On November 20, 2019, the Swiss auction house Chaponnière & Firmenich will sell an exceptional proof of a note not issued and kept in reserve by the Swiss National Bank: a 500 francs Type 1949 "Chemist" (Ref: Pick: #NA - not assigned - or Richter: # PR2b). This proof is dated August 1, 1949, of the "4M" Series and numbered "012352". The banknote is annotated and numbered in margin (lot # 646). The starting price is fixed at CHF 15000 ($ 15110)!

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This bill is very rare: only three other copies are known, one in the collection of the Swiss National Bank that can be seen on the Numizon website and two other copies in a private collection. This note comes from the fourth series. It was designed by the Swiss artist Hans Erni. The Lucerne artist will also design the 50 francs Type 1945 and the 1000 francs Type 1950. The 100 francs Type 1941 will be designed by Victor Surbeck. These last three notes were printed, but only the 500 francs note remained in the proof stage. None of the four notes in this fourth series have ever been in circulation by the SNB.

Observation: in his announcement, the auction house indicates that the bill is "dated and numbered in margin", but these indications are not visible on the picture of the sale! On the collector's note at the SNB, we can perfectly see these annotations (except if they are not the same ones) carried in paper pencil in the left margin on the front:

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The proof features three types of signatures with the Cashier Erich Blumer, the Bank Chairman Alfred Müller and the Director Paul Rossy.

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Recommended bibliography:

  • first of all a must-see book: "The Swiss Banknote 1907-1997" by Michel de Rivaz, published by Le Mont-sur-Lausanne: The Memory of the Eye Collection (ISBN 2-88100-080-0),
  • "Die Banknoten der Schweiz (Swiss banknotes)" by Jürg Richter and Ruedi Kunzmann. Reference Catalog, 608 pages, Gietl Publishing 1st edition, December 2003 (ISBN 978-3924861827).
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