Emergency notes issued for Reunion by the Colonial Treasury are very rare. Few copies are offered for sale and when the opportunity arises, any serious and advanced collector of French colony banknotes must return these marvels to their filing cabinets! So now is the time to act, as a 50 centimes 1884 Type I (1) banknote is currently for sale on eBay for a buy-it-now price of AU $ 3,500.00, or around US $ 2,543 (eBay item number: # 274920870778). The seller therefore seems to know perfectly well the rarity of his banknote ... But you can always try to negotiate!
Two signature combinations
This single-sided and watermarked note was issued by decree of May 2, 1879 in Saint-Denis, June 4, 1884. Its dimensions are not imposing: 114 x 78 mm. Printed in monochrome black on cream paper, the front of the note consists of a simple frame with a repeating geometric pattern. In the upper left corner, a red stamp "TRÉSOR PUBLIC - RÉUNION - Bons de caisse - Décret du 2 mai 1879". The letter value “CINQUANTE CENTIMES” is printed in the center. At the bottom of the note, the words “La contre-valeur en espèces est déposée au Trésor (The cash equivalent is deposited in the Treasury)”. Finally, the banknote has no numbering.
Two possible signature variants:
- The Delegate of the Director of the Interior: Campenon and The Treasurer-Payer: Drouet.
- The Delegate of the Director of the Interior: Campenon and The Treasurer-Payer: Veyrières.
The second Campenon-Veyrières signature combination has still not been found! (Ref. Pick # 5b, Kolsky: # 448b, The Banknote Book: # B101b).
All banknotes issued by the Colonial Treasury are not numbered. It is therefore quite perilous to attempt to make a precise inventory of them since the copies are possibly confused. However, the Numizon database lists 7 known copies with the first combination of Campenon-Drouet signatures:
- 1 copy in F/VF grade seen in private collection.
- 1 copy in VF grade stuck in a small collection booklet (see Note). This copy, which illustrates the Numizon card, is accompanied by another note unfortunately stuck on the front page ... to illustrate the blank back of the previous note, a shame! We therefore cannot count this stupidly mutilated note in the inventory ...
- 1 copy in VG grade corresponding to the note currently for sale on ebay!
- 1 copy in unknown grade illustrating the type on page 172 of M. Kolsky's book (2).
- 1 copy in unknown grade illustrating the type on page 1002 of World Paper Money (3).
- 1 copy in VG grade sold for € 862.00 in 2006 at cgb.fr, catalog Paper-Money # 8 (lot # p08_0087).
- 1 copy in XF/AU grade sold for € 1,700.00 at cgb.fr (lot # b54_0025).
Note: cover and first page of a small booklet containing a collection of notes and treasury bills from Reunion island, including two copies of the 50 centimes 1884 type I mentioned in the inventory. All the banknotes presented in this exceptional and unique booklet are pasted on their page and accompanied by another copy to serve as the back! As a reminder, one of our first articles dated August 20, 2019 presents a 10-franc Green Type 1873 note also from this booklet.
(1) Catalog references: Pick # 5a, Kolsky: # 448a, The Banknote Book: # B101a.
(2) “The D.O.M-T.O.M banknotes” by Maurice Kolsky, second edition. Collection "History of French Paper Money", 2006.
(3) “Pick”, Standard Catalog of World Paper Money, 1368-1960, 12th edition.