Rare Hong Kong National Bank of China Limited Issue
Hong Kong National Bank of China Limited 5 Dollars 2.5.1894
KNB1a Pick 247a.
An exceedingly rare example from this small bank. Though the majority of banks operating during the late Empire era were either foreign or local Chinese, this example issued by the crown colony of Hong Kong is certainly a rare exception. This well capitalized private bank with "Hong Kong" in its Chinese name was formed by ethnic Chinese businessmen who had an interest in the newly opened Qing market. In order to compete with the foreign banks operating at the time, the National Bank of China Limited solicited the help of Waterlow and Sons, who designed and printed these notes.
Unfortunately, this first Hong Kong bank had its history cut short. Just a few years after its founding in 1891, the March 1895 Note Issuing Bank Act removed its powers to issue banknotes, transferring it to larger players including the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation and the Chartered Bank. Thus, only one issue, this 1894 dated issue, was issued, with the remainder largely redeemed.
With less than a handful of notes known to the collecting community, this is a potentially once-in-a-lifetime example to acquire a piece of history of the utmost rarity. The Hong Kong Museum of History has an example of this banknote in its collection, which signifies the historic importance of this rare issue. Additionally, we could only find two other examples from this bank issuer that have been certified by the grading companies. The PMG Census shows a fully printed date example graded Fine 15 Net with rust damage and PCGS graded a partial date example as Apparent Fine 15 with ink stains and minor damage. The PCGS example crossed the auction block in September 2015 with a price realization of $60,904. With notes from this bank making only ephemeral appearances on the world stage and holding the finest grade, this eye appealing rarity should well surpass our conservative estimate. PMG Very Fine 30 with mention of minor restorations and annotations.
出自這家小銀行的一枚極其珍罕的紙幣。大清帝國晚期，絕大多數運行中的銀行非外商即本土，這枚由英屬香港發行的紙幣自然是一個特別的例外。有意在新興的晚清市場開疆闢土的華商，開辦了這家中文名包含「香港」二字的私有銀行，資金充足。為與當時的外商銀行競爭，香港中華匯理便求助於華德路公司，後者便設計並印製了這些鈔票。然而這家香港最早的銀行卻不幸夭折。就在1891年創立後不久，它的紙幣發行權就被1895年3月《法定貨幣紙幣發行條例》解除，轉給包括匯豐、渣打在內的更大的銀行。因此，1894年發行的這版鈔票就成為絕唱，而其庫存票多數被贖回。這枚罕見紙幣在藏家群體中屈指可數，顯示重要歷史意義。此外，我們僅找到兩枚經評級機構鑑定的例子。PMG數量報告有一枚獲評Fine 15 Net帶銹損，PCGS則評出一枚Fine 15可見墨水染色及少量破損的例子。PCGS的那一枚曾以$60904的成交價拍出。鑒於出自該銀行的紙幣在世界舞台上曇花一現，這枚吸引視線的罕見紙幣的價格應超過我們的保守估計。PMG提及這枚有少量修復及註記，獲評為PMG Very Fine 30，也是目前所見之最佳品相，極之珍罕，藏家不容錯過。
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