'Nickname' notes focus of Baltimore auction

Collectors anticipating January FUN convention sale
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Published : 12/22/11
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The recent auction conducted by Stack’s Bowers Galleries during the Nov. 17 to 20 Whitman Baltimore Winter Expo Nov. 17 to 20 at the Baltimore Convention Center contained more than 1,000 lots of paper money and included a representative selection of large-size type notes.

The emphasis was on the “nickname” issues that are always most popular with collectors — “Rainbows,” “Pioneers,” “Bisons,” “Martha Washingtons,” “Black Eagles,” “Indian Chiefs” and more than 20 “Educational” notes — nearly all of which sold within their estimates.
 
The indisputable highlight, however, was not one note, but 100 of them in one lot aptly described by the cataloger as “miraculous.” It was an original pack of 100 Series 1917 $1 United States notes, Friedberg 39 (Paper Money of the United States by Arthur L. and Ira S. Friedberg), featuring the familiar bust of George Washington in the center and a vignette titled Columbus in Sight of Land at left. 
 
The notes were all in Uncirculated condition with the original government wrapping intact and stamped “OCT 23 1923.” Among the 100 notes were three “star notes.” While star notes are relatively common among small-size issues, large-size star notes are much scarcer. Even though the Series 1917 $1 United States note is one of the more common large-size issues, its star note population is just more than 300. Thought to be the first time a pack such as this was ever sold publicly, it realized $54,625, a fair premium over the price for 100 single notes of the same type. 
 
Realizing $31,625, despite being only in Very Fine condition, was one of the kings of paper money errors, a double-denomination note. This one is a large-size Series 1918 $2 Federal Reserve Bank Note, F-751, on the face, with the back of a $1 note of the same series. Only three Federal Reserve Districts have this error for the 1918 series (Boston, New York and Chicago, with two known for New York). 
 
The onset of winter means collectors are awaiting the annual January pilgrimage to the Jan. 4 to 7 Florida United Numismatists show in Orlando. More than 2,300 pieces of United States paper currency will be offered at auction by Heritage Currency Auctions of America as part of Heritage Auction Galleries’ larger sale of more than 4,000 lots of coins and other items. 
 
The paper money auction will also offer more than 500 lots of obsolete bank notes, 151 lots of encased postage stamps and some extraordinary Confederate notes. Included in this latter category are multiples (a staggering eight examples each) of the crown jewels of the 72 types in the Confederate series, the $1,000 and $500 Montgomery Alabama notes of 1861. 
 
Among the large-size notes drawing attention are: one of six known $10 demand notes of 1861, F-6a, graded Very Fine 20, and a Series 1902 $50 “red seal” national bank note, F-665 for the Omaha National Bank with a grade of VF-25, as well as the distinction of being the first $50 “red seal” known from the state of Nebraska.
 
Also to be offered is the ninth known $1,000 Federal Reserve note with the uncommon John Burke and D.F. Houston signature combination, F-1133a-B, a note unique to the New York district, and one which is expected to sell for somewhere in the mid-five figures. ■
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