The World Banknotes auction on 29-30 April showcases a wide range of notes from countries across the globe. We are offering many great rarities, and as usual, some completely unique items. Below is a selection of some of the most spectacular or otherwise interesting items.
Central Bank – United Arab Republic
A group of specimens showing a series of UAR banknotes that were never issued.
The United Arab Republic was a union between Egypt and Syria. It lasted only three years, from 1958 until 1961. No official currency was issued for the union, despite the fact that Egypt continued to call itself the United Arab Republic until 1971.
These specimen banknotes, dated 1959, show beyond all doubt that the two countries were planning a combined currency. There is a complete set of notes, with the denominations 25 and 50 piastres, and 1, 5, and 10 Arab Dinars.
That fact that these notes are Arab Dinars is actually what makes them so remarkable. This will no doubt have collectors completely mystified, since neither Egypt nor Syria used Dinars at any point in their history. It could be speculated that Dinars was proposed so that neither party could claim favouritism. Another possibility is that it was an effort to appeal to other states, such as Iraq, in an effort to get them to join the union as well. One thing is for certain, these banknotes will fuel speculation and research for years to come, and are one of the most important discoveries in the fields of Egyptian and Syrian notes for decades.
Lots 1763-1767 – Combined Estimate £31,000-£46,000 (US$46,810-$69,460)
Zanzibar Government, colour trial 20 rupees, 1908
Ask any collector of world banknotes to pick any note to add to their collection free of charge, and 90% would pick a note from Zanzibar. The very name of the place conjures up exotic images of the Middle East and Africa combined, and the stunningly rare banknotes issued there in the early 20th century do not disappoint this vision. Featuring on one hand, an evocative view of a dhow at sunset and on the other, a traditional clove harvest, the main vignettes are bordered by supremely engraved columns and arches combining the best of Arabic architecture with the best of legendary Waterlow and Sons printing.
This purple colour trial (the issued note was green) is one of only two or three known to survive, as the Waterlow and Sons specimen archive was purportedly destroyed during the Blitz. This is probably a once in a lifetime opportunity to acquire such a note, and as such it will be hotly contested on the auction day.
Lot 2861 – Estimate £20,000-£25,000 (US$30,200-$37,750)
For more information please contact:
Barnaby Faull +44 (0)20 7563 4031 or [email protected]
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