Archive for July, 2012
Recently, I found an eBay seller from France who was blowing out a fairly large and varied collection of paper money from French West Africa. I was able to purchase many, many notes which ranged from 1912 – 1956 with denominations from 5 Francs to 1000 Francs. The early notes included 1920′s issues, such as this fifty franc note from 1926:
I also bought multiples of the following, with selling them in the future in mind:
Anyways, I ended up spending a couple of hundred dollars on these notes, and most of them ended up being duplicates. However, although these banknotes are neither rare nor scarce, I would imagine that their availability will go down, as it always does with paper money that is no longer being issued.
There’s always been something in me that is particularly fond of banknotes that are 100 years old or more. Its true that for the most part those lack the color and detail that was introduced into the paper money printing process in the late 1930′s, but the history of the banknote enthralls me as well. I always wonder what a century old dollar bill bought its owner back in the day, and how many hands the banknote has passed through — the total inventory that it has purchased, and the deals that it was part of.
This recent acquisition is not quite a hundred, but for every year I age, so do my banknotes, don’t they? And so I will buy banknotes from the 1910′s and the 1920′s knowing that they will become part of my small ‘century old club’ banknote collection. In that spirit I bought this Swedish 1 Krona banknote from 1920:
It is neither the prettiest nor the ugliest banknote of its age, but at $9.99 it seemed like a good deal, regardless of what the catalog had to say about its value. If nothing else it is an elaborately designed note, and I absolutely love the crest at top center.
For a long time now the Ivory Coast has been classified, in the realm of paper money collecting, as part of the West African States, and truly it is so. And truly it is so. It shares a currency common with many of its neighbors. However, there was an issue of Ivory Coast money, though similar to the issues of other countries, was Ivory Coasts very own, and that is the 1917 issue. At the time the French colonists saw fit to print .5, 1, and 2 Franc banknotes and though they are not pretty notes, they are becoming scarce — and expensive. However, some of these notes in less than VF condition are still affordable on eBay, and so I’ve made it a point to buy them so that I can check another country off of my collection list.
There was a period of time, only a few years ago, when early (1930′s) Iranian paper money sold for a fraction of what it is being sold and bought for today. At that time, I didn’t see a lot of wisdom in purchasing the low denomination notes of that era, though I did pick up a handful. In the last few years, contradictory to my expectations, Iranian paper money has actually gone up drastically in price. Even low denominations, such as 5 Rial banknotes, are selling for $15+ in VF condition. Earlier editions, where Shah Reza is wearing his military cap, are selling for considerable more. High denominations are definitely beyond my reach now. So although I look, I end up purchasing very few of these Persian banknotes. I did manage to buy another 20 Rial banknote in salvageable condition, although I wouldn’t be too excited about the purchase price. It will be a while before this paper money catches up to its catalog value, but it now seems like a good purchase. Here’s what I managed to land:
If I ever had to slim my collection down to, say … 100 or so, this note would definitely make the cut. The first issues of paper money from Ethiopia were of a currency called Thalers, and with the exception of the 2 Thaler note (the lowest denomination), this paper money featured African animals on the front face. The ten Thaler note, also know as Ethiopia pick 8, features a leopard on the prowl. It is a beautiful note, and one that is quickly becoming scarce on eBay. I was thrilled to purchase this one, and did so at a bargain. However, even at catalog value this banknote is a scarcity and a wise investment. I figure that if you don’t buy one now (for $100-$200) you’ll be asked to pay $500+ within five years.
I’ve tracked the sales of these early Ethiopian notes, and have noticed a drastic decline in their availability in auction format on eBay. As a matter of fact, there is only one on sale in the ‘Buy It Now’ format, and its price is $450. Here’s the one I managed to land: