Ultra Rare Issued 1919 50 Rubles Provisional Government Note

One of the more intriguing notes offered in our August 2020 Auction is a P-39Ba 1919 Russian
Provisional Government 50 Rubles Credit Note, graded Very Fine 25 EPQ by PMG
and retaining fully original paper from 100 years ago. Two allegorical women
are seen on the face of the note, one seated on a square containing the
denomination, with the other standing and holding an object. The number
"50" can be counted an astounding 94 times on the face of the note,
making up the border design and seen in each corner. A multicolored design surrounds
the "50" obligation at center, with detailed lathe work around.

1919 was a turbulent year for the newly formed Russian
Soviet Republic: the White Army was still engaged in a bitter war of attrition
with the Reds in the South of Russia, British and American Expeditionary Forces
were fighting alongside the Whites against the Bolsheviks in the North of
Russia, and the Red Army steamrolled the White Army in Siberia. During the
Russian Civil War, many regions and Provisional Governments issued currency
before the State Bank of the R.S.F.S.R. (later the State Bank of the U.S.S.R.)
began issuing currency in 1921. This was part of Vladimir Lenin’s New Economic
Policy. Lenin himself would describe the State Bank as a "bureaucratic
paper game," and nothing more than a "Potemkin Village”; he wished to
make people believe the newly formed R.S.F.S.R. was faring quite well, when in
reality, it was not.

Specimens of this type are rarely encountered, with PMG
having graded just seven pieces of the P-39Bs variety and only two of the
P-39Ba variety. This note is fully issued, with serial numbers and block
numbers and has gained PMG’s EPQ designation; the other P-39Ba note is graded
VF-25 but without the EPQ qualifier. The Provisional Government seal is on the
reverse of the note. It had only existed for around seven months: from the abdication
of Tsar Nicholas II on March 15, 1917 until the October Revolution of 1917,
when the Bolsheviks gained full power and established a new government.

It is a miracle this note was spared destruction during the
revolution and later purges of material. It will surely be the centerpiece of
any collection of Russian paper money it enters. If this note could talk, we
can only imagine the stories it could tell and the history it has witnessed. We
expect to see spirited bidding on this lot. Желаю удачи!

The Stack’s Bowers Galleries August 2020 World Paper Money Auction
will take place on August 5, and will be posted online for viewing, bidding,
and bidder registration at on
July 10. For more information on viewing lots or assistance in registering to
bid, contact

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