A rare banknote featuring the word SEX spelled out in palm tree leaves over the Queen’s shoulder has sold for nearly 250 times its face value. Auctioneers were hopeful of a winning bid of £200 to £300 to secure the Seychelles 50 rupee note – whose face value is equivalent to around £2.50.
But at Moore Allen & Innocent, the banknote sold for 248 times its face value when auctioneer Philip Allwood brought the gavel down at £620. The note was issued by the Government of Seychelles between 1968 and 1973, and features an image of a young Queen in the foreground, with the tropical island behind her.
It was produced at a time when the Seychelles was seeking independence from Great Britain. The suspicion was that pro-independence printers had incorporated the word SEX – spelled out in palm fronds – into the note.
While some bidders had set their sights on the bank note, others were zooming in on a pair of binoculars, which sold for twenty times their estimate, despite literally looking like they had been through the wars.
The grey naval binoculars were sold with a brass mounted wall pocket inscribed The Honorary Air Commodore, and a Nazi Iron Cross medal bearing the date 1939. Despite the condition – the rubber eye pieces of the binoculars were perished, the paint was peeling, and the lenses were dirty – the lot sold for £1,700 against an auctioneer’s estimate of £80 to £120.
Staying on a royal theme, an HRH Diana Princess of Wales 1981 Christmas card, depicting Charles and Diana’s wedding, inscribed ‘Mr and Mrs Edwards, from Charles and Diana’, together with an HRH Prince Charles Christmas card, depicting Prince Charles with The Queen Mother in a royal carriage, inscribed ‘Mr and Mrs Edwards, from Charles,’ achieved £500 against an estimate of £200 to £300.
Elsewhere in the sale, a late 17th century Tuscan walnut casson chest achieved £720, a 19th century mahogany bookcase sold for £620, and a Turkish prayer rug in greens and terracotta with gold and teal motif decorated borders sold for £600 – all around the auctioneer’s estimate.