Auction: CSS41 - The Numismatic Collectors' Series sale
Chartered Mercantile Bank of India, London & China, Hong Kong Branch, $100 Hong Kong 1st Jan’y 1890, proof in black on India paper by Perkins Bacon & Co. The bank name in its new (shortened) form in the border to left and right. Inscribed “To this Oct 24th/89” in pencil below text by the printer, and an ‘x’ above ‘1st’ in the date. The bottom clipped for security by the printer so that this proof could not be mis-appropriated, signed and passed off as a genuine (black & white) issued note. A uniface proof of the greatest rarity, believed to be one of only two examples printed.
PMG 62 Uncirculated (Printer's Annotations, Previously Mounted, Signature Panel Removed). Possibly unique and a must for serious Hong Kong banknote collector. A magnificent note
While Pick lists the $5 of this type with six dates, each in three grades, to our knowledge only one Chartered Mercantile Bank issued note of any denomination has been offered in the past 25 years.
*Pick, Tan, and Ma together knew of only one issued note to illustrate, and took all their Chartered Mercantile illustrations from the Hong Kong & Shanghai Bank collection.
Tan and Ma quite correctly list any Chartered Mercantile Bank note in any form as being simply 'Extremely rare'.
*From the archives of Perkins, Bacon & Co. (1935).
*From the Spink/Christie Hong Kong sale of 29 November 1994 (Lot 69), where it was at first knocked down to a local Hong Kong bidder at HK $220,000 (US$29,333). However, after our consignor dropped out at that figure, the successful bidder "changed his mind", subsequent to which it was re-offered and knocked down to our consignor!
Historical records made available to Spink China show circulation figures for the Chartered Mercantile Bank indicating that the Mercantile Bank of India, London & China commenced circulating notes in Hong Kong on 1st August 1857. A few months later the Bank received its charter and became the Chartered Mercantile Bank of India, London & China, which in October 1858 showed a circulation of $202,246. The Bank survived the Crash of 1866, though with some difficulty, and continued in business until 1893 when the crash caused by the failure of the New Oriental Bank Corporation considerably weakened it . The Bank had to reorganize and recapitalize, in the process losing its royal charter, and reappearing as the Mercantile Bank of India.
The last date for which an issue figure appears for the Bank is January 1893 when it had dropped to $94,630 from over $1.5 million only a year earlier.
The Chartered Mercantile's notes were all paid, and as a result survivors are exceptionally rare, apparently less than five issued examples in total.
HK$300,000 to HK$400,000