Lot 130

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Pick# 95s, RS-4-11. Serial # No. 00

  • 401
  • Literature:
  • Collectibles
  • Medium:
  • Coins, Monies & Stamps
  • Circa:
  • Paper Money, Middle East
  • Notes:
  • 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 how and when the notes arrived in Australia remains a conundrum especially as Turkish migration to Australia was restricted by a post-war ban which was enforced until the 1930s. In total 144 banknotes of various denominations were found housed in a contemporary presentation album with a gilt title in Ottoman Turkish which roughly translated to “the collection of specimen notes of all notes of the State Ministry of Finance.” At the back of the album was a contemporaneous typed list headed the “totality of banknotes printed under my supervision,” confirming that they were once the property of a highly placed Government official whose tabulations reveal for the first time the definitive numbers of all denominations of war-era Ottoman notes that were printed for circulation. Research continues into the identity of the original owner but there is strong evidence to suggest that this collection of specimens was compiled by Huseyin Cahid the Vice-President of the Ottoman Parliament, as it mirrors all the circulation issues that bear his signature. Cahid was a vehement nationalist who vetted the proposed new banknotes very closely, and so it is likely that he kept a reference collection of specimens for this purpose. He studied the notes intensely and falsely accused a rival parliamentarian, Voskan Martikaian, the head of the Post - Telegraph Service, of conspiring to include secret Armenian codes in their designs. According to the list, the total numbers of notes printed for circulation were: 50,000 liras – 40; 1,000 liras – 5,210; 500 liras – 25,670; 100 liras – 243,250; 50 liras – 362,100; 25 liras – 728,200; 10 liras – 2,024,675; 5 liras – 5,347,000; 2-1/2 liras – 4,036,000; 1 lira – 46,050,000; 1/2 lira – 28,492,400; 1/4 lira – 9,970,000; 20 piastres – 21,875,000; 5 piastres – 73,400,000. Thus, a grand total of 208,588,450 liras were printed with 156,000,000 put into circulation and 52,588,450 held in reserve. The 50,000 Lira of AH1332 (1916) is the key note in the collection and was the highest value note of its time being the equivalent of fifty-thousand 100 Kurush gold coins which equated to an actual gold weight of 10,570 Troy ounces. In 1916 Gold traded for around USD $21.00 per ounce and so a 50,000 Lira note with a denominated value of almost USD $222,000 would have represented a Sultan's ransom. Gold today has a trading range around USD $1,800 per ounce, and so this note would have a modern-day equivalent gold value of over USD $19,000,000. The list reveals that only forty of the 50,000 Lira notes were ever printed, and such is its extreme rarity, that today only a few specimens survive. Similarly, the small numbers printed of the 1,000 Lira (5,210) and the 500 Lira (25,670) and their continual heavy use up until the first notes of the new Republic replaced them in December 1927, accounts for the poor state of surviving circulated notes. The paper stock used by the German printers was of extremely poor quality and so in many instances the high-grade ‘specimen’ notes we have on offer in our Sale are the only complete examples of a denomination or type that are known to exist outside of institutional collections.
  • Condition:
  • Choice Extremely Fine, spotted paper

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January 23, 2022 12:00 PM AEDT
Paddington, Sydney, Australia

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Bid Increments
From: To: Increments:
A$0 A$249 A$5
A$250 A$999 A$10
A$1,000 A$4,999 A$25
A$5,000 A$9,999 A$50
A$10,000 + A$100