PMG-Certified Singapore Banknotes With Low Numbers Fly High in Auction

A serial number 000001 brings $400,000 USD at a Mavin International auction.

A group of PMG-graded Singapore banknotes with low serial numbers were sold by Mavin International for eye-popping figures, including one that realized SGD 552,000 (about $400,000 USD), including a 20% buyer's premium. This was a record price realized for a banknote in a Mavin auction.

The auction featured ten examples of the 2015 Singapore 50 Dollar banknotes issued as commemoratives to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Singapore's independence. All were certified by PMG and encapsulated with a special PMG label. Mavin International sold the 10 lots on Nov. 10 on behalf of Community Chest, a Singapore-based non-profit organization.

The highest price for one of these notes was realized by the note with serial number SG50 000001, graded PMG 67 Superb Gem Uncirculated EPQ. It sold for SGD 460,000, nine times its pre-auction estimate. Other notes sold for several multiples of their pre-auction estimate. Here is the complete list, in descending order of highest price realized:

  • SG50 000001, graded PMG 67 Superb Gem Uncirculated EPQ, realized SGD 552,000. (The price before 20% buyer's premium was SGD 460,000, more than 9 times its pre-auction estimate of SGD 48,000 to SGD 50,000).
  • SG50 000008, graded PMG 66 Gem Uncirculated EPQ, realized SGD 36,000. (Its pre-auction estimate was SGD 5,800 to SGD 6,000).
  • SG50 000009, graded PMG 66 Gem Uncirculated EPQ, realized SGD 25,200. (Its pre-auction estimate was SGD 4,800 to SGD 5,000).
  • SG50 000003, graded PMG 66 Gem Uncirculated EPQ, realized SGD 22,800. (Its pre-auction estimate was SGD 3,600 to SGD 4,000).
  • SG50 000005, graded PMG 66 Gem Uncirculated EPQ, realized SGD 15,600. (Its pre-auction estimate was SGD 3,600 to SGD 4,000).
  • SG50 000007, graded PMG 66 Gem Uncirculated EPQ, realized SGD 15,600. (Its pre-auction estimate was SGD 3,600 to SGD 4,000).
  • SG50 000010, graded PMG 67 Superb Gem Uncirculated EPQ, realized SGD 15,600. (Its pre-auction estimate was SGD 3,600 to SGD 4,000).
  • SG50 000006, graded PMG 66 Gem Uncirculated EPQ, realized SGD 11,400. Its pre-auction estimate was SGD 3,600 to SGD 4,000).
  • SG50 000002, graded PMG 66 Gem Uncirculated EPQ, realized SGD 10,200 (Its pre-auction estimate was SGD 3,600 to SGD 4,000).
  • SG50 000004, graded PMG 66 Gem Uncirculated EPQ, realized SGD 3,840 (Its pre-auction estimate was SGD 2,400 to SGD 2,500).

The relatively low price for last note is likely due to the fact that the number 4 is considered unlucky in much of Asia. Similarly, positive feelings about the number 8 explain its high placement on this list.

Fancy serial numbers such as these are highly prized by collectors. Counterfeiters have taken note of this, and have altered serial numbers on banknotes to make them appear to be more valuable. As part of the process of authenticating notes, PMG graders use special equipment to detect such counterfeits. (Read more here.)

PMG certification helps give bidders confidence because notes encapsulated by PMG are guaranteed to be genuine.


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