By Christopher Dahncke – Currency Auction Associate, Stack’s Bowers Galleries ……
In the Stack’s Bowers Galleries Spring Auction at the Maastricht Paper Money Show, we will feature an impressive collection of 50 Belgian Congo notes, with the star of the section being a P-12b 1920 1000 Francs graded Choice About Uncirculated 58 by PMG.
The 1000 Francs was the highest denomination for the 1912-37 series of currency, and it is unheard of to find this denomination in issued form today. Not only is this the only “b” variety available to collectors in a PMG holder, but out of all the varieties for Pick 12 (a through e), it is the only issued note that has been graded.
This note is dated November 3, 1920, and was issued at Kinshasa. Kinshasa is now the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, but when this series of notes was issued, Boma was the capital of the Belgian Congo (Kinshasa would become the capital of the Belgian Congo in 1923). Originally named Leopoldville, after King Leopold II of the Belgians, the city was established as a trading post due to its important location as the first navigable port on the Congo River above the series of rapids known as Livingstone Falls. Prior to the establishment of this port, all goods had to be sent overland. Later, a railway was built to avoid navigating the treacherous rapids.
This note is a miracle of survival and is surely missing from even the most advanced collections of Belgian colonial currency.
Ornate engravings of two allegorical figures and a child on the obverse of the note appear to represent labor, art, and youth. Intricate foliage comprises the background of the design. On the right of the note, there is a watermark of an elephant’s head. On the back of the note, a seated woman with a lyre gazes out towards the Congo River, leaning against what appears to be a marbled post. Various birds are found throughout the design, with various produce used as the border design. The margins are broad, giving this art-like note a nice frame. Offering exceptional appeal, this note was surely held for posterity and never saw actual circulation. PMG Pop 1/No Others Graded.
We are currently taking consignments for our upcoming Maastricht sale, and future Collectors Choice Online (CCO) Auctions. To consign your U.S. paper money and world paper money to a future sale, contact a consignment specialist at 800-458-4646 or visit StacksBowers.com. For more information on viewing lots or for assistance in registering to bid, email your inquiry to [email protected].