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From Ukraine to Guatemala

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The recent Journal Entry from @Fenntucky Mike entitled ‘My Bankroll Is A Foot Thick…’ (2023 April 20) highlighted the amazing prices that some Ukranian banknotes are achieving at auction and I would like to add a recent Latin American example.


The note in question is a 1 peso example, from the first issue in 1892, by the Banco Comercial de Guatemala (S131). When this note appeared at the recent Daniel Sedwick auction (2023 May 3-4th, Lot1309) it had a starting price of 10,000USD and my first thoughts were that was a bit high to say the least!hm Although notes from this bank are rare, and it now resides in a World Banknote Grading AU58 holder, the same note had been sold, ungraded, in 2013 by Sincona (Auction 15, 17th October, Lot 4219) achieving a hammer price of 4000 Swiss Francs and I half expected for it to remain unsold. It turned out I could not have been more wrong doh! and the hammer price was 22,000USD.:whatthe::whatthe::whatthe:


I guess that means my well-worn example (PMG12) looks set to stay as the representative note for this bank in my ‘Impossible Set’. xD Even with this dramatic difference in grade it is still possible to see that different people added the dates for these two notes and I now know what colour it is supposed to be and what the signatures are. (thumbsu




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Woah! A fantastic note though and I assume a true rarity in that condition. 

It will be interesting to see what that note goes for if it comes back up for auction in the near future. I'm a little surprised that it drew such spirited bidding at Sedwick's, not top of mind when it comes to banknotes for me. I guess it speaks to the strength, popularity and increased demand for Guatemalan notes and the market in general. 

With availability and prices realized for condition rarities I'm more than happy to pick up circulated notes for certain examples, it just doesn't make sense do anything else for most people.

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Definitely a condition rarity, for any denomination from the bank, where all the notes I have a record of top out at low VF with most below that.

I don't think it is restricted to Guatemalan notes at all as it seems to be the case for anywhere in Latin America (and no doubt the rest of the world and even more so for British colonial notes xD). Prices for earlier notes from Venezuela and Costa Rica are attracting very high prices, particularly quality examples, and the recent flurry of Panama notes at major auctions seems to have doubled or tripled the usual price range.:(

To be fair some of the examples do not appear very often at all, and coupled with impressive grades, I wouldn't be surprised if they are the sole surviving examples at this level. So for major collectors it is probably now or never to fill that gap in the collection!

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