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Lot 24630 From The April Hong Kong Auction Realizes $29,875

A notable lot in the recent April 2012 Hong Kong Stacks Bowers and Ponterio sale was a piece which myself and colleagues had yet to handle — a deeply inked vertical format note produced during the same year as the Chinese revolution. The note circulated within the Guandong and Fujian Provinces during the Chinese calendar year 4609. The deep red printed banknote is unattributed in both Smith and Matravers and the Standard Catalog of World Paper Money. Viewing the face shows a dual-pillar design with floral arrangements at upper left and right and an olive green under-print at center. With heavy, yet even circulation, the note still retained bright color and pleasurable detail. The verso design is viewed in a horizontal format with robust red inks seen again. A circular frame at center houses a pleasing vignette of a townscape with a scroll border pattern surrounding.

The note came to us amongst several other Chinese banknotes which are without attribution in many catalogs as well. This particular piece caught my eye and seemed to be something quite special. The note fell as lot 24630 within session five of the paper money catalog that concluded the three catalog event. Immediate notice of the item during lot viewing led to it became increasingly a hot topic among sophisticated collectors. Many remarks about high rarity were made and the buzz about the note seemed to grow exponentially prior to the auction. The lot opened for bidding at 8:33 PM HKT April fourth for $700 against a $300 to $500 estimate. The packed auction room of roughly 80 attendees quickly engaged in bidding bringing the note soaring past $10,000. Bidding continued for two minutes with a floor bidder ultimately claiming the prize note for a final price of $29,875 which includes the 19.5% buyer’s premium charged on all sold lots. This remarkable sum proves how eager advanced collectors of Chinese paper money are for truly rare material.

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