Queen Elizabeth II, featured on banknotes from around the globe, celebrated in Heritage auction

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Queen Elizabeth II, featured on banknotes from around the globe, celebrated in Heritage auction
First Banknote with Elizabeth II Portrait. Estimate: $50,000 - up.

DALLAS, TX.- Leaders whose portraits are selected to appear on currency are chosen for a number of reasons, among them their status as beloved leaders, military prowess and royal heritage.

No monarch has appeared on more currency around the globe than Elizabeth II, the late Queen of the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth realms from 1952 until she died last year. Her reign of more than 70 years is the longest of any woman and the second-longest of any monarch ever. Nobody’s image has appeared on more coins and currency around the globe.

In an event befitting someone with her political, cultural — and yes, numismatic — reach, Heritage Auctions will offer one of the finest troves of currency featuring a single monarch ever assembled in its Queen Elizabeth II Collection World Paper Money Signature ® Auction December 8-10.

“The collection offered in this auction is a magnificent assemblage of absolutely beautiful and rare banknotes, many of which carry exceptionally high grades,” says Dustin Johnston, Vice President of Numismatics at Heritage Auctions. “The breadth and quality of the single-owner collection is just extraordinary, and reflects the years and meticulous attention the consignor invested while assembling it. Queen Elizabeth is an iconic figure for many numismatic collectors, and this collection offers something of a tapestry that details her impact, not only in the United Kingdom but also around the world.”

One of the most iconic of all Commonwealth notes featuring a portrait of Queen Elizabeth is the Serial Number 8 Rhodesia and Nyasaland Bank of Rhodesia and Nyasaland 10 Pounds 3.4.1956 Pick 23a PMG About Uncirculated 55 EPQ, which was issued for roughly 10 years, until the independence of Malawi and Zambia. The magnificent example offered in this auction features serial number 8, and is tied for the second-highest grade in the PMG Population Report. Banknotes from Rhodesia and Nyasaland with desirable serial numbers are exceedingly rare, and rarely seen with EPQ status.

Among the top offerings in the auction is the first note with a portrait of Elizabeth II, the Serial Number 7 Canada Bank of Canada $20 1935 BC-10 French Text PMG Choice Uncirculated 64 EPQ. It comes from Canada’s 1935 series of banknotes from the Bank of Canada that featured various members of the British Royal Family. Then-Princess Elizabeth’s grandfather died in 1936, the same year in which her uncle abdicated the throne, paving the way for her father, King George VI, whose death in in 1952 launched her 70-year reign as Queen. This magnificent note boasts a coveted single-digit serial number of 7 — which also is Elizabeth’s age in the portrait.

Riding the wave of popularity and demand for banknotes with ultra-high denominations is a Malaya and British Borneo Board of Commissioners of Currency 10,000 Dollars 21.3.1953 Pick 7s KNB7S Specimen PMG About Uncirculated 55, which represents the highest denomination issued by the Board of Commissioners. It never was issued to the public; instead, it was used between banks to settle accounts. The note’s solid zero serial numbers and a perforated cancellation indicate its Specimen status. This is just the third example of this rarity ever offered at Heritage, the world’s leading auctioneer of world paper money.

The first and only example of a Southern Rhodesia Southern Rhodesia Currency Board 10 Pounds 10.3.1954 Pick 15b PMG Choice Very Fine 35 in issued form to be graded in the PMG Population Report is a high-denomination rarity. Until the mid-1950s, Southern Rhodesia coins and notes were used in what is now Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi; the 10 Pound denomination was first issued in 1953, and is seen with three signature varieties and two dates: one in 1953 and one in 1954, like the example offered in this auction.

The Malaya and British Borneo Board of Commissioners of Currency 1000 Dollars 21.3.1953 Pick 6a KNB6a PMG Very Fine 30 is a stunning example of the highest denomination of the 1953 series — the only series of Malaya and British Borneo notes to feature Queen Elizabeth II. One of the highest-denomination notes circulating at the time it was issued, its high face value limited its reach to only wealthy individuals or businesses conducting large-scale transactions.

A Canada Bank of Canada $1000 1954 BC-36 “Devil’s Face” PMG Choice Uncirculated 64 EPQ that is the single finest example graded in the PMG Population Report. All denominations of the third series of notes issued by the Bank of Canada after King George VI died after controversy arose due to the shading and highlighting in the hair of Queen Elizabeth’s portrait — it was said that the engraving appeared to some as the outline of a “Devil’s Face.” Production halted, the design was redrawn, and new notes with the slightly altered hair shading began entering circulation in 1956. The $1000 denomination had the smallest print total, and just 30,000 pieces featuring the signatures of Coyne and Towers and the “Devil’s Face” hairdo were printed.

An extremely rare Bahamas Central Bank 100 Dollars 1974 Pick 41a PMG Gem Uncirculated 65 EPQ bears the signature of Timothy Baswell Donaldson, the first Governor of the Central Bank of The Bahamas, which assumed responsibility from the Bahamas Monetary Authority when it opened in 1974. From the first series of notes issued by the Central Bank, this note — just the third ever offered through Heritage — is one of just seven examples of the highest denomination note graded by PMG, of which only three grade Uncirculated.

A gorgeous Zambia Bank of Zambia 1 Pound ND (1963) Pick A1 Unissued Proof Crisp Uncirculated features a design not adopted when the Bank of Zambia issued its first banknotes, and therefore is available only in Proof format. Printed by British printed Harrison and Sons, this note is the only Queen Elizabeth II portrait note created specifically for Zambia.

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