Once he has gone through the findable notes, the collector of notes from the old colonies often turns to issues from independent countries.
For Tunisia, the collection of notes issued after independence, proclaimed on March 20, 1956, turns out to be very interesting.With a little less than 40 different types without declination of signatures, a complete collection is accessible, almost all of the issues from 1972 being without difficulty in perfect condition, some can even be supplied by the Central Bank of Tunisia itself. In addition, many small numbers have been kept. Finally, replacement notes complete the package.
However, Tunisian paper numismatics, both before and after independence, remains poorly understood. For the period of the French protectorate, I had thus demonstrated, in the “Numismatic Bulletin #135 of cgb.fr (page 34-35 only in french)”, the existence of the vintage 1951 for the 1000F “Roman temples of Sbeïtla”, discovered only in 2014 and still listed just 2 copies!
For sovereign Tunisia, the 1st series of 1958-1962, which concretizes monetary independence, is the most difficult to assemble, especially in excellent condition. It follows the establishment, on September 19, 1958, of the Central Bank of Tunisia, and the creation, on October 18, of the Tunisian dinar, which replaces the Tunisian franc. It has only 3 values: ½, 1 and 5 dinars, with an exchange rate at the time of around 10 French francs for a dinar. They are therefore small values, contrasting with the last series of the protectorate, which offered a very wide range: 20F "Arabesques - green", 50F "Arabesques - blue & pink" (see for these 2 notes my article in the "Numismatic Bulletin #141 of cgb.fr (pages 32 to 34 only in french) ", 100F "Hermes", 500F "Winged Victory", 1000F "Roman temples of Sbeïtla", and 5000F "Vespasien"; however, their average size proportionally larger than that of the French series seems to indicate a greater liberating value for the new standard of living of the population. From a descriptive point of view, these three Tunisian values are monochrome, include the portrait, in western costume, of Habib Bourguiba then aged 55 years, and are signed by Managing Director Mansour Moalla & Governor Hédi Nouira. The series will be replaced by the next one, dated 1965 and issued in 1966, then will be completely demonetized in October 1968 .
The three types of 5 Dinars
While the ½ dinar and the 1 dinar kept the same characteristics all the time of their issue, the 5 dinars had 3 types, of which I did not find the motivations. The fact remains that the size and the background design remain identical, with the portrait on the right for the front, the watermark area at the top left and below, the view of a bridge over the Mellegue river at Souk-el-Arba (Jendouba since 1966), a bridge which no longer seems to exist today with the same infrastructure. The reverse shows arches inside the Great Mosque of Kairouan on the left, and an olive branch on the right, a symbol of peace and Tunisian agriculture. On the other hand :
- the 1st Type (Pick: # 59) is brown. It has the same characteristics as the ½ dinar and the 1 dinar. Thus, it is undated (1958-59) and has on the front 3 times the value in “Arabic” figures (in fact in Indian figures: “٥”) and the numbering is written in both "Arabic" and "Western" numbers (actually Arabic!) and ranges from C / 1 000001 to C / 8 999999, or approximately 8 million issued notes. It was demonetized in May 1962.
- the 2nd Type (Pick: # 60) is always brown in color, but the date of 1-11-1960 is printed in the center of the front, the value is now 3 times in "western" numbers ("5") and the numbering is only in "western" numbers: it continues the previous numbering and goes from C / 9 000001 to C / 9 999999, or about 1 million banknotes printed. Put into circulation at the beginning of 1962, it will be withdrawn on May 21, 1962 before demonetization on May 28, 1962, a lifetime of 5 months at most!
- the 3rd Type (Pick: # 61) is blue and the date printed is 20-3-1962. The numbering continues the previous one and theoretically begins at C / 10 000001. However, I do not know any copy of the alphabets 10, 11 and 12; the largest alphabet, however, is the 24th, producing around 12 to 15 million copies. This note will circulate until the demonetization of the series in 1968.
In practice, the 1st Type is the easiest to find, with several copies permanently on sale. The third, despite the offer of a batch of 23 copies in F grade in 2015 by Christoph Gärtner, remains uncommon. The 2nd Type is by far the rarest in independent Tunisia. I only know of 15 copies, the largest with the number C / 9 620953, which for the time being suggests that only the first 2 thirds of the printed notes have actually been put into circulation. To fix the ideas, I estimate that this type, not hoarded and with a very short lifespan, is R3 / R4 and is rarer than the "Apollon of Tunis", hoarding note now well known with 56 listed copies (see my article in the "Numismatic Bulletin # 144 of cgb.fr (page 34-36 only in french)".
This shows the remarkable nature of the copy from the last cgb.fr sale, n ° C / 9 257843 (see previous photos), estimated AU+, which makes it one of the 3 most beautiful copies known for the type. In fact, the only 2 copies currently listed by PMG are graded 64 EPQ, a similar condition; one of the 2, offered by Heritage Auctions in August 2019, bears the number C / 9 294118 and is therefore not linked to that of cgb.fr: it sold for $ 1170 including fees. In parallel, there are currently only two sales on auction sites, with 1 first note estimated XF / AU but whose photo rather pleads for an F / VF, offered at $ 260. For comparison, that of cgb.fr, very modestly estimated at € 300, returned less than € 250 to the buyer: a very good deal! The second banknote, detected by numizon.com, is offered at a price of € 110 in VF grade (but rather VG grade according to the photos).
The information that I have just delivered should be an encouragement for collectors: alongside the real rarities (I am not talking about the many banknotes regularly presented as rare but of which several hundred copies are known), which will always be expensive, there are still thanks to knowledge, it is possible to continue buying interest denominations at proportionately low prices, including in international sales where collectors around the world are theoretically in competition!