1000 Ariary on 5000 francs Type 1961

Inventory of a rare Malagasy banknote

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Famoaham-Bolan'ny Repoblika Malagasy

On June 26, 1960, the colony of Madagascar gained its independence from France and became the Malagasy Republic. A new Malagasy Issuing Institute (MII) is founded and authorized to coin money. In 1962, a provisional issue was put into circulation from five banknotes of the Bank of Madagascar and the Comoros. Banknotes of 50, 100, 500, 1000 and 5000 francs Type 1950 are overprinted in black in French and in Malagasy "Institut d'Émission Malgache", "Famoaham-Bolan'ny Repoblika Malagasy" as well as their value in letters and numbers. The Malagasy ariary becomes the new monetary unit of account and is introduced with an exchange of 5 ariary for 1 franc.

The 1000 Ariary / 5000 francs Type 1950 modified 1961 (1) note is therefore the fifth note in this series overprinted from the 5000 francs Type 1950 of the Bank of Madagascar and the Comoros (2). The original note was designed by French artist Clément Serveau (1886-1972) and engraved by Munier and Marlat for the front and by Baudier for the back. Its dimensions are 170 x 110 mm. It is a multicolored note predominantly yellow and orange. On the front, a medallion portrait of the French soldier and colonial administrator Joseph Simon Gallieni (1849-1916). In the center, a scene representing Malagasy women at work in a rice paddy field. On the right in an oval medallion, a portrait of a young Bara with braided hair. On the back are a group of six traditional huts from the northwest coast of Madagascar and a young Sakalavian mother with braided hair and carrying her baby on her back. The banknote is richly illustrated with a mosaic of colorful geometric patterns.



Two variants of dates and signatures

This banknote exists in two dates: 30-06-1950 (Ref. Pick: # 55a) and 23-11-1955 (Ref. Pick: # 55b). The first reference contains the signatures of the Chief Controller (Contrôleur Général), André Dejouany and the Chief Officer (Directeur Général), Maurice Gonon. The second reference contains the signatures of the Deputy Chief Officer (Directeur Général Adjoint), Louis Robert Dupont and the Chairman and Chief Officer (Président Directeur Général), Maurice Gonon. See the graphology of the different signatures below:


Specimens and proofs

The specimen with the signatures of the year 1950 has not yet been found. For the moment, we only know of 2 copies of the specimen bearing the signatures of the year 1955 with the Deputy Chief Officer, Louis Robert Dupont and the Chairman and Chief Officer, Maurice Gonon. The note is dated "00-00-0000", numbered "O.00-000" and perforated "SPECIMEN" horizontally (see the copy of our database illustrated above). We only know of one proof! This is dated "00-00-0000", numbered "O.00-000" but not perforated and not watermarked:



Numizon inventory

To carry out this study, we listed the banknotes sold between 1995 and 2020 by several auction houses (3) and two copies found in illustration at Bank Note Museum. The number of currently known banknotes amounts to 26 copies which we detail in the table below:

ReferenceSeriesShort numberGrade
P-55aW.85824PMG 40
P-55bQ.157605PMG 40 (See Note)

Nota : Copy Q.157-605 has a grading error (indicated as Pick # 49b instead of Pick # 55b).

Numizon analysis

In some reference catalogs, it is incorrectly stated that the reference from 30-06-1950 (Ref. Pick: # 55a) is less rare than the reference from 23-11-1955 (Ref. Pick: # 55b). For us, the figures are fairly balanced since we count 12 banknotes from the year 1950 and 14 banknotes from the year 1955. The two variants therefore have the same rarity.

Prior to this first study, ranges of alphabets were not known to distinguish the two variants. From now on, we can already start from these figures:

  • Pick # 55a: W.80 to F.136.
  • Pick # 55b: A.149 to C.191.

The number of copies issued is still unknown. Finds are always possible, but this note of 1000 Ariary / 5000 francs Type 1950 modified 1961 remains very rare especially in good quality. We can also observe rather flattering prices for the only two banknotes in aUNC grade, the X.175-509 and the C.191-992 which made $ 3,245 and € 3,600 respectively in 2017 and 2019 (4). Note that no copy of 30-06-1950 is known above the VF grade!

We end with information for the attention of all collectors of this note from Madagascar. The W.80-775 copy is currently for sale on our site for $ 400. The note is not in exceptional quality (estimated F grade by the seller) but it is currently the smallest number known for the type!


(1) Known references: Pick: # 55, Leclerc-Kolsky: # 841-842 and The Banknote Book: # B105.
(2) Known references: Pick: # 49, Leclerc-Kolsky: # 831-832 and The Banknote Book: # B105.
(3) cgb.fr, Christoph Gärtner, Heritage Auctions, Lyn Knight Auctions, Spink, Stack's Bowers.
(4) See the Numizon archives of this banknote.

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