Rare Sarawak dollar sells for over £30,000

Photo of the century-old Sarawak $1 note.

KUCHING: A century-old rare Sarawak $1 note was bought during a live auction held by London-based Spink & Son behind closed doors last Friday (Jan 15).

The note was issued in 1919 – Sarawak was then still under the stewardship of Charles Vyner Brooke, the last White Rajah.

As per online portal www.theedgemarkets.com, the note, estimated to be worth between £18,000 and £20,000 (RM99,501 to RM110,557), was sold for £32,400 (RM179,103) inclusive of a 20 percent commission.

However, the buyer, who is Malaysian, does not wish to be identified.

The note, which bears the No. 2 serial number features a portrait of Vyner, who ruled Sarawak from May 24, 1917 to July 1, 1946.

Vyner was the son of the second White Rajah, Charles Brooke, and grandnephew of Sir James Brooke, the first White Rajah.

Sarawak was ceded as a British crown colony in 1946 following the end of the Japanese occupation.

The period of Brooke rule is generally looked upon favourably in Sarawak, and in recent times, the government has accepted the importance of their legacy for its social, cultural, and touristic value.

The Brooke family still maintains strong ties with the state and its people, and are represented by the Brooke Trust, and by Anthony Brooke’s grandson Jason Desmond Anthony Brooke, at many state functions and supporting heritage projects.

The dollar was the currency of Sarawak from 1858 to 1953. Its first series was issued by the Sarawak government treasury and were hand-stamped notes of low quality.

All later notes were issued by the Sarawak government except for the 10-cent and 25-cent notes in 1919. Throughout its history, banknotes came in the values of 5 cents, 10 cents, 20 cents, 25 cents, 50 cents, $1, $5, $10, $25, $50, and $100.