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Highlights of the Stack's Bowers Panamanian sale: Panamanian notes

Four rare 1941 Panama bank notes were among the top 10 results of the Stack's Bowers Galleries Aug.21 American Numismatic Association currency auction. The sale was held at the company's Costa Mesa office, California, and not the ANA convention in Illinois.

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Highlights of the Stack's Bowers Panamanian sale: Panamanian notes

The Hamilton Banknote Company printed the colorful notes in New York. They were part of the "Arias Issue." Dr. Arnulfo Arias was the president of Panama three times. His first term ran from June 1940 through Oct. 9, 1941 when he was overthrown by the military. He authorized private banks to issue paper currency during that brief period, but Banco Central Emision de la Republica de Panama was the only one. It was authorized to issue six million balboas worth currency. On Oct. 2, 1941, approximately 3 million balboas of face value were released. The bank was shut down after Arias's ouster. Most of the currency was destroyed.

The bank issued 1- to 20-balboa, 5-, 10- and 10-balboa bills. Paper Money Guaranty graded all of the rare notes at the auction.

Auctioneers included the finest Republic of Panama 20balboa paper note. This note was sold with an ox cart in its central vignette for $43,200 in Extremely Finest 45 Exceptional Quality.

The 10 balboa note depicting Old Panama Cathedral in Panama City in Gem Uncirculated65 is the most valuable of the 12 grades assigned by the service. It was worth $36,000

It was the highest-graded 5-balboa Note, and included a statue of Urraca the Native Chieftain. It was sold in Gem Uncirculated66 for $30,000

In the same condition as the 1-balboa notes, the auction's highest-graded example is also available. It includes the famed armored bust Vasco Nunez De Balboa. The note was worth $14,400

There were two additional Arias issues, but they were lower-graded. A 1-balboa Note in Choice Uncirculated 64 was offered for $9,600, and a 5-balboa Note in Very Fine 30, were offered for $9,900.

The $55,200 top note in the Stack's Bowers Galleries auction was an undated Reserve Bank of India Haj Pilgrim 100-rupee issue issue from 1959. It is the most valuable known in About Uncirculated 50. This note was issued by India in 1947 after India gained independence from Britain. It was prohibited for Indian currency to be carried on pilgrimage to Mecca due to fear of smuggling.

These notes had the same design as regular issues, except that they were red. They also featured the word "HAJ", printed on the reverse, and the serial numbers prefixed with the letters HA. Although they weren't legal tender in India they could be converted back into rupees and English pounds.

India also issued a 10-rupee note, and Pakistan printed Haj currency.

A Dominion of Canada $2 Note from 1897 in Gem Uncirculated 64 sold for $43,200. The attractive design features six fishermen on a small boat spearing fish in a single vignette and a portrait of Edward VII, Prince of Wales.

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