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Buyers’ broker grabs prized 1920s East African banknote
By Jim Rutledge

FORT LEE, N.J. — It was all in a day’s work for Queens, N.Y. buyers’ broker and dealer Diego Paz.

Paz was one of four gallery buyers to attend the third day of the sale at Archives International Auctions (AIA) in the firm’s New Jersey offices on Oct. 23, which also included more than 380 telephone and Internet buyers.

With his want list in hand, and representing four private collectors and dealers, Paz picked off 38 of the 805 lots, spending more than $20,000 of other people’s money to pick up European, South American and Asian banknotes. He was buying for two New York collectors, a Cuban collector and another from Costa Rico.

Operating his privately owned coin and currency shop in the Jackson Heights community of Queens, Paz charged just 3 percent of his winning lot totals as his broker’s fee for the day’s work. His final bid totals was just more than $23,000 not including AIA’s 18 percent buyer’s premium.

After winning his third lot, a prized, rare East African Currency Board (EACB) banknote of 1 florin, Paz chuckled to himself, apparently satisfied, having just paid $3,250, almost double the high estimate of $1,850.

The currency note was only used for two years following World War I, and was replaced by the British shilling, which accounted for the note’s rarity. The 1920 red on olive brown-colored note was issued by King George V.

According to AIA, the note is “one of the finest known and highest grade examples,” issued. Paz said he was willing to pay even more to win the lot.

A second high-valued note Paz picked up was a rare 20 francs Banque de L’Indochine note, issued from Djibouti, French Somaliland, on Jan. 3, 1921 for $2,200 – at its low estimate of $2,200.

Among Paz’s other winners were four 1973 banknotes from Pakistan, one a 50 rupees note from the State Bank of Pakistan, that he won in a tight phone bid battle, paying $2,200. Paz himself specializes in coins and currency from Columbia, his native homeland.

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