LONDON – A shipwreck survivor and other rare banknotes to be offered by Spink London on 9th and 10th December 2014.
Lot 1179 – Bank of England, J.G.Nairne, £5, 1914
This note is a remarkable survivor with an equally amazing story. This 1914 £5 note, just over 100 years old at the time of writing, was in the pocket of Lord Montagu of Beaulieu when the passenger liner SS Persia was sunk by a German submarine on 30th December 1915. Lord Beaulieu was picked up from the water along with many other survivors, although famously, his mistress did not survive. The papers ran with the story for many days, especially since the submarine commander was severely reprimanded for sinking a ship with minimal military value.
In the letter that forms part of this lot, Lord Montagu writes (to Portals, we presume) to congratulate them on the quality of their paper, as the note had been in his pocket for 32 hours while he was in the water, and yet remains remarkably unscathed, in contrast to all other papers on his person, which were destroyed.
Lot 165 – Republika Ceskoslovenska, 500 korun, 1919
It is rare indeed to see a Czechoslovakian note attract an estimate of £8,000-12,000, but in this case we may actually be being conservative. This 500 korun of 1919 is actually one of the great rarities of the entire Republic series. To start with, as it was a very high denomination note, only a relatively small number were released into circulation. Then, a short time after they were put into circulation, a group of 60,000 counterfeits were produced and released by a group of forgers in Austria. As a result, most of the examples seen today are not genuine notes. This is the first genuine issued 500 korun that Spink have ever offered, and to put things in perspective, we sold a specimen example in 2011 for over £16,000. This one should be one to watch on the sale day.
Lot 989 – De Nationale Bank der Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek, a complete specimen set of the 1892 series
Comprising a £1, £5, £10, £20, £50 and £100, there are only two known sets of these most famous of South African notes in private hands. While it is possible to find the lower denominations in issued form (although in poor grade), no issued notes of the higher denominations are thought to have survived. They are magnificent large format notes, all featuring Oom Paul Kruger, the founder of the Boer State. As well as banknote collectors, these wonderful items may be attractive to the many people who collect Kruger memorabilia, especially as this is most likely a once in a lifetime chance to acquire them.