Rare PMG-certified German East Africa Note Nearly Doubles Pre-auction Estimate in Heritage Sale

Posted on 11/16/2023

More than 30 PMG-certified notes sold for five figures in the November auction.

A coveted African banknote exceeded expectations, almost doubling its pre-auction estimate, as the rarity led the way in a recent sale presented by Heritage Auctions. The banknote was among more than 700 notes certified by Paper Money Guaranty® (PMG®) that were offered in the World Paper Money Signature Auction #4045, which was held November 9-10, 2023.

The top lot in the auction was a German East Africa 1912 500 Rupien graded PMG 63 Choice Uncirculated EPQ (lot 24295), which realized $78,000, far above its $40,000 estimate. In the aftermath of World War I, Germany was forced to give up its African colonies, including East Africa, Southwest Africa and Cameroon. Therefore, these 500 Rupien issues were mostly redeemed or returned to Germany after the war. Few known examples remain, making this note one of the rarest and most sought-after banknotes from Africa. This is the finest example graded in the PMG Population Report and is also the only Uncirculated example that earned EPQ status.

Click images to enlarge.

Other PMG-certified banknotes sold in this auction included:

  • an Ethiopia, Bank of Abyssinia 1915-26 100 Thalers graded PMG 20 Very Fine (lot 24256), which realized $24,000
  • a British Guiana / British Administration 1942 2 Dollars graded PMG 58 Choice About Uncirculated EPQ (lot 24107), which realized $21,600
  • an India - British, Bank of Hindostan ND (1823-27) 100 Sicca Rupees graded PMG 10 Very Good (lot 24328), which realized $20,400
  • a British Honduras 1947 Dollar graded PMG 64 Choice Uncirculated EPQ (lot 24117), which realized $20,400
  • a Kingdom of Persia, Imperial Bank 1890-1923 1 Toman graded PMG 40 Extremely Fine EPQ (lot 24330), which realized $20,400
  • a Danish West Indies, National Bank 1905 20 Francs graded PMG 25 Very Fine (lot 24214), which realized $18,000
  • a Belgian Congo, Banque du Congo Belge 1940 20 Francs graded PMG 63 Choice Uncirculated EPQ (lot 24050), which realized $18,000
  • an Italian Somaliland 1950 100 Somali graded PMG 67 Superb Gem Uncirculated EPQ (lot 24391), which realized $18,000
  • a Netherlands Indies, Javasche Bank 1890 10 Gulden graded PMG 25 Very Fine (lot 24474), which realized $16,800
  • a Netherlands Indies, Javasche Bank 1916-22 200 Gulden graded PMG 25 Very Fine (lot 24492), which realized $16,800

Prices realized include buyer's premium. The $ symbol represents US Dollars.

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