Note from China's first provincial bank brings £67k

Last Saturday's sale of bonds, banknotes and coins held by Spink in Hong Kong was highlighted by three banknotes each released in the late 19th to early 20th century.

Top lot in the sale was a Kwangsi Bank 1 Yuan note, a black-on-white design featuring black dragons on its left and right and the Chinese inscription: "All officials and commoners dealings etc to abide by the face value of the note..."

"No discount to be given, and this note is redeemable for silver at any of our branches." The note has been hand stamped "Kwangsi Bank" on its left.

The note originates from circa 1909, when the Qing dynasty restructured both the Imperial banks and the issuing authorities to establish the Kwangsi Bank - the earliest provincial bank in the modern history of China, which existed briefly for two years.

The Kwangsi Bank 1 Yuan note, sold for £66,908

According to Spink, at the time Kwangsi Bank issued their banknotes known to the Nan-Ning people as the "Ooi-Long note", literally meaning black dragon note.

The Ooi-Long Note was made in Japan with a print-run of 100,000 for the 1 yuan denomination and 200,000 pieces for the 5 yuan version.

Today, each are highly sought-after by collectors.

The two black dragons depicted on the note signify the prowess of the Emperor and Monarch.

The Kwangsi bank was reorganised in 1911, and the notes were subsequently recalled. To date, only three examples of the note have been discovered.

According to a press release by the Nan-Ning city council Office dated June 9, 2006, a collector chanced upon one of these rare examples of a $5 note in a Nan-Ning market place in April 1994, purchasing it at a very high price.

It was subsequently repurchased by Chinese officials.

At Spinks' auction on Saturday, the note commanded a final hammer price of £66,908 (converted from Hong Kong dollars).


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