The Bruce Smart Collection of Uncommon Commonwealth
SPINK LONDON | Spink is delighted to once again introduce one of Bruce Smart's many banknote collections. On the25th April, Spink is offering the first half of his superb group of British Commonwealth. As a collector, Bruce was certainly discerning. The material showcased here is of far higher quality than the majority found on the market today, to the extent that when cataloguing the collection it was often incredibly difficult to find records of notes with comparable dates or grades. This level of commitment to finding only the best material requires a huge amount of patience. It took Bruce many years to acquire these notes, but I think we can all agree that the result was worth the wait.
Bruce expressed that:
My interest in Commonwealth notes traces to my study of African history and exploration, and the key roles played by the British explorers and colonialists. My collection of British Africa soon expanded to the rest of the Empire with strong representation by the Caribbean countries and British Honduras, and Fiji in the Southern Pacific.
Bruce had a preference for notes issued before 1970. Upon looking through page after page of beautifully designed, fully engraved and wonderfully coloured notes, it is immediately obvious why this is the case. Commonwealth notes of this period were almost all printed by the three British greats, Bradbury Wilkinson, Thomas De La Rue and of course, Waterlow & Sons. Amongst my personal favourites are the East Africa 100 shillings of Elizabeth II and the Bahamas 10 shillings of George V, both supreme examples of the engraver's art.
The main features of Commonwealth notes are generally portraits of the Monarchs - George V, George VI or Elizabeth II. Most series feature remarkably little beside this portrait and the value of the note, alongside maybe a coat of arms. It is therefore interesting that Bruce's favourite note is lot 602, the British Guiana $10 pictured below. This series is unusual in that the King's head is on the reverse and in the centre, leaving the front free for other design elements. The $10 was printed in amongst the most expensive of all ink colours, deep blue-black, and the contrast between that and the colourful background mean it immediately stands out from the crowd. The majority of surviving examples feature either embossed cancellations or severe folds across the King's face and the fact that this one does not, numbers it amongst the finest examples ever seen.
Lot 602, estimated: £10,000 - 15,000
This sale also has an element of charitable good-will, as Bruce has decided that:
My proceeds from this auction will be donated to the Delaware Humane Association, a non-profit, no-kill animal care and adoption centre that was founded in 1957 and is dedicated to finding good homes for dogs and cats. This charity has been supported by the Smart family since moving to Delaware in 1970 to start my career with the DuPont Co.
I have no doubt that any collector of the countries included here can find something to add to their collection. We look forward to welcoming many of you to London personally on sale day, and wish you the best of luck with your bidding.
For more Information, please contact Andrew Pattison:
Tel: +44 (0)20 7563 4044 | Email: [email protected]
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