A circa 1900 Chinese, Chefoo Bank $2 issued private banknote sold for $8,430 at an auction held May 24 by Archives International Auctions, based in Fort Lee, N. J. Headlining the auction were the Alexander I. Pogrebetsky family archives (158 lots), followed by 353 lots of Chinese and Asian banknotes, scripophlily (stock and bond certificates) and coins.
Results From Archives International Auctions' Sale Held On May 24
It was the fifth auction held in Hong Kong since 2013 by Archives International Auctions, which also holds regular sales in its offices located at 1580 Lemoine Ave., in Fort Lee, N.J. The Chefoo Bank note was the top lot in the auction that grossed $270,450. The close runner-up was a 1910 Russo-Asiatic Bank Harbin Branch provisional issue $100 banknote that sold for $6,896.
The Alexander I. Pogrebetsky family archives (part 1) consisted mostly of Chinese and Asian banknotes, including many extremely scarce examples that rarely come up for bid at auction. The collection has remained untouched since it was put together by Pogrebetsky between 1916 and 1949, prior to his immigration to Israel, and was then kept by his family, intact, over 60 years.
Pogrebetsky, an economist by training, was minister of finance in Siberia before the communist takeover in 1922. He relocated to China and became head of the board of the railroad that ran from Harbin to Vladivostock. After that, he co-owned a private bank in Tientsin before moving to Shanghai. In 1924, while in Harbin, he wrote one of the first reference books on Chinese banknotes and coins by a Westerner.
"Our fifth Hong Kong auction was filled with non-stop, exciting bidding action between floor, Internet and telephone bidders pursuing the Pogrebetsky collection as well as other rarities offered in the sale," said Dr. Robert Schwartz, the president of Archives International Auctions. "As with our previous auctions, desirable material was in high demand, and the exceptional prices only reinforced this point."
The following are additional highlights from the auction. All prices quoted include an 18 percent buyer's premium and are listed in U.S. dollars.
The auction began with the 158 lots from the Pogrebetsky collection. Highlights included an Imperial Bank of China, 1898 Peking branch 10 Taels note ($4,904); a Bank of China, 1917 Kalgan branch issue ($2,146); a rare 1921 issue, National Bank of China ($5,210); a Bank of Territorial Development, 1915 Urga issue $1 rarity ($3,371); and a superb pair of Chartered Bank of India, Australia & China, $10 1928 Tientsin issues ($4,904 and $5,210, respectively).
Also sold was a rare Chinese-American Bank of Commerce $10 Shanghai issue specimen note ($2,298); and an Amoor Government Bank, 1917 issue rarity ($2,452); Private banks and local issues, all pulled from circulation by Pogrebetsky between 1910 and 1949, were a hit with bidders. Top lots included a Chiu Dah Bank, circa 1920s Shanghai issue private bank ($1,992).
Chinese and Asian scripophily also proved to be popular with collectors, as 95 percent of all lots changed hands, often for prices that were well above their high estimates. Highlights included a Chinese Imperial Government 1910, 5%, 100 Pound lot of 6 bonds that realized $843 and a Chinese Government 5%, Gold Loan of 1912, 100 Pounds bond quartet that brought $690.
Pioneer polymer banknote trials printed on "DuraNote" banknote paper (developed by a division of Mobil Oil in the 1980s/1990s as a petroleum-based replacement for paper) featured a DuraNote advertising banknote calendar ($689); a group of five different DuraNote advertising specimens with different security features ($582); and one lot consisting of seven different DuraNote specimens ($689).
Chinese and Asian banknotes continued to do well, with over 76 percent of all lots selling. Stars included an 1899, Imperial Chinese Railways, Shanghai Branch issue specimen ($1,686); a Commercial Bank of China, 1920, 1 Tael specimen banknote ($1,839); and an issued Bank of Communications, 1920 Harbin issue rarity that sold for a possible record price of $1,303.
Previews were held in the U.S., by appointment only, with viewing in Hong Kong at the offices of Kelleher & Rogers, Fine Asian Auctions, one of Hong Kong's premier philatelic auction houses. Already, Archives International Auctions is in the planning stages for its sixth Hong Kong auction, slated for late fall or early winter of 2015-2016. Consignments are invited for this upcoming auction, which will include Part 2 of the Alexander I. Pogrebetsky family archives.
Archives International Auctions' next big auction will be held on Thursday, June 25, in the Collector's Club at 22 E. 35th St. in New York City, featuring the Rudolph P. Laubenheimer family archives of rare coin, medal and token production material, plus works on paper. Also sold will be U.S. and worldwide banknotes, coins, medals, scripophily and security printing ephemera.
To pre-register for live bidding, or for further information, log on to the AIA website at www.ArchivesInternational.com.