169 . Cassa Mediterranea di Credito Per L'Egitto 5 Lire ND (1942), A Banknote, the Only One of its Kind, From the Italian Occupation of Egypt, 1942
A banknote of 5 Egyptian Liras from money which was issued in Italy during the Italian occupation of Egypt in 1942. All 500 million banknotes were destroyed and only very few notes remain in the entire world. This banknote, one of 4 known notes, is the only one up for sale in the world. Egypt, 1942. 5, Cassa Mediterranea di Credito per l'Egitto, Liras. Italian and Arabic. Serial number 066.592 0001. Background: In the Second World War Italy was an ally of Germany in what was known as 'The Axis'. From 1940 the Italians attempted to capture Egypt and North Africa, in an attempt to reach the Suez Canal. In a meeting which took place between the Foreign Ministers of Italy and Germany they divided the areas which they were going to capture between them, as well as the economic effect. According to this agreement, which stated that the Italians will rule in Egypt and North Africa, the Italians issued a series of eight special banknotes, in accordance with the value of the local currency of Egypt and Sudan, which were intended to replace the local currency with the occupation. 500 million banknotes were issued in Istituto Poligrafico in Rome, under the name Cassa Mediterranea di Credito and they bore the name of the local currency in Italian and Arabic in addition to pictures of Caesars of ancient Rome. On July 16 1942, the banknotes were flown in a special airplane to Lybia, where they were carefully guarded by tanks. In January 1943, as a result of a counter attack by the British forces commanded by Marshal Montgomery, the Italians understood that the plan to distribute the banknotes must be aborted. The Italian forces left the banknotes in iron crates inside a fortress, and there, by command of the high echelons, all of the notes were burned in order to leave no evidence of their defeat, and so that their original plan should not be revealed to everyone. The mystery of the notes which survived: Over the years rumors abounded that some of the notes were saved by a military policeman, before the army destroyed them. In 1967 a collector managed to purchase five notes and they are currently found in the collection of Italia d'Banca. According to what is known, these five notes were part of a complete series which his uncle, a military policeman in the area of the Egyptian occupation, succeeded in saving before the fire a short while before General Montgomery arrived. The location of the remaining three notes from the series remained a mystery. In the 1980's, three additional notes were stolen from an Italian collector at a collectors conference, and have since disappeared. In 1980, a complete set of eight 'specimen' banknotes from this series was sold at an auction in London for 90,000 Euro. Therefore, this note is the only one in the world currently on the market which was not stolen and not owned by collectors. Provenance: This banknote came into the hands of a distinguished Jew from the Tripoli community, who personally received it from his chauffeur who was a soldier in the Italian army in the Second World War and who saved it from the destruction of the banknotes in Egypt. The note was hidden between the pages of a book, which moved with its owners to Venice, and was only discovered after his death by the family, along with a letter documenting the banknote's history. Two slightly repaired tears, stains. Fine condition (not ranked).