Stack’s Bowers Galleries is happy to announce the offering of a first-issue British Honduras One Dollar note in their official auction of the 2018 New York International Numismatic Convention (NYINC), January 12-13 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel. The note is open to the public for the first time since it has been in private hands since the mid-1890s.
The 1894 British Honduras One Dollar issued notes are prohibitively rare: only three pieces are known, including this one. The other two are the Pick plate note, which is in abysmal condition, and one that is reputed to be part of a private British Honduras collection. No issued example of any of the five higher values has ever come to light.
First-issue British Honduras notes in any form are absent from all of the world’s greatest collections. This issued 1894 example clearly rivals in rarity, exclusivity, and desirability even such major pieces as the much-vaunted Zanzibar notes. The Zanzibar series ran for 20 years, while the 1894 British Honduras issue was destroyed after two months. For the British Honduras, the note issuance was scaled for an insignificant colonial backwater with a minuscule population and economy, while for centuries Zanzibar was one of the world’s major spice sources and slave exporters, and also an international seaport at the nexus of the trade routes of Africa, Arabia, India, and the Orient. However, this One Dollar 1894 British Honduras note is the sole issued example in the PMG population report, while the Zanzibar pieces have a greater population.
This desirable note displays balanced centering and elaborate manuscript signatures are present. It is signed by E.(nerst) B.(ickham) Sweet-Escott, as Colonial Secretary (later Governor) of British Honduras. Additional signatures are C.(arlos) Melhado, and H.(enry) C.(harles) Usher.
The design showcases stylized floral borders, intricate lathe work, and stars within a circle. Also, shown are the Crown, above CC (Crown Colony) watermarks. PMG mentions splits and rust in the comments section; these are more noticeable on the reverse. They also mention an “ink stamp”. However, PMG did not realize that this stamp is officially printed, indicating the city of issue, Belize, and the date OC(tober) 17, (18)94. The left margin is serrated where the counterfoil was once attached.
At the Stack’s Bowers auction, the One Dollar note being offered bears an important, unbroken provenance to Albert E. Morlan, the American Consul in the city of Belize, British Honduras through two appointments in the late 19th century.
This important British Honduras note will be a highlight of the Stack’s Bowers Galleries January 12-13 International Auction in New York City.