The Value of Old Money
By: Andrea Kon
Everybody knows the value of money all too well – but few appreciate the value of old money. Yet banknotes that are way past their pay-by-date regularly fetch a small fortune at auctions around the world. And as older is generally better, this makes them an excellent long-term investment option.
The Banknote Department at Spink auction house in London, England is the best place to pick up an old banknote, as they hold three specialist auctions a year. The next one, during April, will see more than 1,200 banknotes go under the hammer, expecting to raise millions of dollars. From Moroccan stirling to Iranian dinar, here's our pick of the best old money in which to invest your new money.
Rare King Farouk
One of the most interesting lots under the gavel will be a unique £10 bank note bearing the head of King Farouk of Egypt. Although its face value appears to be British sterling, the denomination was a historical hangover from British colonial days, and Egypt still bases its currency on the sterling model in the 1950s. This rare King Farouk £10 bank note was secreted away in a private archive for 62 years.
Although notes in denominations of £1, £5, £50 and £100 with the last Egyptian King’s head on were widely circulated, the £10 notes were never in general use. The reason? Despite a design and colors being approved – as shown by the handwritten date across the top – they were still awaiting issue when Farouk was overthrown in the 1952 revolution. Yet the need for this denomination in cash was so desperate, the designers cut out Farouk’s face and replaced it with Tutankhamen's sarcophagus.
This rare note has caused excitement among collectors, as it has only recently emerged from a secret archive, and is expected to exceed its estimated value of £15,000 and £20,000 ($24,500 to $33,000).
Excerpt from the original article published in March/April 2014 issue of Private Air Luxury Homes.