By Matt Quinn, Assistant Director of Currency – Stack’s Bowers
One of many remarkable far eastern banknotes to be offered in our upcoming August Hong Kong sale will be this $100 specimen note from 1922. The note was issued by the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, an institution that is one of the oldest in the world and has issued currency since its founding in 1865. Thomas Sutherland (1834-1922) is credited as the founder. At the time he was part of the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company. He believed that a bank was needed to finance the growing trade between China and Europe, preferably one with “sound Scottish banking principles.”
The note in our August Hong Kong sale is a $100 denomination from the Peking branch, a design type that is incredibly rare in issued form. These appealing specimen notes are virtually the only way to illustrate the Waterlow and Sons design within a collection. An large format is utilized with arms at top left, building with city wall lower center and ornate title upper right. The back shows a detailed central vignette of a bank building flanked by two ornate guilloches with 100 counters. This is the first of the design we have handled. The last we are aware of selling was offered in a 2011 public auction. This note will certainly be carefully watched by collectors when it crosses the auction block in August.