Thursday, 8 May 2014

North Borneo Banknotes


I bought these recently as they were reasonably priced and also in fairly good condition especially the 1940 item. Most specimens available tend to be well worn with use.
They were engraved and printed by Blades, East & Blades of London who were also responsible for the production of the early stamps of North Borneo.


This is a 1936 moderately used specimen with the mid line crease and the general toning from handling when folded in the normal way. As with the stamps, it has the 3 written languages of North Borneo which were Chinese, English and Jawi. It has a rather inaccurate depiction of Mt Kinabalu.
The signatories were W A C Smelt, the currency commissioner and  H J R Beckett, the financial controller. Herbert James Rust Beckett was born on 16 November 1885. He arrived in North Borneo in 1911 and was soon appointed District Treasurer at Kudat and 2 years later also qualified as a first class magistrate. He held many posts in the customs and excise as well as the auditing departments. He became the Financial Controller by 1929 and finally the Controller of the State Bank of North Borneo in 1939.


By 1940, the design on the front has been simplified and the back remains the same. It has only the lone signatory of  W A C Smelt. This is a pristine used item with a light crease and mild toning. As such it should carry a significant premium.

WAC Smelt      National Archives
Captain William Anthony Casterton Smelt born 29 September 1895 was appointed District Treasurer at Sandakan in March 1925 and assumed his duties on arriving in North Borneo in May 1925. He was appointed Chief Treasurer in January 1930 after returning from furlough and the chief financial controller a year later.
During the visit of Governor Clifford of the Straits Settlements in June 1928, he was the acting ADC (Aide-de-Camp) or chief of staff to Governor Humpreys of North Borneo. Sir Hugh Clifford was also Governor of North Borneo from 1900 to 1901.
In the New Year Honours of 1946, Smelt was granted an OBE in recognition of his services during internment in WWII, presumably at Kuching in Sarawak.

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