Palestine Currency Board Banknotes exchanged for $77,231 at Spink auction

Earlier this week, Spink completed another sale of rare banknotes with notaphilists of the world looking on to see how the currency markets are doing.

By Spink's standards it was always set to be a relatively low-key sale, with few lots expected to break the £2,000 mark despite the impressive number available (around 1,200). However there were three notable highlights in the sale which made its way up to a total of £618,945 (just under $1m).

Previously, Spink's surprise hits have tended to be with banknotes assigned to Palestine, and the related Middle East, and so it was here again. (There have also been some big hits for Chinese notes, including a World Record earlier this year, but these are less surprising.)

Egyptian banknote 1899 Camel Specimen
The 'Camel' Specimen Egyptian banknote of 1899

Firstly, there was a pair of National Bank of Egypt banknotes from 1899, these being a specimen note and a colour trial:

The former was a pink, pale orange and black note with two camels displayed at the centre. Serial number B/2 350000, it bears its value at the left and at each corner. The reverse is orange-brown and bears the value at the centre. 'Specimen' appears at the centre in perforations.

Listed at £4,000-6,000, it sold for £19,980.

Egyptian banknote 1899 Sphinx colour trial
A colour trial of the 1899 'Sphinx' Egyptian banknote

The latter was a pink, blue and green 50 piastres note - no serial numbers are apparent as it is a trial. The sphinx and pyramid appear at the centre, with 'specimen' appearing once more in perforations. The value appears at the low centre and each corner of the face and once on the reverse.

Despite being in uncirculated condition and extremely rare, the note was only listed at £2,000-2,500, but bidders were keen and pressed it all the way up to £19,980 once more.

Palestine Currency Board banknote collection
A selection from the Palestine Currency Board banknote collection

Finally, there was a large group of the familiar four Palestine Currency Board notes: 500 mils (with the tomb of Rachel on the left), £1 (with the Dome on the Rock in Jerusalem at the left), £5 and £10 (both with the White Tower at Ramleh at the left).

In mixed grades, but generally fine to very fine and the higher denominations very good to fine, this was described by Spink as "a superb and varied introduction to the currency of Palestine" and listed at £15,000-25,000, but nearly doubled this to bring £49,230.

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