Bradbury Wilkinson & Company Produced Banknotes of the 1905 Series from the Danish West Indies

The Danish West Indies banknotes of the 1905 Series produced by Bradbury Wilkinson are among the most avidly collected worldwide banknotes. The notes are all scarce to rare with higher denominations in particular being exceptionally rare. Our sources indicate that there are just three known issued and uncancelled 100 Franc notes. Denominations of 5, 10, 20 and 100 Francs were produced. By far the most available is the 5 Franc design, although high grade examples of any denomination are exceedingly scarce. The notes all incorporate stunning colors and the format size increases along with the denomination. All show a portrait vignette of King Christian IX with the 5 and 100 Francs showing him at left and the 10 and 20 francs at center. A short palm tree vignette is also a common theme throughout the series, seen in the foreground of the sea. We have handled all denominations, save for the 100 Francs note, and they are always a hit in our auctions.

The Danish West Indies was located in the Caribbean and became the United States Virgin Islands after Denmark sold them to the US in 1917 under the terms of the Treaty of the Danish West Indies. These 1905 Series notes were the last to circulate under Danish control. We presume that new notes were not introduced to replace worn ones as most known today are in very low grades. Several signature varieties exist throughout the series but are largely undocumented in standard references. Specimen and proof notes exist for all denomination and are typically the way higher denominations are represented in collections.

The finest grade we have handled for any denomination was a Choice Very Fine 5 Francs note, and although higher grade pieces exist they are seldom found. The most important piece we have sold on the issuer was a 20 Francs note certified by PCGS as Very Fine 20 Apparent. The note retained great appeal for the technical grade and after spirited bidding, sold for $32,900 as lot 41 in our August 2014 ANA sale. A fair amount of 5 and 10 Francs notes have crossed the block here at Stack’s Bowers and have always attracted strong participation from bidders.

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