This paper money, featuring ships docked at the Leo-Kinshasa wharf has eluded me for quite a while. I regret not buying it a couple of years ago, when it was cheaper, but even $103.50 can be considered a bargain for this scarce note. It is definitely harder and harder to find, especially in this good of a condition. The back of this banknote features an African transporting fruit in a dugout canoe.
I don’t exactly know what got into me lately, but I have been seeking out any bargains on banknotes from Mali. For a long time I was looking for banknotes from the first issue, but as part of my search on eBay, I found a high denomination note from the second series. I definitely wasn’t expecting to win this note for $29.56, which I did, considering the fact that the 100 Franc banknotes from both the first and second series (this one is from the second series) were selling for $25+ in similar condition. Anyhow, I put in my bid and actually won this one. This 1000 Franc note is somewhat scarce, and was a great buy for under $30. If you can find a similar deal, take it! The demand for first and second issue paper money from Mali has gone up tons lately.
Aside from the fact that this banknote is quite monotone, it is a very nice looking banknote. It features a ‘conqueror’ of sorts at left, leaning on his sabre, with some sort of fortified structure in the background. A portrait of Correira is at right. On the back is a historic scene featuring the ‘Reconquest of Luanda’ in 1684. This banknote is actually a re-print of Angola p79 which was printed in 1944. A beauty to add to my collection; its only fault is two stencil type marks on the face. They’re really odd, and I can’t figure out what they are. This one set me back $44.99.
I caved into a temptation that maybe wasn’t for the sake of investment, but for the sake of completing an issue of banknotes. Angola has a 1926 issue of banknotes using the ‘Angolar’ currency, of which the highest denomination is 10. This banknote, namely pick 67 is scarce and very expensive even in VF condition, so I jumped at the opportunity to buy one in Good condition which, as collectors know, is not really good condition. The banknote is extremely worn, and I purchased it at roughly catalog value, which I rarely do, but the set is almost complete! As with many banknotes from Angola, both the face and the back of the banknote are quite attractive, even in monochrome. The front of this one, as you can see, features Angolan tribespeople weaving and spinning near a bridge and mountain (I wonder what historical location this is), while the back features a resting lion. Its a beautifully designed banknote!
I feel pretty fortunate to have purchased an African banknote from 1929. In this case I was fortunate to win an eBay auction for Belgian Congo pick 8e, which is a 5 Franc note from 1929. The banknote is in rough condition, but somehow though the face side is quite worn, the back of the banknote seems to be in acceptable condition. That is the side that really matters, because it features a picture of a river steamboat heading down a river banked by tropical vegetation. Spectacular! I love old African banknotes! Unfortunately this banknote cost me $44.95.
This banknote constituted a marked difference in the money printed in the Belgian Congo. Most previous paper money from the Belgian Congo involves scenes of tribes, landscapes, and conquests. In the fifties, however, the paper money printed for this region of the world started to celebrate the coming of the industrial age and, as in this instance, often portrays industrial movements, machinery, and major architecture. As such, this is not one of my favorite banknotes, but at $10.25 it is a good addition for any collection.
When I started collecting paper money I recall that some of my first banknotes were from Angola. The earliest ones were from the 1962 series, and featured safari animals on the back side. Ever since then I have had a fascination with this type of banknote, and though p77 from Angola does not show any animals on the face or the back, the image at front features an African scene that is compelling in a historical kind of way. Needless to say, I have kept my eyes open for a deal on this banknote, and I have recently won an eBay auction for $18.75 for this banknote, in VF condition. Anytime you can buy this note for under $25 it is a great deal. I think that these Angola ‘Angolares’ series of notes will disappear from eBay, same as the ‘Thaler’ series from Ethiopia have completely disappeared, so get them while you can!
Germans ruled East Africa from 1884-1918 and, in 1905, they printed money for their African colony. The first issue came out in 1905 and was composed of 5, 10, 50, 100, and 500 rupien denominations. The latter three featured pictures of Kaider Wilhelm II in uniform. The 10 rupien banknote featured Dar es Salam Harbor at ceter, and p1, the 5 rupien banknote features two lions at bottom center. This banknote is a rare example of German colonial paper money, with the exclusion of notgeld (which is crap in my opinion).
I have recently splurged and purchased p1, the 5 rupien banknote for $88.50. It is in F condition, and therefore valued at only $45USD by catalog prices, but anyone who is a serious collector knows that his banknote is a bargain even at $100. Besides, it is becoming exceedingly rare, so I grabbed one while I still could.
When I was bidding I was actually worried that the banknote was going to be a crappy notgeld-type note, but it is actually a full sized banknote, thank God. Anyways, there’s an entire set of these banknotes, 5-500 rupien, up for sale on eBay for $650, and I strongly recommend that anyone who can afford it to buy it. The 500 Rupien banknote will soon sell for $650 on its own, in my opinion.
I have always been intrigued by old paper money from African countries. This is for two reasons: first, money from African countries tends to get beat up quite fast so there are few good examples of older banknotes, and second because African countries have the opportunity to print images of flora and fauna that is both unique to the continent and world renowned. Prime examples are gorillas, lions, and gazelles. Aside from these topics, there is also plenty of opportunity to display unique cultures.
For me, these banknotes are a great investment opportunity, because these factors make for a high demand for these banknotes, and the supply is only getting smaller. Even banknotes that are not currently valued very high by the Standard Catalog of World Paper Money will surely go up in value in a significant way with little time.
This having been said I have picked up a Belgian Congo banknote from 1959. It is the 20 Franc banknote which features a young boy at left on the face with a village and reservoir in the background, and a river landscape with a young African girl on the back. Unfortunately the banknote is pretty much monotone, but still attractive by design. In VF condition this banknote is worth only $10 according to catalog prices, but it seems to always sell for around $20USD. I managed to get this one for $15.50, but that is a rare deal as far as I can tell. Here’s a picture:
When I look for banknotes that are to serve as good investments there are a few criteria that I look for: condition, scarcity, and design, for example. But I also take a look at a couple of factors that have a solid impact on investments, and which are particularly relevant to banknotes such as the 1945 issue of Ethiopian dollars featuring Emperor Haile Selassie: these two traits are origin and purchase price. Purchase price is self explanatory: if the banknote can be bought cheap it is a small investment at present. But the ‘origin’ factor baffles some collectors, or at least it is a forgotten constituent of appraising investments.
Old African banknotes are the epiphany of this origin factor for me. This is because even modern African banknotes are treated poorly in their country of origin. Africans are famous for stuffing their shorts, bras, and mattresses with paper money, and have little respect for its condition. This means that paper money from Africa has a shorter lifespan, and is seldom found in EF+ condition, except where it has been purchased specifically for the purpose of collections and investments.
And this is why I am amazed to see Ethiopian banknotes from 1945 in VF condition selling for peanuts on eBay. Don’t get me wrong … these banknotes are not in great abundance, though they are not rare either. However, to pick one up for around $5 USD is a sound investment in my eyes. Recently I have bought Ethiopia’s $1 from 1945 for $5.50. Its not a pretty note, but it is old, in good condition, from an African country, and cheap. Perfect! Other denominations can be found readily, and relatively cheap.
Take from this what you will, but remember that this does not apply only to Ethiopian banknotes. There are other countries in Africa too! Oh yeah: