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Auction 24038  10 Jul 2024
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Lot 3

Starting price: 28 000 GBP
Price realized: 130 000 GBP
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(x) Imperial Bank of Persia, [Top Pop] complete set of 1st series Qajar Remainder banknotes [11 notes] comprising all denominations,
[Top Pop] remainder 1 Toman, ND (1890-1896)
[Top Pop] remainder 2 Tomans, ND (1890-1923)
[Top Pop] remainder 3 Tomans, ND (1890-1923)
[Top Pop] remainder 5 Tomans, ND (1890-1923)
[Top Pop] remainder 10 Tomans, ND (1890-1923)
[Top Pop] remainder 20 Tomans, ND (1890-1923)
[Top Pop] remainder 25 Tomans, ND (1890-1923)
[Top Pop] remainder 50 Tomans, ND (1890-1923)
[Top Pop] remainder 100 Tomans, ND (1890-1923)
[Top Pop] remainder 500 Tomans, ND (1890-1923)
[Top Pop] remainder 1000 Tomans, ND (1890-1923)

It is with great honour that we present this complete set of remainder notes, which, amidst the other illustrious rarities in this collection, shines as the brightest star.

Engraved and printed by Bradbury, Wilkinson & Co. in London, these notes are pencil dated 19th June 1892. They remain unsigned, unnumbered, and without usual seals, retaining their original vibrant production colours. Each note showcases a portrait of Naser al-Din Shah Qajar, the fourth Shah of the Qajar dynasty, alongside the iconic Lion-and-Sun motif, symbolising the Persian monarchy. The denominations range from 1 Toman to 1,000 Tomans, each with distinct colours and patterns. Within this series, the 1 Toman with the 'ONE' on the back instead of the usual 'LION' has a special place. During 1890 - 1896, the back of the 1 TOMANS were ONE instead of the more known Lion. To our knowledge the total number of issued banknotes was very low, making these banknotes amongst the rarest in the Persian banknote history.

The provenance of this extraordinary set is notable, and has as much significance as the banknotes themselves. It comes from the distinguished Sassoon family archives. (Please refer to the original letters of correspondence attached in the lot). David Solomon Sassoon (D. S. Sassoon) was born into a family often referred to as the 'Rothschilds of the East'. He is renowned for his extensive contributions to Jewish scholarship and cultural preservation, owning one of the world's greatest private collections of Hebrew manuscripts and rare books. His immense collection of Hebrew and Samaritan manuscripts includes treasures such as the Fahri Bible; a beautifully illuminated 14th century manuscript with exquisite carpet pages and gold lettering.

The Imperial Bank of Persia was officially established in 1889 after negotiations between Baron Julius de Reuter and the Persian Government. The bank was granted a state concession by the Shah of Persia, giving it the exclusive right to issue banknotes. It was primarily funded by British interests, notably the Reuter group. The establishment of the bank marked a significant moment in Persian financial history, operating as a British bank headquartered in London, with its main office in Tehran (American Numismatic Society) (HSBC History).

The family had historic influence in the region and in the foundation of the Imperial Bank of Persia. In 1941, D. S. Sassoon corresponded with the bank regarding this set of remainder notes, inquiring about their currency value. The manager confirmed that the notes, being unsigned and unsealed, held no currency value and that the banknote issue was withdrawn approximately ten years earlier.

The Sassoon family connection to the Imperial Bank of Persia cannot be overlooked. As they played a key role in its foundation, it could only be speculated that due to the family's influence this is one of the earliest sets to have ever been presented to anyone. Interestingly, notes in this set bear none of the usual specimen cancellations/overprint, serial numbers, signatures or dates in print, hence further supporting the possibility that this is one of the earliest production sets presented.

This set of banknotes is truly a remarkable rarity, standing out as a centrepiece of our sale. With the inclusion of the 1-Toman note featuring 'ONE' on the back, the complete set from 1 to 1000 Tomans, and the attached historical correspondence, this lot holds exceptional significance for connoisseur collectors of Persian, Iranian banknotes and documents. Most importantly, to our knowledge neither the Central Bank nor the National Bank Museum of Iran possesses a collection similar to this one., (Pick A1r, 2r, 2Ar, 3r-10r, BNB 101, 103-112), in PMG holder 64 Choice Uncirculated (3), 62 Uncirculated (1), 58 Choice About Uncirculated (5), 55 About Uncirculated (1), 50 About Uncirculated (1), PMG remarks printer´s annotation on all notes from the set, as well as staple holes on Pick A1r and stains on Pick 10r, all notes from the set are the single finest graded on PMG Census'.

Estimate: £40000 - £80000
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