Among the high-powered offerings in the auction of large-size type
notes by Lyn Knight Currency Auctions at the International Paper Money
Show in Memphis, Tenn., June 19, an American classic stole the
limelight. Known colloquially as the “Spread Eagle” note for the large
vignette of an eagle with outspread wings on the face, the Series 1863
$100 legal tender note (Friedberg 167a) graded Choice New 63 by PCGS
Currency was sold for $260,000 plus the 17.5 percent buyer’s fee,
bringing it to $305,500, equaling the highest price ever for a note in
Bidding was spirited. It started at $180,000 and the note was
finally knocked down to a floor bidder after much back and forth.
The last time a Spread Eagle note sold was in November 2014 when
Knight sold a PCGS Very Fine 20 example for $103,500. The only other
sale in the last two years was by Heritage Auctions in January 2013.
That example was also graded PCGS Currency Choice New 63 and it
coincidentally also brought a total of $305,500.
The Spread Eagle type encompasses notes of six different Friedberg
numbers, and of these, with only 22 examples recorded, the F-167a note
is the most common and the only one with any Uncirculated examples
recorded — one in Gem New 65, two in Choice New 63, and one in
Uncirculated 60 that has not been seen publicly since 1992.