Heritage Auctions Presents Finest Offering Ever of Cypriot Currency

Posted on 9/1/2017

The Ibrahim Salem Collection, which contains 239 lots certified by PMG, is set for auction Sept. 8

Before the 20th century, most of Cyprus’ money needs were filled by coins from the British Empire, Turkey and other countries in the area. By 1914, World War I was contracting coin supplies, and an emergency paper issue was released in Cyprus. That was the start of Cyprus issuing its own paper money.

The Ibrahim Salem Collection of Cyprus is the finest offering of currency from this strategically important island nation to go to auction. The vast political changes in the last century have produced a wide array of notes, with stunning designs of monarchy and antiquity.

Salem is a banknote collector of over 40 years. His passion for artistry and history led him into architecture and collecting. He is one of the most prolific architects in Dubai, with hardly a spot in the skyline that does not feature one of his projects.

Notes Issued Under British Authority

The notes issued under the British Authority include a number of highlights in this collection. Three Specimen issues of the 1914 Emergency Issue are included, each one expected to bring more than $20,000. The collection features many of the dates and denominations issued under King George V, all of which are incredibly scarce, including a rarely seen and fully issued 1936 £5 in PMG VF 30.

Government of Cyprus £5 2.1.1936 Pick 19, graded PMG VF 30 (Image credit: Heritage Auctions)

Notes of King George the VI are rare in these grades, and rarely accompanied by so many Specimen issues. One of the most desirable is the 10 Shilling Specimen from the 1952-53 Issue.

Queen Elizabeth’s coronation in 1953 was preceded by a tremendous amount of pomp and planning. One of the die trials of her official currency portrait that was submitted for approval is expected to bring $1,000-2,000. The last dated £5 note issued before the Republic under Queen Elizabeth is one of just a few examples known and is expected to realize more than $15,000.

Notes of the Republic

Salem’s holdings from the Republic of Cyprus are unequaled. In addition to achieving some of the finest grades known for Cyprus, a large number of the issues from the 1960s into the 1990s are serial number 1 issues, including the first 250 Mils and 500 Mils notes printed and released.

Artistry and Design

Beginning with the first issues of Cyprus, Salem sought design and color trials, specimens and proofs that represent interesting views of the design process. The trials from 1917-20 are extremely scarce, with each expected to command $7,000 or more. An unissued design trial featuring Makarios III, the founder of modern Cyprus, never was issued. It is expected to bring more than $4,000.

To view the collection at the Heritage Auctions website, click here.

This is a guest article. The thoughts and opinions in the piece are those of their author and are not necessarily the thoughts of the Certified Collectibles Group.

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