HomeAuctionsWorld’s First Issued Banknote at Spink Auction in New York

World’s First Issued Banknote at Spink Auction in New York

Spink will be very sad to see the end of 2016 and the festivity and celebrations of the 350th anniversary, however we have so much lined up for January 2017 that we can barely contain ourselves! Spink will be holding five numismatic auctions in January, and many of them will be taking place during the New York International Numismatic Convention (NYINC) at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. The first of which will be the much-anticipated World Banknotes auction on January 13th. There will be several hundred lots of paper currency comprising specimen and issued banknotes from around the World. With just four hours to sell, we have squeezed in more than 350 lots of archival specimens, proofs and issued banknotes.

Fittingly, within this sale is an item Spink has been highly excited about all year- an example of Europe’s first paper money, the Swedish Palmstruch of 1666, an important and historical note.

Dated the very same year in which Spink can trace its own origins, lot 334 is issued by Stockholms Banco, and is a 10 daler silvermynt, third issue, with the serial number 1870. In 1656 Johan Palmstruch was granted a Royal Privilege to found a bank. Sweden was in considerable financial trouble largely due to the Thirty Years’ War and the prevailing copper currency in circulation was cumbersome and impractical. Copper currency was deposited at the bank and paper issued. It is true that paper money was issued under the Ming Emperors but these were backed by the Emperor’s Treasury – unlike the ‘Palmstruch’ notes, which were issued by a bank and can thus legitimately claim to be Europe’s first example of paper money.

Its boldly sweeping black text on cream parchment-like paper reads ‘That the Bearer of this credit note has a claim upon Stockholms Banco numbered 1870 for 10 dalers silvermynt is attested by us, the Bank Director, Commissioners, Bookkeepers and Cashiers of the Bank each by his signature written with his own hand and by his seal; as well as authenticated for additional security by the large and the small Bank Seal intended for such purpose’. The signatures low left are: Johan Palmstruch, Jacob Barchman, Henrik Marheims and Hans Hasselhuhns, at the low right are the signatures of Erik Appelgrens, Henrik Stockenstroms, Eik Torbjornssons and Anders Meijers. Each signature has an embossed seal for authentication. A splendid example, very fine and above average for type. Extremely rare and historically important.

Kingdom of Sweden, Stockholms Banco, 10 daler silvermynt, third issue, 1666, serial number 1870. Image courtesy Spink and Sons

Lot 334: Estimated $25,000-$30,000


Of special note are of course the incredibley rare Panama issues of 1941 which were issued for only a week. In 1941 President Dr. Arnulfo Arias was instrumental in the foundation on the 30th September 1941 of the Central Bank of the Republic of Panama and subsequently the issue of six million balboas in paper currency. In the event only 2.7 million balboas were issued on the 2nd of October 1941. A week later Arias was deposed in a coup and was replaced by Ricardo de la Guardia, who closed the Bank and withdrew and destroyed the currency, the notes were sent to the Mechanical Division of the Panama Canal for destruction. Given this, the notes in this sale are extremely hard to find in any condition, and those offered here are well above average for type.

Spink is delighted to be presenting three notes of this issue within lot 287: a 1941 Bank of Panama 5 balboas, with the serial number 006954, a 1941 10 balboas, bearing the serial number 011909, as well as a 1941 20 balboas, 1941, serial number 000391. All have signatures of Augusto Arango and Enrique Linares and all are printed by the Hamilton Banknote Company of New York. The notes are in PMG holders and graded 40, extremely fine, 40, extremely fine and 35, choice very fine respectively. A superb group in above average condition.

Bank of Panama, 5 balboas, 1941. Images courtesy Spink and Son

Lot 287: Estimated US$60,000-90,000

To cap it all though, there is a set of number 1 notes from the United States National Currency series issued by the Bank of Italy. The Bank of Italy was founded by Amadeo Peter Giannini, an Italian immigrant born in San Jose in 1870. By 1902 he was already a director of a Bank in San Francisco; in 1904 he founded the Bank of Italy in order to help Italians manage their money and to facilitate loans for the immigrant community.

Over the years, the bank prospered and Giannini’s reputation, business acumen and philanthropic nature enabled the bank to expand. In 1919 the Bank of Italy bought a New York bank named the Banca dell’ Italia Meridionale, subsequently the Banca d’America e d’Italia. Giannini’s business flourished and he started investing in the film industry financing Charlie Chaplin’s “The Kid” (1928) as well as several Disney films including Mickey Mouse and Snow White (1937).

By 1922, the Bank of Italy had 61 branches. Between 1927 and 1929 the Bank of Italy was authorized to issue National Currency bills, the set listed above being the number 1 set. In 1930 the Bank of Italy was renamed the Bank of America National Trust and Savings Association. In 1934 the Bank of America had 423 branches. Giannini died in 1950 having retired from the bank in 1945. He can justifiably be called one of the founders of modern banking in America and possibly of the biggest Bank in the world at the time of his retirement. He will always be remembered for not only his place in the history of banking but for his many philanthropic acts. A set of number 1 notes of this type is unheard of and coming from a family source is also of impeccable pedigree.

The number 1 notes form lot 353, a set of notes comprising: $5, Benjamin Harrison at left; $10, William McKinley at left; $20, Hugh McCulloch at left; $50, John Sherman at left; and $100, John Knox at left. All are dated San Francisco, February 26th 1927, third issue, and printed signatures of Speelman and White, manuscript signatures of R. B. Burnisted and James A. Bacigalupi. All are serial number 1, blue Charter number 13044 in field. (Friedberg 609, 635, 661, 685, 707), original grade, generally extremely fine and an important Number 1 set.

Bank of Italy, National Trust and Savings Association, United States of America, National Currency. Images courtesy Spink and Son

Lot 553: Estimated US$60,000-80,000

The auction should prove to be an interesting occasion and an opportunity to say hello to our friends and clients from ‘across the pond’.

For more information, please contact Andrew Pattison at +44 (0)20 7563 4044 or [email protected].

SPINK USA | 145 W. 57th Street | New York | NY 10009

About Spink

Spink is the world’s leading auctioneer of stamps, coins, banknotes, medals, bonds & shares, autographs, books and wine. Since its foundation in 1666, the Spink name has become synonymous with tradition, experience and integrity. Holder of royal warrants and numerous records for prices achieved at auction, Spink offers an unparalleled range of services to collectors worldwide. Headquartered in London, with offices in New York, Hong Kong, Singapore and Switzerland, Spink holds over 70 auctions a year. Catalogues can be accessed through the Spink website (www.spink.com) or via the Spink App for iPhone and iPad.

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