August 31, 2008

Banknote Errors Part 1: The 1921 Five Peso with Missing Serial Numbers

The 1921 5-Peso with Missing Serial Number and Seal

Error banknotes are very hard to come by especially exceptional Philippine notes made during the period of American occupation and the early Republic period. In the Philippines, only a number of collectors specialize on error notes, and only a number of errors were only documented since. Some of the documented variations were the occurrence of mismatched serial numbers, accordion folds, missing printing, offset, misalignment, and the likes. Most of these errors were underestimated in terms of values and population, and majority of this population came only from the early Republic period.

Error notes from the American period are very rare, and much of the varieties that had surfaced in the past were neither given much attention nor further research. Some of those reached the auction tables but were only realized for a few dollars, since mostly were either in fine or in lesser condition. Otherwise, they only come out after a number of decades and most likely, were easily forgotten and might have been lost forever.

Since I have documented the auctions of several numismatic organizations in the Philippines, I have only seen not more than 10 outstanding error banknotes from the American period offered. All of them were exclusive for International auctions only, and mostly came up in poor conditions. One of the most exceptional error I’ve seen was a 5 peso silver certificate offered by PICC in 2007 where the note has a mismatched serial number, and most surprisingly, it was an extremely rare replacement or star note.

A 5 peso silver certificate is already a scarce note, finding a replacement note is a once-in-a-lifetime encounter, and seeing both a replacement note with a mismatched serial number is impossible if not unbelievable. Though the note was in very good condition only, it is more than enough to declare such note phenomenal.

Most error notes and varieties that came from the American occupation period likely belong to the 5-peso denomination. Two of them I have studied and properly documented. The 1st one is a variety from 1916, where there was an occurrence of missing printing. The note, which features William McKinley, has its red ink missing. Since the normal note’s design has a red Roman numeral “V” placed on the upper-middle portion of the note which is, a laureate and scroll that surround it, and with a red background otherwise. All of these were missing on the error note variety.

The 1916 5 Peso with Missing Red Print

A specimen was offered once during the 77th International Auction of PNAS held in Rockwell and another surfaced on Ebay a year later. The previous one of Fine condition and the latter was of Very Good condition only.

Recently, a 5-peso dated 1921 surfaced from an old hoard. Just like the previous variety, this note has a missing print but what amazes me about this note is, its serial number and seal were the ones missing. Most error notes were of very good to fine condition only but this note is in Extremely Fine condition making it as one of the highest of quality. The reversed of the note is otherwise underinked, which makes the weak color of the design and partiality.

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