Historic U.S., worldwide banknotes, stocks, bonds go under the gavel

FORT LEE, N.J. – Archives International Auctions will offer 1,070 lots of U.S. and worldwide banknotes, scripophily (the collecting of stock and bond certificates) and security printing ephemera at auction on Tuesday, May 15, at 10 a.m. (EST), at the firm’s new offices located in Fort Lee, N.J. The auction will offer live gallery bidding as well as phone and live Internet bidding.

“We are privileged to offer another amazing collection of numismatic rarities that rarely if ever cross the auction block, including two new discovery banknotes from Peru and China being offered for the first time,” stated Dr. Robert Schwartz of Archives International Auctions. “By acquiring one or more of these rare and beautiful pieces, it’s literally possible to imagine holding history in your hands.”

Dublin banknote  1933 5-pound currency commission banknote from the National Bank, Ltd., of Dublin, Ireland (estimate $1,500-$3,000). Photo courtesy Auctions International.

The auction is packed with rare and desirable banknotes including a previously unknown 1909 Russo-Asiatic Bank (Shanghai, China) specimen banknote for 10 Mexican dollars (estimate $6,000-$10,000). This lovely banknote boasts a dramatic design with facing dragons and will be a trophy for any discerning collector. Another amazing banknote from the same issuer, a 1910 $100 Russo-Asiatic issued banknote, will also be offered along with 17 other desirable Chinese banknotes as well as over 300 different foreign banknotes and related production material lots.

Also included are dozens of U.S. obsolete banknotes, as well as a new find of obsolete proprietary proof banknotes (including many notes never seen in any form) from the American Bank Note Commemoratives (a former division of ABNC) inventory which is composed of numismatic and philatelic production material, proprietary proofs, commemorative and souvenir cards and rare Security Printing Ephemera that is rarely available to collectors and will be featured in multiple sessions in upcoming auctions.

Currency note  La Banque Royale (Mississippi and France, 1820) John Law paper currency note for 10 Livres (estimate $400-$600).

For the ultimate specialist is a large section of Security Printing Ephemera including rare vignette sheets, vignette die proofs used on banknotes and stock certificates, advertising notes and miscellaneous ephemera rarely seen in auction or available to collectors. The scripophily section will include 412 lots of stocks and bonds (banking, mining, railroad, foreign, etc.), and include items for every level of collector.

Five lots could bring between $5,000 and $15,000 each. They include an 1855 Chinese, Year Five, Board of Revenue 3-Taels, issued banknote, very popular and scarce, graded very fine (estimate $5,000-$8,000); an 1874 unlisted, issued, cancelled Peruvian discovery note, 10 Soles / Series B (estimate $3,000-$6,000); and an 1886 issue proof for a Banco Nacional de Paraguay 200-peso banknote (estimate $2,500-$5,000).

Other international banknotes include a circa 1870-1880 specimen color trial Mexican banknote for 100 pesos, rare and choice uncirculated (estimate $2,000-$4,000); an 1882 Brazil issue color trial essay proof banknote, rare and graded choice uncirculated (estimate $1,500-$3,000); and an 1862 Colonial Bank of Natal (South Africa) 5-pound issued banknote (estimate $1,750-$3,000).

Peruvian banknote  Unlisted, issued and canceled 1874 discovery note from Lima, Peru, black on brown underprint (estimate $3,000-$6,000).

From the U.S. comes an uncut sheet of four notes from the Mercantile Bank of Waterloo. Ill., originally printed circa 1850s-‘60s but these are circ 1960s-‘70s (estimate $2,500-$4,000); a rare New England Bank Note Company advertising vignette proof sheet from the 1830s (estimate $1,500-$3,000); and an 1887 Central of New Jersey Railroad Co. specimen bond (estimate $1,250-$2,500).

Florida banknote proof  Bank of Florida uncut proof sheet of four 1843-44 proprietary banknotes, later printed in the 1960s or ’70s (estimate $1,000-$2,000).

Also from the States is a circa 1960s-‘70s archival reprint of a Miners Bank of Savings of Alta (Calif.) proprietary proof from the 1840s-‘50s, “payable in gold dust” (estimate $1,500-$2,500); an amazing content magnetic telegraph letter dated Sept. 17, 1861 and addressed to M.S. Latham, the former governor of California, discussing protecting mail routes from Indian attacks and Confederate advances out West (estimate $1,250-$2,500); and an 1853 Shawmut Mining Company (Michigan) stock certificate, 110 shares (estimate $1,250-$2,500).

The U.K. will be represented by a 1933 National Bank, Ltd. (Dublin) “Ploughman” 5-pound currency commission issued banknote, about uncirculated (estimate $1,500-$3,000); and a South Sea Company (Britain) power of attorney for selling and trading stock, dated 1724 (estimate $1,000-$2,000). Also from Europe is a 1922 National Bank of Greece essay color trial specimen (estimate $1,000-$2,000).

A Bank of Florida proprietary uncut obsolete proof sheet of four banknotes from 1843-44, but reprinted circa 1960’s-‘70s, should make $1,000-$2,000; a Washington Mining Co. (Carson City, Nevada Territory) issued stock certificate for 7 1/2 shares, dated 1853, should fetch $1,250-$1,750; and a historic 1901 U.S. Steel Corp. IPO financing (of Andrew Carnegie fame) $1,000 50-year, 5 percent specimen bond should hit $750 to $1,500.

Rounding out just some of the day’s expected top lots are a 1992 Reserve Bank of New Zealand $20 specimen banknote, showing Queen Elizabeth (estimate $1,250-$2,500); a Bank of Polski (Poland) 5,000-Zlotych specimen only banknote issue from 1919 (estimate $1,250-$2,500); and an 1861 State of Virginia Ordinance of Secession dated May 23, 1861 (estimate $400-$800).

Previews are scheduled for Thursday, May 10 until the day of the sale, from 9-5, except Saturday, 10-3; no viewing on Sunday and viewing Monday from 9-7 or by appointment. To pre-register for live Internet bidding, visit the Archives International website here.

Phone and absentee bids will also be accepted. Catalogs are available at a cost of $25 for U.S. and $30 outside the U.S. for new bidders, call 201-944-4800 or e-mail info[at]archivesinternational.com.

Archives International Auctions is located at 1580 Lemoine Ave. (Ste. #7) in Fort Lee, N.J., right across the George Washington Bridge from New York City.

Nevada territory stock certificate  Washington Mining Company 1863 Nevada territory issued stock certificate for 7 1/2 shares (estimate $1,250-$1,750).

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This article originally appeared in Antique Trader magazine

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