In our last sale we featured a specimen of the Turkish 50,000 Livre banknote which is considered one of the world’s greatest banknote rarities. Remarkably it had turned up in Australia in an old family album holding a total of 144 specimen notes spanning the war years 1915 to 1918. It is almost certain that the notes in the album were once the reference collection of Huseiyn Cahid the Vice-President of the Ottoman Parliament who was responsible for vetting new banknote designs.
While it is certainly a truism that it is the victors who get to write history, there is still not much that could be said in the defence of the Deputy Fuhrer Rudolf Hess and the Minister of Armaments, Albert Speer at the Nuremberg War Trials. Both were prominent figures in the Nazi Central Command but yet both survived the death penalty that befell many of their colleagues for “crimes against humanity.”
It is said that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” which might explain why one uncirculated banknote will sell for a strong price while an identically described banknote will trade for a small fraction, or won’t even attract any interest.
However, it is also true that natural beauty cannot be manufactured and so it is more likely to be the fresh originality of one of the notes in question that proves the difference. The genuine uncirculated note will be as new as the day it was printed, whereas the tarted-up pretender will have been given a cosmetic make-over to make it look much better than it actually is.
Before the rise of the internet, it would usually take years or even decades for a high-grade coin collection to come together. Collectors only became aware of coins they were chasing when they first appeared in a printed Auction catalogue or when they received a call from a dealer responding to a want list. Although these traditional methods still apply, coins can now also be found with a quick trawl of the internet thanks to high-resolution catalogue photographs that are posted online as well as dealers’ websites which can also be searched for similar offerings. The coins that were long hidden away in dealer’s drawers or were available only to those on mail lists are now out there for all to see – and it is very telling how few high-grade coins appear to have survived. You only have to look at the lack of quality coins coming up for auction or scan the census reports of the major grading services to figure out that there is a looming short supply of good coins as each new discerning collector sets out to complete his set.
In the Internet age it is the Twitter postings of the incumbent President which political observers turn to gain some clue as to his ever-changing policy positions. However, there was a time when long form letter exchanges between politicians and decision makers determined important domestic and foreign policy – and not just 140 characters.
At the outbreak of World War I Europe split into two opposing blocs consisting of the Allied powers of Great Britain, France, Russia and Italy pitted against the Central powers of Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria and the Turkish Ottoman Empire.
Nationalism was rampant at the time even in Britain’s former colonies with many Australians rallying to the call to sign up to defend the Empire.
In 2016 a hitherto unknown collection of specimen notes of the late Ottoman Empire surfaced in Australia, a hundred years after their issue. This important collection had remained secreted in a family’s possession for three generations – but exactly how and when the notes arrived in Australia remains a conundrum, especially as Turkish migration to […]
Through the years Australia has been party to many ground-breaking inventions that have been taken up by the world, and in this category we can certainly place ‘polymer’ of ‘plastic’ banknotes which were first tested in 1988 in Australia with the one-off Bi-Centennial Commemorative $10.
The problem with paper notes had always been their relatively high production costs compared to their short life spans, and this was particularly true of the smaller denominations which were spent more often and were also more likely to be found screwed up with small change in our pockets rather than in the sanctity of a wallet.
Australia was not the first nation to introduce ‘plastic-like’ notes as smaller nations such as the Isle of Man and Haiti had trialled ‘tyvek’ banknotes produced by the American Banknote Company in the early 1980s. However these trials proved unsatisfactory and folklore has it that the Isle of Man notes were often the subject of ridicule as bar-room patrons tested how far they would stretch while the Haiti notes were avoided because it was feared that they transmitted disease.
One of the great drivers of investment in US coins in recent decades was the introduction of third-party-grading services in the late 1980s. The two major services, P.C.G.S and N.G.C., both started around this time and between them have now processed over 70 million coins assigning them a precise third-party grade and a guarantee of authenticity. Each coin has been awarded a grading score out of seventy with the uncirculated or M(int) S(tate) grades starting at MS60 and progressing through to a theoretical MS70.
Convict Love Tokens have been romantically described as ‘postcards before leaving’ but they were actually very sad mementos of relationships torn asunder by the courts and the tyranny of distance.
It was common for a small ‘cottage industry’ to spring up in each prison turning out these crude tokens for convicts with parting messages of love to a wife, sibling, friend or lover that they were unlikely to ever see again once they were transported to Australia.