Mr Pattison commented: “Portuguese India is a hugely popular collecting field and these are both incredibly rare items. The first is actually a unique photographic record of the original design for the second note and will likely not appear on the market again for a generation, if at all. This accounts for the enormous interest and high price realised.”

Among the Irish notes was an unusual National Bank of Ireland £3 note of 1913 which sold for £16,000 to a Collector of British and Irish notes. As Andrew Pattison explains: “There are only around four of these notes known to have survived, and this is one of the finest. Described as a magical denomination, this is actually the last possible date of issue” [lot 334].

Another Irish note that sold well was a very rare Bank of Ireland, colour trial £100, dating from the fictitious date of 5 September 1978 that sold for £10,000 to an European Collector. Following the sale, Pattison commented: “This is a classic design in a colour different from that which was issued. Ploughman notes have been undergoing something of a renaissance at Noonans in the past few years and this is the first of these we have seen for much longer than that” [lot 269].

From Part three of the Gus Mac Amhlaigh Collection was an extremely rare and very early Bank of Ireland £1 note dating from 3 March 1840. Despite being almost 200 years old, it was in wonderful condition and sold for £8,000 to a US-based collector [lot 184].

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