20 francs Neptune type 1888

A note of the Bank of Indochina for New Caledonia

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As this reference does not yet exist in the numizon catalog, here is a precise description: the 20 francs Neptune type 1888 (Ref. Kolsky-Muszynski # 405 or Pick # 20a) was designed by Alfred-Henri Bramtot and Georges Duval and engraved by Charles Wullschleger. These dimensions are: 180 x 92 mm. On the front: the entire vignette is printed in blue. The issuing institute, date, value and signatures are printed in red. The alphabet and number are printed in black. On the left, the god Neptune holds a trident in his hand and sits on two fantastic monsters. Above in a floral frame, the value in figures repeated twice and the watermark with a profile Mercury head. Two signatures with an Administrator: Albert de Monplanet and The Director: René Thion de la Chaume. Back: blue monochrome printing. Two celestial dragons oppose by hugging each one a round and white vignette. In the middle, article 139 of the Penal Code is reproduced twice. At the bottom in a rectangle the text "BANK OF INDO-CHINA" is repeated continuously. On the sides, the value "20 francs" in a white cartridge is printed twice.

Issue dates:

  1. Pick # 20a: January 3, 1921. Signatures: Albert de Monplanet / René Thion de la Chaume.
  2. Pick # 20b: June 2, 1924. Signatures: identical as Pick # 20a.
  3. Pick # 20c: June 2, 1925. Signatures: identical as Pick # 20a.
  4. Pick # 20s: Specimen signed and numbered 0.00 - 000 and perforated "SPECIMEN" in vertical left.


This banknote is very rare. Here is a provisional inventory divided for the three dates of issue:

  1. 1921: 4 known copies: A.16-154 (CANCELLED), F.17-577, R.17-017, D.19-490.
  2. 1924: 4 known copies: H.22-308, Y.22-397, Z.23-597, P.24-006.
  3. 1925: 5 known copies: J.26-867, W.27-234, Z.28-036, Z.28-044, H.30-285.
  4. Specimen: 2 known copies: the first was offered at cgb.fr at the sale Papier-Monnaie # 4 of 2004 (lot p04_0030) with the cashier number "2" written in ink on the back. The second copy illustrates an article of Numismag as preserved in the archives of IEOM and with the cashier number "1" written in Indian ink on the back!

We have presented the 20 francs Neptune Type 1888 because a copy of January 3, 1921 is currently on sale on ebay for a few hours. This would be the 4th copy for the date and the 13th copy for the Type. The price requested by the seller is $ 9999. This price is undoubtedly completely wacky. But this note presents an interesting and unpublished feature. Indeed, the ticket which is numbered "A.16-154" is perforated "CANCELLED" and the watermark is completely obliterated! We know from a collector that another copy is known from the same alphabet "A.16" and also perforated "CANCELLED" and obliterated to the location of the watermark. We are therefore perhaps in the presence of a variant not described in the Pick, or in the reference work " Les billets de la Banque de l'Indochine " of MM. Kolsky and Muszynski and neither in the Banknote book of Mr. Owen W. Linzmayer!


For your information, two of the 4 banknotes of year 1921 are currently available for immediate purchase at cgb.fr at prices much more attractive than the note for sale on ebay: the copy "F.17-577" is proposed to € 1,700.00 in F/VF grade and the copy "D.19-490" is proposed to € 1,000.00 in F grade.

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