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Wartime Paper Money a Highlight of Sale
By Kerry Rodgers

More than 800 lots of paper money were featured in Noble Numismatics first sale of 2009, conducted in downtown Sydney, Australia, from March 31 to April 2. Along with a wealth of Australian and New Zealand issues there was a wide range of other world notes, with particular interest directed to a large offering of wartime paper money and chits that formed part of the extensive John Malcolm collection of military currency. These included a range of notes from POW and internment camps in India, South Africa and the United Kingdom.

The main lots of paper came to the block on April 1. The action quickly warmed up with sale of two Indian George V 100 rupees. Both took $4,300, the first drawn on Bombay, P-10a, and the second on Calcutta, P-10d.

These were soon followed by one of the more significant offerings of New Zealand private bank issues seen for some years, 55 notes in all. Top price was paid for a Bank of Auckland first issue �1, dated July 4, 1865, P-S106. In VG it fetched $10,750. Its price was later matched by a third-issue Bank of New Zealand �10 with an obscured date, P-S193, in good F, one of only two known to still exist.

A �1 from the curious and obscure Bank of Aoteoroa, P-S101, made an unexpected and very rare appearance. It was the Pick plate note and is heavily marred by stains and/or burns. Graded Fair it went for $6,610.

New Zealand Reserve Bank specimens all sold well. Notable were three UNC sets signed by R.N. Fleming. Highest price of $14,475 was paid for a 10 shillings to �10 bearing the 108 prefix, P-158d-161d. A second set but from 10 shillings to �50 and with the 8Y prefix, P-158d-162d, made $8,685. A third, consisting of two notes each $1-$100, P-163a-168, went for $11,340. A single, 0/U prefix, �50 T.P. Hanna specimen, P-162a, in EF+ fetched $4,800 after some spirited bidding exchanges.

Cherrypickers were out in force for the Australian section of the auction, with buyers extremely focused as to those items they were prepared to pay top dollar for.

First up were three lots of extremely rare 1814-1819 New South Wales Police Fund notes. An uncut �1/10shillings pair in Fair-VG went for a tidy $6,285 on a similar estimate. These were followed by an engraved copper plate by Samuel Clayton for printing Bank of New South Wales (BNSW) 10 shillings notes circa 1819. It took $12,400.

The best price among the Australian private bank issues of $13,650 went to an issued BNSW �5 dated April 2, 1883 and drawn on Sydney in about VF. A similar �5 specimen, but drawn on Adelaide and in EF took $9,100. The Mercantile Bank of Sydney was not to be outdone with a �1 specimen of its Jan. 1, 1877 issue in good EF taking $11,580.

Among Australian Commonwealth bank notes, consecutive pairs, trios and other runs of high quality notes are proving popular. The way was led early in this section with a 10 shillings pair circa 1936 of P-19 in UNC that made $8,440 on a $5,790 estimate. These were quickly trumped by a �1 pair from 1923 that consisted of two the finest known examples of P-11b. In UNC they fetched an eye-watering $28,125.

In contrast a run of four �1 circa 1932, P-16d, in EF+ could obtain just a miserly $14,060, with a run of 10 shillings of P-25d (1952) in about UNC managing a mere $6,200 for the 10 notes. Sequential runs in the decimal series also proved trendy with a $5 trio, P-39b, in about UNC taking $12,400.

Notable among the singletons was a �5 (1918), P-5b, in about EF that realized $12,400, with a �10 (1927), P-14, in good EF taking $10,270. In the decimals one of the finest known examples of $5, P-39a, in about UNC went home for $10,750.

Star (replacement) notes are still in demand, although the cherrypicking fraternity was particularly single minded even here. A 10 shillings* (1942), P-25b, in good VF obtained $11,990 but its equivalent �1* (1942), P-26b, in superior good EF grade, managed $23,575.

The Australian specimens included one historically important set. It consisted of $1-$50, P-42d-47d, and had been presented to V.G. Wooding for forestalling a major currency note theft on Sept. 21, 1982. It was accompanied by a presentation card signed by Johnston, governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia at the time, and one of the signatories of the notes. This set went for a healthy $86,025.

Military paper aficionados had an early treat when a rare WWI Australia/German New Guinea, 10 marks drawn on Australian Treasury, P-2b, came up for grabs. In about F it fetched $7,030. But finally came the hour of the John Malcolm collection paper. The range of paper items on offer showed John had true collector's bent. Beer chits jostled with rare specimen sets. Typical of the former were.

Main interest centered on three sets. The first was a Great Britain British Military Authority undated (1943) specimen set: 6d, 1/-, 2/6, 5/-, 10/-, �1, PM1-P-M6. Fresh, flat and in UNC they easily took $2,480 on their $248 estimate.

Second up was set of five Isle of Man World War II Civilian Internment Camps issues: 3d, 6d, 1/-, 2/6, 5s (Feller & Feller IM1400-1404). All notes were unstamped for specific use by any one camp. In UNC they were bid up to $3,600 on a $205 estimate.

Thirdly was a Libya British Military Authority Tripolitania specimen set five to 1,000 lire circa 1943, P-M3s-M8s. An agitated and badly out-of-breath prospective buyer rushed into the auction room just as this set was about to be knocked down. He held his card firm and high while trying to get focused and recover his wind. It seems his train had been delayed. His determination paid off as he claimed this UNC set for $3,475. He also secured the scarce issued Tripolitania 1,000 lire (1943), P-M8a, in good VF-about EF for $1,570.

Military collectors may well wish to check out the range of items in the Malcolm collection and the prices realized. They, and other interested parties may do so at the Noble's Web site: www.noble.com.au. A buyer's premium of 15 percent is included in all the prices cited above.


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