On October 2, 2019, the famous auction house Spink & Son will offer a new sale of world banknotes: "World Banknotes, Auction # 19024". In this sale, the lot # 939 on page 130 of the PDF catalog caught our attention. This is a remarkable copy of a 1,000 francs type 1944 "Flag back" (Ref. Pick: # 120a, Fayette-Dessal: # VF.22.01 or Schwan-Boling: # 148). The note is announced in UNC grade with the commentary: "uncirculated and rare especially in this grade".
This 1,000 francs type 1944 is well referenced in the Numizon inventory with 64 copies but in any other grade than that announced above! After verifications, we found that the note was sold in VF/XF grade for € 650.00 in the Beaussant-Lefèvre Auction, Drouot in October 14, 2016 (Lot # 211). See the screenshot of the result of the Beaussant-Lefèvre Auction below:
All the difficulty of evaluating a banknote ...
Any collector or professional knows that it is sometimes difficult to appreciate as accurately as the grade of a banknote that is presented to you and the point of view may vary from one individual to another. From experience, we know thata difference of half a state, or even a state, is often the margin of error accepted in an assessment between two people in good faith. In this case, the house Spink can not be mistaken at this point on the grade of the note and has probably evaluated in good faith!
The banknote would have been retouched between the two sales?
If we compare the photos of the 2016 note with the photo of the 2019 note, there is at least one striking difference: the note paper that was probably yellowed by the years suddenly turned white!
This observation suggests that the note was washed; the paper of these American notes is known to be quite thick and it can easily withstand intensive washing. And then, even if this is the only embellishment operation performed in the end, we have a note classified as VF/XF and it should include at least one pronounced vertical fold, pinholes and traces of traffic that we should see!
In conclusion, this copy can definitely not be classified in a UNC grade, at best in XF+ grade with the mention "cleaned and flattened" and is unfortunately not the "fabulous especially rare banknote" announced by Spink. False joy also for many collectors who look for a long time this note in perfect grade ... A single copy known numbered "33861908" and sold € 2,058.00 in the Jean-Paul Vannier catalog of October 1984 (Lot # 1285).