PCGS Specials

HomeAuctionsRare Chinese Banknotes to be Sold at May 24 Hong Kong Auction

Rare Chinese Banknotes to be Sold at May 24 Hong Kong Auction

Archives International Auctions Chinese Banknotes
Imperial Bank of China, 1898 Peking Branch Taels issue. Archives International Auctions

By Archives International Auctions….
Fort Lee, N.J.-based Archives International Auctions (AIA) will offer over 500 lots of rare Chinese and Asian banknotes, plus scripophily rarities (stocks and bonds), in a public auction slated for Sunday, May 24th. The event will be held at the offices of Kelleher & Rogers, Fine Asian Auctions Ltd., in Hong Kong, China, starting at 11 a.m. local time in Hong Kong.

Headlining the auction will be an amazing family archive of Chinese and Asian banknotes from Alexander I. Pogrebetsky (1891-1952). The notes are part of Pogrebetsky’s reference collection, gathered over a 30-year period between 1918 and 1948 when Pogrebetsky lived and worked in China and was involved in finance and banking there. He was born in Russia and died in Israel.
Alexander Pogrebetsky was an economist and financier by trade. After the Russian Revolution and the communist takeover there, he relocated to Harbin, China around 1922, where he became Head of the Board for the Chinese Eastern Railway Co., which ran from Vladivostok to Harbin. After 1935 he left Harbin and relocated to Tientsin, China, where he co-owned a private bank.

After Tientsin, he moved to Shanghai, China, where he was involved in numerous business ventures and was a principal in the China Trading & Investment Company, Ltd., with offices in Shanghai and Tientsin. During this time period, he was also a noted collector and researcher of numismatics, especially banknotes and coins, which he acquired as part of his many everyday business dealings in China.

“We are proud to offer the first part of the outstanding Alexander I. Pogrebetsky family archives that have never been offered in any form since the day the notes were all pulled from circulation, from 1918 to 1948,” said Dr. Robert Schwartz of Archives International Auctions. “There are many exceptional rarities and discovery notes that seldom, if ever, appear at public auction.”

Highlights from the collection include a Ming Dynasty 1 Kuan banknote, the earliest form of paper money available in the world; an 1898 Imperial Bank of China, Peking Branch “Teals” Rarity; a 1908 Ta-Ching Government Bank “Urga” branch issue; and three different Bank of China 1917 “Kalgan” issues printed in Cyrillic text, including an error that is possibly unique.

Bank of Communications issues will include 1913 “Changchun” issues and a 1933 Fengtien Province issue; an extremely rare National Bank of China, 1921 issue, in possibly an unknown color variety; rare Bank of Territorial Development issues including two examples of 1915 $1 “Urga” branch issues, both unpriced in SCWPM; and 15 lots of Peoples Bank of China issues.

Foreign banks will be represented by two sequential high-grade $10 Chartered Bank of India, Australia and China, 1928 “Tientsin” Branch issues rarely seen in this nice of condition, and seldom as sequential notes; and two rare Chinese-American Bank “Shanghai” issue specimens.

Provincial issues will feature rare notes seldom offered at auction, including the 1917 Amoor Government Bank rarity; a group of Hunan Government Bank issues including a 1906 “Teals” misspelling error; as well as seven examples of 1904 Tael issue banknotes and two different examples of Yue Soo Imperial Bank, 1908 issues including the very rare 1 Silver Dollar issue.

Private banks are represented by a 1900 “Chefoo Bank” rarity; a Shun Yee Savings Bank issue (circa 1900); an attractive (but well worn) “Ch’ing Sheng Hao Chi” 1904 Private Bank rarity with coin vignette on back; private local issues, including a British Municipal Council 1939 Tientsin scrip note trio; Shanghai Local issues; and other notes rarely seen at auction.

The auction continues over 50 lots of scripophily, followed by close to 25 lots of rare polymer pioneer “DuraNote” samples with various security features dating from 1989-1995, including a rare Banco De Mexico polymer example similar to Tyvek sample notes; and an exceptional collection of issued and specimen Chinese and Asian banknotes by various other consignors.

Banknotes will feature 1906 Ta-Ching Government Bank Tientsin issues; a high-grade Bank of China, 1912 “Yunnan” branch issue in Choice AU condition; a 1920 Bank of Communications “Harbin” issue rarity, written in Russian; 1923 Central Bank of China branch issue specimens from the American Bank Note Archives; and Central Bank of China 1948-1949 essay specimens.

Taiwan will be represented by rare high-grade sequential notes from the exceptional Hamtramck collection; a very rare American Oriental Bank 1919 $100 specimen; a group of Asia Banking Corporation “Hankow” and “Tientsin” specimens rarely are seen at auction; and an exceptional Chinese Italian Banking Corp. 1921 issue, unpriced in the SCWPM and maybe the finest known.

Also offered is a rare set of Chinese American 1920 first issue proofs from $1-$100; a lovely Russo-Asiatic Bank, 1910 $100 “Harbin Branch” provisional issue; other desirable Chinese banknotes; a Hong Kong 1937 Mercantile Bank of India, $10 rarity; and banknote issues from Indonesia, Philippines, Laos and Macau. 11 lots of Chinese coins will finish out the sale.


Archives International Auctions is always looking for U.S. and worldwide banknotes, coins, stocks, bonds, stamps, postal history, autographs and historic ephemera and documents for future auctions, or to buy outright. To sell or consign one piece or an entire collection, you may call AIA at (201) 944-4800; or you can send them an e-mail, to [email protected].

You may also write to Archives International Auctions, at:

1580 Lemoine Ave., Suite #7
Fort Lee, NJ 07024

To learn more about Archives International Auctions and the firm’s upcoming calendar of events, please visit www.ArchivesInternational.com. Updates are posted frequently.

Internet bidding for the Hong Kong auction will be available via the AIA website.

Coinweek is the top independent online media source for rare coin and currency news, with analysis and information contributed by leading experts across the numismatic spectrum.

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Bullion Sharks Silver

AU Capital Management US gold Coins

Blanchard and Company Gold and Precious Metals