Rare French Specimen Proofs

Stack’s Bowers Galleries
will be offering two very significant French Specimen Proofs in our World Paper
Money Session at our official auction at the ANA World’s Fair of Money. One is
known to collectors as the Colbert note and is a very rare specimen
proof, and the first we have had the opportunity to offer. The design was
created by Euvre de Lucien Jonas, and engraved by Georges Beltrand with intaglio
printing courtesy of Piel. These notes were created in World War II when France
was still under Nazi Germany occupation. It does not have a watermark. This
version 2 specimen proof was specifically designed for size fitting purposes.
The size of the issued version of this note is 105 x 175mm.

The issued notes were
printed as “reserve” notes for Banque de France, so they can declare
them legal tender at any time. Featured are Colbert at left and Mercury at
right. The margins are oversized. Interestingly, there are no annotations from
the printer, or anyone else, that would typically be found on a specimen proof,
further marking this as a special piece. We expect this note to garner a lot of
interest for its history, problem-free beauty, and scarcity. This note will be
offered as Lot #30206 in our August World ANA Live Paper Money Session.

Lot #30222 offers another
special note, this one recognized by seasoned collectors as Moliere.  It is designed by Euvre de Le Feuvre and engraved
by Miarliat et Beltrand, with intaglio printing designed by Piel. It is SPECIMEN
PROOF (ver. 2), which was specially designed for size fitting purpose. This
note was created during Charles de Gaulle’s term and he made decisions
regarding this note and later series. Usually France’s Specimen Proof notes are
the same size as the issued version. In this case the issued version was
finally issued as 500 NF on July 2nd, 1959, as its first date of issue,
officially declared as legal tender on December 2nd, 1960, with a size of 97x182mm.
There is no issued version for this 50,000 francs note. The only available
versions are: SPECIMEN PROOF (ver. 1) note, SPECIMEN PROOF (ver. 2) note,
SPECIMEN (without registration #), and a Remainder that was later used for the
also unissued 500 NF on 50,000 F Contre-Valeur series. On December 27th, 1958, President
Charles de Gaulle announced that the old French franc would be devaluated by
removing two zeroes from it. So it seemed unnecessary to issue 50,000 franc
notes. The example offered in our August sale displays Moliere at center, and
the theatre in the background. No watermark is seen and there are extra large selvage
sized borders as expected when regarding a Specimen Proof.

These notes will be
offered in the live session of our official ANA World Paper Money auction in
August to be held at the Anaheim Convention Center. We are currently accepting
consignments for our 2016-2017 auction season. If you are interested in
consigning or if you have a currency related question, please call
1-800-458-4646 or email Currency Specialist Aris Maragoudakis at
[email protected] or Director of Currency Peter Treglia
[email protected].

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