Zanzibar collection with 'iconic' banknotes brings $287,000

Spink has held three major sales of collectible banknotes this week, offering investment-grade currency from around the world.

One of the most notable opportunities was a small but significant collection offered as a single lot.

Held in a presentation album in brown leather with gold trim and titled The Zanzibar Government-Bank Notes-1908, it comprises:

Uniface specimen 5 rupees, 1908, black and pale green with the value in pale orange at the lower centre, a dhow in the moonlight at the left with fruit pickers and ladder depicted at the right. The value also appears at each corner, and the signatures of C. Akers, Financial Member of the Council and J. Corbitt Davis, Treasurer are at the low centre.

Uniface specimen 10 rupees, 1908, red and lilac with the value in pale green at the lower centre, again a dhow appears in the moonlight at the left, while fruit pickers and ladder appear at the right. The same positions for the values and the same signatures appear.

Zanziber government twenty rupees
Fresh and deep-coloured: Zanzibar government twenty rupees note

Uniface specimen 20 rupees, 1908, green and pale orange with the value in lilac at the lower centre, otherwise an identical design to the above.

Uniface specimen 100 rupees, 1908, a rich dark blue, pale green and pink note with the value in pale brown at the lower centre, and the same design and signatures again.

This is a superb presentation album. It is slightly distressed from ageing, but the notes are fresh good/extremely fine with vibrant colours and are of the highest rarity.

The 100 rupees are of one of the banknote world's 'rarest and most iconic' types according to Spink. An important discovery and a lovely presentation album, it was fought over by bidders who left the £20,000-30,000 listing far behind to see it sell for £175,890 ($287,000).

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