Heritage Auctions

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Heritage March 2023 World Paper Money Signature Auction

A rare banknote from an African nation that produces some of the most famous and desirable in the world will be the highest-graded note from the country ever offered at auction when it crosses the block in Heritage Auctions’ World Paper Money Signature® Auction March 23, 2023.

Lot 24545: Zanzibar. Zanzibar Government 1 Rupee 1.9.1920 Pick 1. PMG Extremely Fine 40. Iconic 1920 Issue in Extremely Fine Grade. Estimate: $40,000 – up.

The Zanzibar Government 1 Rupee 1.9.1920 Pick 1 PMG Extremely Fine 40 (estimate: $40,000+) is the smallest denomination from the series, but its importance and desirability among collectors is considerable.

“This is a magnificent note,” Heritage Auctions Vice President of Currency Dustin Johnston said. “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.”

Lot 24274: German East Africa. Deutsch-Ostafrikanische Bank 500 Rupien 2.9.1912 Pick 5. PMG Extremely Fine 40. Scarce High Grade 500 Rupien. Estimate: $15,000 – up.

The auction includes numerous notes from African nations, including a scarce, high-grade German East Africa Deutsch-Ostafrikanische Bank 500 Rupien 2.9.1912 Pick 5 PMG Extremely Fine 40 (estimate: $15,000+). The highest denomination issued for German East Africa, it features a portrait of Kaiser Wilhelm II. All notes were designed and printed by Giesecke & Devrient, but the 500 Rupien note has the distinction of having a different portrait and layout. This note was issued for just a few years before Emergency issues were printed during World War I and the colony was subsequently ceded after Germany’s defeat in the war.

Lot 24473: Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency 50 Riyals 1961 / AH1379 Pick 9a. PMG Gem Uncirculated 66 EPQ. Single Finest Graded 50 Riyals of 1961. Estimate: $6,000 – up.

A Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency 50 Riyals 1961 / AH1379 Pick 9a PMG Gem Uncirculated 66 EPQ (estimate: $6,000+) is the finest-graded example in the PNG Population Report of the highly desirable 1961 series of notes issued by the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency – a series in which this 50 Riyals is a key denomination.

A Serial Number 7 Canada Bank of Canada $20 1935 BC-10 French Text PMG Choice Uncirculated 64 EPQ (estimate: $25,000) is among a trove of nearly 60 lots from the Great White North, one of the best selection of Canadian banknotes ever brought to auction. This magnificent note, from the Harry M. Eisenhauer Collection, is an original and Uncirculated example of one of Canada’s most famous banknotes, and the very first to feature a portrait of the eventual Queen, Elizabeth II.

Lot 24127: Canada. Province of Canada, Montreal 5 Dollars 1.10.1866 PC-4a. PMG Choice Fine 15. Rare 1866 Issued $5. Estimate: $25,000 – up.

Carrying the same $25,000+ pre-auction estimate is another beautiful Canadia note, a Canada Province of Canada, Montreal 5 Dollars 1.10.1866 PC-4a PMG Choice Fine 15 (estimate: $25,000+). This is just the second time, and the first since 2006, that this note has been offered at Heritage Auctions. An exceptional early issue payable to Montreal, it boasts the signature of the Deputy Receiver General: T.D. Harington. This rare example features a portrait of Queen Victoria on the left and a vignette of a sailboat on the right, with an amazing centralized vignette of the coat of arms flanked by a seated allegory and a lion in between. These notes were redeemable at the Receiver General’s office in the city of Montreal.

Other top lots in the auction include, but are not limited to:

  • A Napoleonic Era Rijksdaalder Set Rarity in Superb Condition (estimate: $80,000+)
  • A Netherlands Bank 1000 Gulden 5.4.1909 Pick 27s Specimen PMG About Uncirculated 55 (estimate: $60,000+)
  • A Trinidad & Tobago Canadian Bank of Commerce 100 Dollars 1.3.1921 Pick S113 PMG Very Fine 20 (estimate: $25,000+)
  • An Italian Somaliland Cassa Per La Circolazione Monetaria Della Somalia 100 Somali 1950 Pick 15a PMG Superb Gem Unc 67 EPQ (estimate: $15,000+)
  • A Kingdom Of Hawaii, Department of Finance 500 Dollars ND (1879) Pick 5pp1 Front Proprietary Proof PMG Gem Uncirculated 66 EPQ (estimate: $15,000+)
  • A Saint Thomas and Prince Banco Nacional Ultramarino 20,000 Reis 2.1.1897 Pick 6 PMG Choice About Unc 58 EPQ (estimate: $15,000+)
  • An Iconic First Series Bahamas $100 in Issued Format (estimate: $10,000+)

“Our March World Banknote Signature Auction kicks off an incredible series of Spring auctions for Heritage,” Johnston said. “This auction features an astonishing selection of Carribbean notes, coupled with a special Tuesday Select Auction with hundreds more Carribbean grade rarities. We will offer the penultimate collection of peninsular and island countries in May from the Ibrahim Salem Collection. It will be the finest featuring of Caribbean rarities in more than two decades, or maybe ever.”


Images and information about all lots in the auction can be found in the online catalog.

For further information, visit the Heritage Auctions website.