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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Rare Chinese banknote is exchangeable for up to $28,000

Featuring an overprint from the Russo-Asiatic bank, it will star in the currency section in a Hong Kong sale

Baldwin's upcoming numismatic sale in Hong Kong has on offer a stunning range of fine and rare collectible pieces, headed in the coins section by a virtually unheard-of Chinese Silver Pattern Dollar listed at up to US$200,000 and in the medals section by two versions of the Order of the Double Dragon for up to US$90,000.

The auction also contains a number of excellent banknotes, however, which may not be able to match that but are still well worth consideration to investors and collectors of currency other than coins.

Covetable pieces are on offer from Japan, India, Russia, Malaysia and elsewhere. Three of the best pieces are:

A Specimen/Essay Sri Landan 10-Rupees, Colombo, 1 July 1938 banknote. The mostly red note, with serial number 000 000000 standing out in black depicts George VI full-facing has the slightly 'signatures' of A Signature and S Ignature.

Uncirculated and extremely rare, it is estimated at US$6,000-8,000. Listed just above it is a spectacular South Viet Nam National Bank of Viet Nam Specimen 1000-Dong note.

Vietnamese Banknote
Vietnamese Banknote (Click to enlarge)

With spectacularly clear colouring, the uncirculated note depicts an old man at the left in the foreground and a temple on the right in the background. It features a black "GIAY MAU" overprint and is expected to bring US$7,000-9,000.

But of course the expected top lot is a Chinese note - albeit one which has passed through the Russo-Asiatic Bank.

Russo Asiatic 500 dollar note
Russo-Asiatic bank $500 note
(Click to enlarge)

The multi-coloured $500 note, serial no.A1900, is overprinted on Tientsin 500 Taels note. Uncirculated and extremely rare, it is estimated at a grand US$22,000-28,000.

With Chinese collectibles, and indeed investment-grade banknotes in general, doing well this year this section of the auction should not be overlooked in comparison with the more obvious sections. The sale takes place in Hong Kong on August 26.