‘Most valuable’ TL banknote goes under the hammer in online auction

Described by collectors as Turkey’s most valuable banknote, the first issue 1000 TL banknote, printed in Britain, went on sale in an online auction. The historic banknote, which was equivalent to 1,000 gold coins in 1927, is looking for its new owner with the opening of the auction of 800,000 TL.

Necati Doğan holds the first issue note of 1,000 TL, Ankara, Turkey, February 10, 2022. (AA)

Investigative writer Necati Doğan, who organized the auction, told Anadolu Agency (AA) that the first banknote issues including the denominations of 1, 5, 10, 50, 100, 500 and 1 000 were printed at the Thomas de la Rue printing press in England in the early years of the republic.

Pointing out that the 1,000 TL note occupied an important place among those printed, both for its economic value at the time and for its mintage, Doğan said: “The first issue of 1,000 TL printed in 1927 was withdrawn from circulation. circulation in 1939. During the 12 years it was in circulation, 15,374 copies were printed. When it was withdrawn from circulation in 1939, only 23 notes were not returned to the central bank for replacement. Only seven of these 23 unreturned notes have survived to the present day. That’s what makes it a ‘very rare’ piece.”


A view of the first issue note of 1,000 TL is seen through a magnifying glass, Ankara, Turkey, February 10, 2022. (AA)
A view of the first issue note of 1,000 TL is seen through a magnifying glass, Ankara, Turkey, February 10, 2022. (AA)

Recalling that in 1927, when the historic banknote was put into circulation, it was equivalent to 1,000 whole coins, Doğan said, “The first issue of 1,000 TL had great economic value during the time it was in circulation. In this regard, it was mainly in the hands of banks and merchants. The financial size at the time it was in circulation and the small number of printings that have survived to the present day make this silver the most valuable banknote in Turkey.

Doğan said the banknote features a portrait of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey, on the front and an image of the Geyve Strait section of the Sakarya Railway line on the back. “The note, signed by Mustafa Abdulhalik Renda, then finance minister, was printed before the alphabet reform. Therefore, the phrase “Republic of Turkey” was written there in Ottoman Turkish. Also, as French was the diplomatic language at the time, French words were also on the money,” he added.

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