14th century one kuan banknote to highlight Hong Kong sale

A 14th century one kuan banknote issued by the Hung Wu emperor is valued at $10,000-16,000 at Archives International Auctions.

The lot is offered in uncirculated condition and will lead a sale of Chinese and Asian numismatics in Hong Kong on April 12.

one kuan note China
The one kuan note was printed in 14th century China

The note is the first known example of printed currency and was designed by the Hung Wu emperor to create a unified national monetary system.

They were offered predominantly in high denominations and were not exchangeable for coin. Inflation became a problem in the 15th century, leading to public unrest.

Eventually the notes were withdrawn from circulation and destroyed. This should have been the end of the story, but during the Boxer Rebellion (1898-1900) European soldiers occupying Peking discovered a bundle of notes beneath a statue of Buddha in the Summer Palace.

The example offered in the sale was among them.

A $100 note issued by the Russo-Asiatic Bank in 1910 carries an estimate of $7,500-15,000.

The bank was established in 1895 by the Russians to represent their financial interests in China and rose to become one of the largest in the country.

In 1926, it lost a huge amount of money in the French stock exchange and was forced into liquidation.

The note is in uncirculated condition and displays strong eye appeal and bold colouring.

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