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A ‘Specimen’ 1000 dông issued by the South Vietnamese National Bank. Estimate: HK$120,000-150,000.

HONG KONG.- On the 17th – 18th August, Spink’s Hong Kong based office will hold a fantastic sale spanning the length and breadth of numismatic material from all over Asia. Formed of just over 1800 lots, there is sure to be something to tickle collectors’ fancies. This sale will contain Mr. Yoshikuni Kobayashi’s stunning collection of South Vietnamese banknotes.

Mr. Yoshikuni Kobayashi was born in Manchuria during World War II and spent most of his early years there. When the war came to an end, he and his family breathed a sigh of relief and moved back to Japan to start a new life in the Kyushu area.

In 1975 when the Vietnam War ended and the country of South Vietnam disappeared from the world map, Mr Kobayashi was struck by the similarity in his own past to this lost country. Mr Kobayashi further explains that when Japan lost the Second World War, he was not sure whether his country would be colonized, invaded, or if it would become another country entirely, and all the feelings and thoughts that he had after the war floated back to him. For this poignant reason, he decided to collect South Vietnamese banknotes so that he could prove that a country called South Vietnam did exist even when the intense memories of the war had faded from the history books.

One note stands as the epitome of his desire to preserve a country’s brief existence. It is also one of the most fantastic notes from this collection is lot 282, a ‘Specimen’ 1000 dong issued by the South Vietnamese National Bank. It has no date but is assumed to be from between 1955-56 with the serial number 000 0.000, control number 887. It is the famous ‘Old Man’ note. One the most attractive notes in the series. This ‘dông’ currency was produced shortly after the country was formed in 1954 to replace the French Indochinese piastre. On September 22, 1975, after the fall of Saigon, the currency in South Vietnam was changed to a « liberation đong » worth 500 old Southern đồng. This note epitomises the brief period Mr Kobayashi tried to preserve with his banknote collection. A very attractive design and well sought after by collectors, a very rare and beautiful piece fit to adorn the most splendid collections of this area. Lot 282, estimated HK$120,000-150,000.

Since then, he has developed one of the finest collections of Vietnamese banknotes, but he did not stop there! He has expanded his collection with a healthy amount of notes from other areas of Asia. He prides his collection for being able to tell some of the history of a beautiful part of the world with a turbulent past that ought not to be forgotten. Each part of his collection has different memories to pass on to the next generation.