Banknote set looks like great bet
Uncut commemorative bills from the Bank of China are expected to soar in value when they are issued next month, with one dealer predicting that a set of 30 the bank sells at HK$6,000 may rise at least tenfold.
The bank is issuing two million limited-edition HK$100 bills to celebrate its centenary, including 1.1 million single notes, 100,000 sets of three uncut notes, and 20,000 sets of 30, which are sold for HK$150, HK$600 and HK$6,000, respectively. They are legal tender but not intended for general circulation.
The sale started last Monday. The singles, available at the bank's 50 branches, sold out a day later. For the sets, buyers had until yesterday to apply at a branch or online.
The bank will notify successful applicants between March 10 and 19.
Since the single notes went on sale, buyers, who could get two per purchase, have been earning a pretty penny by reselling them. Some reported getting up to HK$1,700 per pair at one point last week.
Gold Field Coins and Stamp director Chan Wing-fai said his company was buying the single notes at HK$1,300 each yesterday.
Hong Kong Numismatic Society president Ma Tak-wo said that as of last night, one note was trading at about HK$1,400.
Some users on web shopping portal Taobao.com were selling at 1,700 yuan (HK$2,084) last night.
Chan said that based on the HK$1,300 price per note, a set of three could get at least HK$5,000 and a set of 30 at least HK$60,000 when the bank released them, pointing out that these came in shorter supply than the singles. However, he noted that these sets were not yet on the market so it was impossible to accurately predict their eventual value.
Ma said: 'This is the most impressive trading of commemorative notes in recent memory - more than when the Bank of China issued the 2008 Olympics HK$20 notes and when Standard Chartered issued the HK$150 note to commemorate its 150th anniversary.'
Chan said the notes were attractive and well-known, and that mainlanders liked commemorative banknotes, sets of uncut banknotes and Bank of China memorabilia.
Hundreds of people queued at the city's Bank of China branches last week. Many had lined up overnight to get the notes, and there were reports of queue-jumping. Customers also complained when the bank decided to issue all remaining tickets to buy the singles - which were supposed to be available until yesterday - last Tuesday.