Specimen banknote fetches 10 times estimate

The top lot in Spink's recent hugely successful banknote sale was an Iraqi note featuring King Ghazi which sold for £26,000, not including buyer's premium.

However, perhaps an even more remarkable block of sales occurred when four Palestinian banknotes made their appearance late in the sale.

Some bidders had obviously been waiting for them and the first, a green 1929 £1 Palestine Currency Board banknote depicting Jerusalem's Dome on the Rock easily doubled its highest estimate of £7,000, selling for £17,000.

It is an extremely fine, fresh, specimen note with zero serial numbers and 'cancelled' printed across it in perforations - naturally desirable to a collector.

Palestinian 1929 £5 banknote
Palestinian 1929 £5 specimen banknote

The next lot was a comparable red-orange specimen note (with pale green inside the framing colour) for £5 with an image of the White Tower at Ramleh. Again displaying zero serial numbers, the almost extremely fine, attractive note sold for £21,000 - triple its £6,000-8,000 expected price.

But the real surprises of the section were two later notes with the date 26 March 1943 - one for 50 mils and one for 100 mils (both marked "these notes are legal tender for the payment of any amount up to two Palestinian pounds"), the former red and lilac, the latter violet. Both were estimated at £2,000-3,000.

The 50 mils note, which has some pin-like perforations but is rated almost uncirculated really excited bidders, who quickly buffeted the price all the way up to £24,000 before the winner's final competitor conceded.

Palestinian 1943 50mils banknote

The 100 mils note has two larger perforations, as if from a hole punch, but still bidders pressed it all the way up to £20,000.

The auction shows an increasing interest in notaphily and perhaps, given the performance of the Iraqi notes as well, this was particularly coming from the Middle East, with the eight notes between them worth over 20% of the 645 lot sale.


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