World Banknote Auctions is thrilled to announce the inclusion of the highly anticipated Varik Collection of Bahamas in its upcoming sale, World Currency Sale 45 (Session 2) The auction is scheduled for three sessions that take place from June 28th to July 2nd, 2023. The Varik Collection offers an unparalleled opportunity for collectors and enthusiasts to acquire a remarkable selection of 58 lots of banknotes from the Bahamas, spanning from the 1930s to 2009. The Varik Collection is renowned for its exceptional quality and rarity, attracting the attention of banknote enthusiasts from around the world. This unique assemblage of Bahamian banknotes has been curated meticulously, representing a fascinating journey through the monetary history of the Bahamas.
Portrait Notes of King George V
The Bahamas’ government assumed banknote issuance responsibilities following the collapse of the private Bank of Nassau in 1917. Authorized by the Currency Act of 1919, a new series of banknotes was introduced, exemplified by the 4/- Shillings note offered in lot 45281, graded Choice Very Fine 35 by PMG, originally circulated in the mid-1930s. This exquisite piece stands out as one of the finest examples known, boasting strong original paper, vibrant color, and a scarcity surpassed by only two finer specimens according to the PMG population report. The next denomination is the 10/- Shillings, offered in lot 45282 and graded Very Fine 30 EPQ by PMG. This is an elusive note to find with such original paper and eye-appeal. Finally, the highest denomination issued was the 1 Pound, offered in lot 45283, which is graded Extremely Fine 40 EPQ by PMG. This note’s grade represents a rarity impossible to surpass. Introduced in 1930 and extensively circulated during the nascent stage of the Bahamas’ tourism industry in the 1930s, this classic Caribbean type remains a highly coveted addition for collectors. While lower-end grades are relatively common, this note’s condition rarity at this grade level is evident. Its remarkable original paper, vibrant colors, and light, even circulation establish it as the ultimate exemplar of this captivating classic in the realm of world paper money.
King George VI Issues
The King George VI issues in the Varik Collection include all four denominations issued and a variety of grades and signature combinations. While these are generally considered to be relatively common types some signature varieties had limited print runs and are challenging in better grades. Highlights include the single finest example of the 4/- Shillings with Heape – Taylor – Moore signature combination (lot 45284, graded Gem UNC 66 EPQ by PMG) and the single finest example of the 10/- Shillings with Stewart – Latreille – Moore signature combination (lot 45289, graded Choice About UNC 58 by PMG). Also included are both varieties of the 5 Pounds, which was the highest denomination issued and a banknote that had tremendous purchasing power at the time of issue.
Pre-Decimal Notes of Queen Elizabeth II
When Queen Elizabeth II came to the throne in 1953 the existing design was updated with her portrait, although the main design elements remained the same. The Varik Collection includes uncirculated examples of each of the four denominations issued prior to the introduction of the Bahamian Dollar and a variety of different signature combinations. Like the King George VI issues numerous signatures exist for each issue, some more difficult than the others. The Queen Elizabeth II pre-decimal issues of the Bahamas are widely collected and while most collectors are satisfied with a high-grade type set, some collectors attempt to assemble a complete signature collection in high-grade, which is not an easy task as some varieties are quite difficult to find in better grades.
Banknotes of the Bahamian Dollar: Collector’s Favorites and Modern Rarities
For many collectors, the banknotes of the Bahamian Dollar, introduced into circulation in 1965, are a favorite in world paper money. A series that is filled with modern rarities, these banknotes form a formidable challenge, and even though these are often considered “modern” banknotes the series is extremely challenging to complete. This section of the Varik Collection is particularly strong, with high grade notes as well as rare varieties that are seldom offered for sale.
The first series is dated 1965 and was issued by the Government of the Bahamas. This series was initially issued with two signatures. Then in 1967, for a brief period, several denominations were issued with three signatures. These would be issued for only about a year before an updated series dated 1968 was issued by the Bahamas Monetary Authority. The undisputed highlight of the Varik Collection is lot 45315, which is the $50 from this series with three signatures, graded Very Fine 30 EPQ by PMG. One of just three examples of this rarity that we are aware of this note represents one of the key banknotes in a modern Bahamas collection.
Other highlights include various other $50 and $100 notes from the Bahamas. Up to and including the 1996 series notes of those denominations are difficult to locate in uncirculated condition. They were often issued outside of tourist areas (where the US Dollar typically would circulate, thanks to its parity to the Bahamian Dollar) and only limited numbers made it to collectors in uncirculated condition. The Varik Collection includes a 1965 $100 in PMG Choice UNC 63 EPQ (lot 45316), a 1974 (ND 1984) $50 in PMG 66 EPQ (lot 45331) and a 1974 (ND 1992) $100 in PMG 66 EPQ (lot 45333).
Most lower denominations in the Varik Collection are represented by high grade examples that presents collectors with a welcome opportunity to add high quality examples to collections of Bahamian paper money. All lots in the Varik Collection can be seen on the World Banknote Auctions website: The Varik Collection of Bahamas. Live bidding for session 2 takes place on the firm’s website and in its mobile apps on June 29 at 1 PM EDT / 10 AM PDT