Oriental Bank Corporation banknote to top Hong Kong auction at $120,000

An Oriental Bank Corporation $5 banknote, one of the earliest issued in Hong Kong, will star among Asian rarities in an August 23 sale.

Oriental Bank Corporation $5 Hong Kong banknote
An extremely rare example of one of the earliest Hong Kong banknotes

The Hong Kong auction will feature an array of coins, banknotes and medals from across Asia, with the $5 banknote leading bids at $100,000-120,000.

In the 1860s, the Oriental Bank Corporation became the first bank to begin issuing banknotes in Hong Kong, with denominations rising all the way up to $500. These first notes were not accepted by the treasury for payment of government due or taxes, although they were accepted by merchants, and the corporation was soon joined by modern giants HSBC and the Chartered Bank of China, Australia and India.

The $5 at auction was issued in 1879 and reads "Incorporated by royal charter" across the top edge, indicating the endorsement of the British monarchy. The extremely rare banknote remains in very good condition considering its age, with just a few small tears and spots of discolouration.

A highlight among the coins on offer will be a Qing Dynasty brass money tree issued by China's Board of Revenue. A fantastic and unusual addition to any Chinese collection, the coin tree originates from an old method of casting, where the coin impressions were connected by channels so that the molten metal could be poured into one opening. It is expected to bring $12,000-15,000.

Paul Fraser Collectibles is passionate about numismatics, bringing you the latest news from auction houses across the globe, as well as stocking a superb selection of investment-grade rarities. This William IV proof crown from 1831 is a previously unrecorded variety in extremely fine condition - a must-have item for British collectors.

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