Note from Zanzibar highlights Heritage March 23 auction

March 20, 2023 3 min read

Note from Zanzibar highlights Heritage March 23 auction

By Arthur L. Friedberg , Special to Coin World, Published: Mar 20, 2023, 8 AM

Whenever a bank note from Zanzibar is put up for auction, it is a given that it will be the highlight of the sale no matter what else is also offered.

Such will be the case again on March 23 when Heritage Auctions’ World Paper Money Signature Auction at its Dallas office offers the highest-graded note from the country ever publicly offered in such a venue.

The Zanzibar Government 1-rupee note bearing the date as 1.9.1920 is graded Extremely Fine 40 by Paper Money Guaranty and has an estimate of $40,000 or more. It is the smallest denomination and last one issued in the series that also includes 5-, 10-, 20- and 100-rupee notes issued in 1908 and 50- and 500-rupee notes from 1916. All Zanzibarian notes were withdrawn in 1936 when the Zanzibar rupee was abolished and replaced by the East African shilling.

Heritage Auctions vice president Dustin Johnston called it “a magnificent note.” Describing its appeal, he added, “Issued in 1920, it features only one date, while all other denominations were issued first in either 1908 or 1916. In addition, it was printed by Thomas de la Rue, while all other denominations were printed by Waterlow & Sons, meaning it is possible that this smallest denomination was created in reaction to a shortage of coinage, when the price of silver rose dramatically during World War I and coins were hoarded around the world.”

Also from Africa is a scarce, high-grade German East Africa Deutsch-Ostafrikanische Bank 500-rupien note with a portrait of Kaiser Wilhelm II bearing the date 2.9.1912 in PMG Extremely Fine 40 (estimate: $15,000+). It is the highest denomination issued for the colony. All notes were designed and printed by Giesecke & Devrient, but the 500-rupien note has a different portrait and layout than the lower denomination issues. It was issued for just a few years before emergency issues were printed during World War I. The colony was ceded to Britain, Belgium and Portugal after Germany’s defeat.

The auction offers a pair of popular Canadian notes.

One is a serial number 7 Bank of Canada $20 note from 1935 with French text  in PMG Choice Uncirculated 64 Exceptional Paper Quality. Heritage calls this one of Canada’s most famous bank notes, and it was the first to feature a portrait of the future Queen Elizabeth II.

The other top note is a Province of Canada (Montreal) $5 note with the date 1.10.1866 in PMG Choice Fine 15. It has a portrait of Queen Victoria on the left and a vignette of a sailboat on the right, with a centralized vignette of the coat of arms flanked by a seated allegory and a lion in between.

Two Dutch lots have the highest pre-sale estimates.

The first, from the Netherlands East Indies during the Napoleonic Wars, is a complete denomination set of rarely seen 1810-dated large format 100-, 200-, 300-, 400- , 500-, and 1,000-rijksdaalder notes. They are in grades ranging from Very Fine to Extremely Fine and estimated at $80,000 for the set. The text is printed in Dutch and Javanese. Heritage says that fewer than 2,000 pieces were reported issued for each denomination, and that they were actively redeemed in stages within a few years of issue.

The other, at $60,000, is a Netherlands Bank 1,000-gulden specimen note dated April 5, 1909, in PMG About Uncirculated 55 but previously mounted. There are no sales records for this note in 20 years in either issued or nonissued form. The cataloger speculates that this note began life as an issued bank note, based on its serial number and signatures. Perforated cancellations were added after the fact.

The original article and others like it can be found at Note from Zanzibar highlights Heritage March 23 auction ( online.