An Incredibly Rare Five Dollars Issued by The Oriental Bank Corporation Dated 1879

Stack’s, Bowers and Ponterio is proud to present an extraordinary uncancelled 5 Dollar note dated March 7 and issued by The Oriental Bank Corporation. Only four to five notes of this type are known to be extant.

The Bank was original founded in Bombay as the Bank of Western India in 1842. It expanded rapidly in Asia during the 1840s with offices opening in Colombo (1843), Calcutta (1844), Shanghai (1845), Canton (1845), Singapore and Hong Kong (1846). The Bank was renamed Oriental Banking Corporation in 1851 after acquiring a royal charter.

The Bank continued its rapid expansion during the 1850s with offices opening in major cities such as Madras, Yokohama, Foochow, Hiogo, and San Francisco. By the 1860s it became “the most powerful, oldest, and most prestigious Eastern exchange bank.”

The Bank’s fortunes dwindled rapidly during the 1870s as a result of bad loans in Ceylon and Mauritius, and it was eventually liquidated in 1884. The business was reconstructed as the New Oriental Bank Corporation but failed again for good in 1892.

The note featured in this article was originally dated March 7, 1866, but the year was overprinted to 1879. The Bank arms, featuring a crowned shield supported by a lion and unicorn, is shown at upper center. Two neat, concise and clearly discernible hand signed signatures are found at lower left and right. Lastly, the note bears a “mixed ladder” serial number – H64753.

This is a magnificent issued, choice original note from what was one of the most powerful banks of the mid 19th century. It is currently open for private treaty at Stack’s, Bowers and Ponterio or it will be offered at auction in 2024.

Please contact our Hong Kong office by email for further information.

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