In our upcoming August 2020 Auction, lot 30360 features a
very rare Zanzibar 10 Rupees dated 1916, which in our opinion is the rarest
date for the denomination.
Tiny Zanzibar is a semi-autonomous archipelago off the coast of
Tanzania that has been home to humans for over 20,000 years. It was under
control of the Portuguese Empire during the exploration age, then the Sultanate
of Oman, later the British Empire, then ruled as a constitutional monarchy
under Sultan Jamshid bin Abdullah before the Zanzibar Revolution. It currently
governs itself through the Revolutionary Council and House of Representatives.
You do not need to know the entire history of Zanzibar to know how
rare and special banknotes from the region are. The country was a trading point
between the surrounding continents for many imports and exports ranging from
spices to slave trafficking. Zanzibar did not print its own money until 1908,
and the denominations released were 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 Rupees. Of the notes
printed from 1908 to 1928, only around 500 are known to have survived. Nearly 100
years later, we are fortunate to offer a very rare, 1916 10 Rupees
The majority of known and previously offered notes have featured
dates of 1908 or 1928, both of which, when compared to 1916, are common. This
date is certainly missing from most of the few Zanzibar collections that exist.
While we have encountered a few 1928 notes, and an equal number of 1908
examples, we know of only one other 1916.
The note offered in our August 2020 auction has certainly seen
some use with “Foreign Substance, Rust, Writing in Pencil” noted on the PCGS
holder. However, bright inks are seen through the holder and all pertinent
detail required to please a collector remains. We believe this is the nicest
1916 date known, but due to the absence of data regarding the date-varieties,
we cannot be certain.