Portuguese banknotes from Pestrello collection could 'float to the top' at Spink

London auction house Spink is holding another currency auction early in December - not the Ancient, English and Foreign coins auction on December 1-2, which as we've mentioned stars a 'failed' coin from the reign of Edward IV - but one using a more recent form of money.

Instead it features a collection of banknotes, the Pestrello collection to be precise, based on banknotes from the Bank of Portugal.

The three top lots include a 10 million reis note printed on 21 March 1882, serial number C 19851 using brown and pink on pale green colours, the helmeted figure of Portugal with shield of arms flanked by river gods for Tejo and Douro rivers upper centre

The reverse is red-pink, and features the bank title and value across the centre. Displaying the last date of issue, it is worn with slight tear at bottom of centre crease and a tiny hole at the centre.

Nevertheless, it rates as good fine and is of highest rarity, hence it bears an estimate of €11,000-14,000 ($17,600-22,300 - the price is catalogued in Euros despite its being a London auction).

The two expected top lots are issues of the same note: the 50 million reis note from 1889, the obverse of which is grey and black on orange-red, with standing allegorical women representing navigation and trade at the left and agriculture and industry at right.

The 11 March 1889, serial number 25353 note is the darker of the two. The other dates from 17 June 1889, and bears the serial number 34729. Of the two, the former is the more likely to beat its €14,000-16,000 (up to $26,000) estimate, and in general be a better investment if well kept.

Spink has a strong record in general, however, and has been at the forefront of the upsurge in banknote collecting in recent months and years, so the sale, which takes place on December 9.


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