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Vintage Panamanian banknotes may command $12K

Two Panamanian banknotes may command upward of $8,000 each during Skinner Auctioneers' Feb. 16 online Coins & Currency auction.

Skinner Auctioneers is presenting a more than 500 lots of coins, banknotes, and certificates during it's February Coins & Currency online auction. The sale opens Feb. 8 and closes Feb. 16.

Many of these coins and notes are fresh to the market, kept off the market as family heirlooms. It's the first time, ever, many of these lots are coming to auction.

Historic Banknotes On Bidders' Radar

20 Balboa

Uncommon Panamanian 20 Balboa "Arias" issue, circa 1941. Only twice in the past decade has a 20 Balboa been presented at auction. It heads into the auction will an estimate of $8,000 to $10,000. (All photos courtesy of Skinner Auctioneers)

Highlights from the auction include rare Panamanian banknotes, surviving elements of a coup. Also among the highlights is a high-grade 1896 $2 silver certificate “educational” note. In addition, a highly sought after 50 yuan Chinese coins in original packaging will also come before bidders.

Two especially rare finds among the currency offerings are Panamanian banknotes from 1941. The selections include a 20 Balboa and 10 Balboa. The former Panamanian president, Arnulfo Arias, printed these notes as Panama's first paper currency. Once deposed in a coup seven days after printing, all paper currency was incinerated to mark the end of Arias’ presidency. Although certain denominations of this currency occasionally come up for auction, the 20 and ten bills are extremely rare, and it was only by luck that these bills survived. A family with roots in Panama dating from the construction of the Panama canal through Arias’ presidency is consigning the notes. The notes, a 20 Balboa and 10 Balboa are carrying estimate of $8,000 to $10,000 and $6,000 to $8,000, into the auction.

'Offensive' Silver Certificate Up for Bid

Also on offer is a $2 silver certificate “educational” note dating from 1896. It is part of a short-lived series of silver certificates prized for their design. Produced as $1, $2, and $5 bills, these are incredibly hard to find in high grades. Unfortunately, the bare-breasted representation of “Electricity” on the $5 denomination offended women in Boston’s high society, and the note discontinued. On this $2 bill, one side features the words “Science presenting steam and electricity to Commerce and Manufacture,” with Robert Fulton and Samuel Morse featured on the reverse. This note is a real gem, in perfect, uncirculated condition, with a low serial number.

The sale also features twenty-five highly collectible 50 yuan Chinese gold coins in their original mint packaging, dating from 1997. Furthermore, this exceptional find comes in sheets of five, with an estimate of $8,000 to $12,000.

For more information, visit, or for bidding.

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