On April 6, 2021 at cgb.fr, during the April 2021 Live Auction Banknotes, a banknote from the Central Bank of the States of Equatorial Africa and Cameroon achieved the exceptional price of € 4,200 (1). This is a 5,000 francs type 1963 (2) numbered W.41-441 with the letter D for Gabon (Lot # 4450174). The note was estimated at € 600. This copy in aUNC grade, will therefore have multiplied its rating by 7 to set a new price record. To try to understand the result of this sale, we went back in time ...
In 1959, the Issuing Institute of French Equatorial Africa and Cameroon was replaced by the Central Bank of the States of Equatorial Africa and Cameroon. In 1963, the name of the central bank changed again to become the Central Bank of Equatorial African States. The new institute will issue 5 new banknotes of 100, 500, 1,000, 5,000 and 10,000 francs which will be put into circulation for Chad, the Central African Republic, Congo and Gabon. In order to distinguish the banknotes, each country is assigned a letter which will be printed at the bottom right of the serial number:
|Central African Republic||B|
5,000 francs type 1963
We are in the presence of a magnificent multicolored banknote with generous dimensions (172 x 111 mm). Designed by Pierrette Lambert and engraved by Marliat for the front and by Poilliot for the back, the note is richly decorated and illustrated with detailed scenes from everyday life in equatorial Africa. The front has a frame decorated with colorful patterns. On the left, a portrait of a young boy holding a paper in the name of the Customs Union (UNION DOUANIERE) in his hand. In the background, four young men are busy preparing cocoa pods, cotton husks, sacks of coffee and bunches of bananas that litter the ground while waiting to be shipped. On the side, a shepherd and his herd of cows. In the background, a view of the Basilica of Sainte-Anne of Brazzaville, a minaret and a village of huts in the African countryside.
The back symbolizes both the tradition with a carved wooden tribal statuette and the industrial development of the States of Equatorial Africa symbolized by modern means of transport (boat, plane, train or tractor) and infrastructure (bridge, port of trade and high voltage power line), under the benevolent gaze of a wise old man smoking his pipe and the text of the law written in French.
By consulting the sales history (3) concerning the 5,000 francs type 1963 with the letter D (for Gabon), we note that the banknote is very rarely offered for sale: 4 times at Heritage Auctions, 3 times at cgb. fr and once at Stack's Bowers. We found the photos of 4 other copies, but without price and / or grade information for a total of 13 copies known to date:
|P-6d||Bank Note Museum||-||-||-||T.16 D||043||-|
|P-6d||Heritage Auctions||87080||840.00||USD||H.139 D||607||PMG 53|
|P-6d||Heritage Auctions||28184||2,040.00||USD||H.139 D||618||PMG 58 EPQ|
|P-6d||PMG Notes||-||-||-||M.183 D||450||-|
|P-6d||Heritage Auctions||26385||1,116.00||USD||Z.183 D||749||PCGS 53 PPQ|
|P-6d||Private Collection||-||-||-||B.217 D||194||XF+?|
|P-6d||Stack's Bowers||40375||1,080.00||USD||Z.225 D||382||PMG 58|
|P-6d||The Banknote Book||-||-||-||Z.231 D||679||-|
|P-6d||Heritage Auctions||26749||1,116.00||USD||L.232 D||183||PMG 40 NET|
PMG Population Report
The note sold at cgb.fr is not graded, but that will probably not be long ... We only found 4 of the 6 graded banknotes in the PMG Population Report:
- PMG 40 NET = 1 note,
- PMG 45 = 1 note,
- PMG 55 = 1 note,
- PMG 58 = 1 note,
- PMG 58 EPQ = 1 note,
- PMG 64 EPQ = 1 note.
The € 600 estimate offered in the sale undoubtedly masked the real scarcity of the banknote and the attention of some potential buyers. If we observe the prices achieved by the copies in the previous table, we also see that the ratings of known reference works are also ineffective with the reality of the market. Let us put aside the Leclerc-Kolsky catalog, already dated (with a publication in 2000) and indicating only a quotation in VF grade and in francs, we can see that the quotation proposed in World Paper Money is $ 1,150 for an UNC note (with an illustration of a copy of our score). Regarding The Banknote Book, Mr. Linzmayer does not indicate a rating for this variant with the letter D ... A precaution synonymous with rarity? For indication, the note with the letter A (for Chad) is quoted 950 $ in UNC grade! A copy of this type, also estimated at € 600, numbered Z.25 A - 966 and classified in aUNC grade, also found a buyer at a price of € 2,400 at the same cgb.fr sale (lot # 4450172).
Savvy collectors were therefore not mistaken with 6 participants for the 5,000 francs Letter D and 13 participants for the 5,000 francs Letter A. It is a very good dynamic for African banknotes and other cases may soon have some nice surprises in store for us ... So be ready!
(1) By adding cgb.fr's sales fees of around 12%, the final note price rises to € 4,704!
(2) Known references: Pick: # 6d, Leclerc-Kolsky: # LK557d, The Banknote Book: # B204d.
(3) All our data collected comes from digital sources. We did not consult any sales catalogs in paper form. Our results are therefore partial and undoubtedly incomplete!
- "Les billets de la zone franc" by Roger Leclerc and Maurice Kolsky, 376 pages. Victor Gadoury Editions, 2000 (out of print).
- "Equatorial African States" Standard Catalog of World Paper Money, 1961 - Present, 17th edition (pages 345 to 346).
- "Equatorial African States" by Owen W. Linzmeyer.
- Photos archive: Bank Note Museum, cgb.fr, Colnect.com, Heritage Auctions, PMG notes, Stack's Bowers and The Banknote Book.