SHAFAQNA -Â Mehmet Tezcakin, aÂ Turkish expert on banknotes and coins,Â found an Ottoman-eraÂ 50-kurus (piaster) banknote in a lotÂ sent by a collector living in Germany for valuation.
An adviser to an international London-based auction company Spink,Â Tezcakin said the banknote was dated 1876 with a picture as aÂ watermark.
“I cannot tell the excitement I feltÂ at that moment asÂ all the numismatists in the worldÂ are after this banknote,” said Tezcakin.
“That a banknote with aÂ pictureÂ watermark was printed has been knownÂ for over a hundred years, but it hadÂ never before been seen,” said Tezcakin.Â Â Few of such watermarked banknotes with picturesÂ were minted.
He said when the banknote was held up to theÂ light, a man is seen,Â whose eyebrows and nose resemble Ottoman Sultan Abdulhamid II inside a crescent on the banknote.
“During the Ottoman era, no picture could be found on banknotes for religious reasons,” he added.
Tezcakin said he madeÂ this historic find public with theÂ permission of theÂ collector whoÂ asked not to be named.
“This invaluableÂ unique piece will be put up for sale abroad soon and, in particular,Â American, Arab and Israeli collectors will show interest inÂ the banknote,” said Tezcakin.
He called for bringing the banknote, which he said was the most precious banknote of Turkish finance history,Â back to Turkey.
Tezcakin said he currently hadÂ 7,500 out of 12,000 Ottoman era banknotes.