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10-Taels Peking 1898 note fetches $17,700

More than 1,900 lots changed hands during Archives International's two December worldwide banknotes, coins, scripophily auctions.

FORT LEE, N.J. - A 1942 Farmers Bank of China banknote trio hammered for $20,060 and an 1898 Imperial Bank of China 10-Taels Peking issue note brought $17,700 at a two-day, three-session sale

trio of private issue notes

This trio of Farmers Bank of China, 1942 private issue banknotes topped all lots during the Archives International auctions, realizing $20,060. (All photos courtesy Archives International)

held December 11th and 14th by Archives International Auctions at the firm's offices in Fort Lee, New Jersey. Over 1,900 lots were sold and dozens new records were set.

The auction featured U.S., Chinese, Russian and worldwide banknotes, coins, scripophily (the collecting of stocks and bonds), and security printing ephemera. The first two sessions included Part 2 of the Alexander I. Pogrebetsky family archives of rare Chinese and Russian banknotes (Part 1 was sold at a prior sale in Hong Kong, also held by Archives International Auctions), plus items from the recently discovered Shanghai Banker's Collection that had remained untouched since brought to this country by a missionary in 1948.

“The spectacular results of Part 2 of the Alexander I. Pogrebetsky collection, plus the Shanghai Banker’s Collection, far exceeded our expectations and gave a glimpse into the Chinese and Russian banknote collecting market, which evidently could not be stronger,” said Dr. Robert Schwartz, the president of Archives International Auctions. “New record prices were the norm for the day.”

Dr. Schwartz added, “There was non-stop bidding in the China and Russian sessions, with over 90 percent selling to live gallery, phone and internet bidders. We are anticipating our third and final offering from the Pogrebetsky collection sometime in mid-to-late winter of 2016, also at our Fort Lee offices. We're confident the sale will generate a tremendous amount of excitement.”

Session I, held on December 11th, included U.S. and worldwide banknotes, scripophily, coins and security printing ephemera, with 58 percent of the 901 lots up for bid finding new owners. A few highlights included two different Government of Belize color trial specimen notes hammering for $620 and $561, respectively; and a 1905 Danish West Indies $5 banknote selling for $1,121.

Harbin branch issue

Bank of China, 1918 Shanghai Harbin branch rare 5 dollar issue, commands $4,425.

A 1720 “John Law” Banque Royal French note brought for $679; an 1886 Paraguay, 200 Pesos Fuertes, Banco Nacional Del Paraguay proof banknote rarity realized $1,652; a Spanish 1871, El Banco De Espana essay proof banknote hit $1,416; and a UAE Central Bank (1983 no date) high grade example made $1,062.

Russia was extremely popular in Session 1, with 110 out of 139 lots offered selling (for a sell-through rate of 79 percent). Highlights included a collection of East Siberia notes that went for $1,062; a pair of 1922 Gold Kopek banknote issue rarities that were never issued, with the two hammering for $5,900 and $6,490; and a Zazunov Coffee Shop private issue that realized $443.

Scripophily results included an 1879, California, Bodie Bluff Consolidated Gold Mining Company certificate ($531); and a Rio Grande Bridge & Tramway Co., 1890 Texas Railroad related certificate ($472). U.S. banknote highlights included an 1882 Brown Back $20, Winona, Minnesota National Banknote ($1,534); and an inverted back error 1934A, $10 Fr.#2006-G note ($944).

Session 2, which included the Alexander I. Pogrebetsky reference collection of Russian and Chinese banknotes, plus the discovery Shanghai Banker’s Collection, featured so many record breaking prices they are too numerous to list. Literally every note achieved a new record price. The 386-lot sale was expected to last three hours and ended up taking over seven hours to finish.

Scripophily highlights included a Shanghai Power Company, $5,000, 1934 issued uncancelled bond ($3,540) with 100% of the 35 scripophily lots offered selling. Chinese banknotes followed, with numerous highlights including 5 different Imperial Issue Ch’ing 2000 or 5000 Cash banknotes selling for between $856 and $2,124; a rare China & South Sea Bank, 1921, 50 Yuan note, unpriced in the SCWPM, fetched $1,357. A 1-Tael, Commercial Bank of China specimen topped out at $2,006; a Bank of China, 1918 “Shanghai/Harbin” Branch issue rarity coasted to $4,425; four different Bank of China, ND (1930-40’s) specimen cash money orders hammered for between $1,711 and $2,124 (each with a $200-$400 estimate); and a Central Bank of China, 1945 unlisted uniface specimen hit $4,130. A $1, Bank of Territorial Development, 1915 “Urga” issue, estimated at $1,000-$2,000, sold for $7,670, three related issues sold for between $3,186 and $5,900, all record prices for the issue and a discovery Bank of Territorial Development, ND (1916) “Anhwei” branch issue, previously unlisted in the SCWPM, rose to $2,478.

Foreign and Provincial banknotes offered very impressive results with a specimen Chinese-American Bank of Commerce, $10, Shanghai issue hammering for $4,720. A high grade Sin Chun Bank of China $1 note climbed to $3,540; a Yoo Soo Imperial Bank, 1908 private issue, 1 silver dollar issue reached $1,416; a pair of 1945 Bank of Kiang Nau, hammered for $4,130; a 1944 Kiang Kwai Bank realized $2,360; a Kwang Tung Sat Yip Bank, Swatow private issue with a locomotive on the front ($4,720) and four different Bank of China 1942 Tunxi issues garnered $10,620. The 1942 Farmers Bank of China trio, however, was the undisputed star of the session hammering for $20,060.

Harbin scrip note

Harbin scrip note pair, Harbin Cyclodrome Sportsmen's Society, circa 1918-1920 ($12,980).

Russian and Chinese cross-over private issues from Harbin, China were represented by a number of extremely rare issues with highlights including a “Hippodrome – Bar” 1919 Private Scrip Note ($4,720); a 1918-20 Harbin sports-related scrip note pair that ran away with a record breaking ($12,980) and a pair of ca.1918-20, Harbin Sportsman Society Club issues for $2,006 hammer price. Space constraints here prevent the reporting of countless additional highlights.

Archives International Auctions is constantly seeking U.S. and worldwide banknotes, coins, stocks, bonds, stamps, postal history, autographs and historic ephemera and documents for future auctions, or to buy outright. To sell or consign one piece or an entire collection, you may call AIA at (201) 944-4800; or you can send them an e-mail to

To learn more about Archives International Auctions and the upcoming auctions planned for 2016, to include Part 3 of the Alexander I. Pogrebetsky collection, plus a sale planned for mid-February (dates TBA), please log on to WWW.ARCHIVESINTERNATIONAL.COM.

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