541 lots in the floor session of the November Stack’s Bowers Galleries
United States paper currency auction in Baltimore reasserted the
dominance of large-size notes as market leaders.
a run of auctions by different houses wherein small-size notes and
national bank notes sometimes eclipsed large-size issues, this sale
marked a return to familiar territory.
nine of the 189 large-size notes went unsold, and of those that did
sell, the overwhelming majority were either within or above their
estimates. In addition to the $352,500 for the unique Friedberg 212b
$500 interest-bearing note featured in the Nov. 30 issue of Coin
World, among the other noteworthy results were: $17,625 and $19,975
for a pair of $5 demand notes of 1861 — the first a newly discovered
and sixth known issue from Cincinnati (Friedberg 4) in Paper Money
Guaranty Fine 15 Net, and the other a St. Louis F-5 in PMG Very Fine
20 Net. A PCGS Currency Gem New 66 F-18 $10 1869 United States note
(the “Rainbow note”) brought $15,275, its highest price in seven
years, and a $50 Rainbow note in PMG VF-30 (F-151 variety) went for
$41,125, exactly the same price as the last time such a note was sold
in November 2014. An F-190b 1864 $10 compound-interest note described
by PMG as Very Fine 30 Net with minor restoration was at $17,037.50,
the highest price ever recorded for a note below the grade of uncirculated.
common thread was evident among some of the better large-size notes
that went for less than their estimated prices. For example, three
silver certificates were estimated at $30,000 to $40,000. The first,
an F-263 Series 1886 $5 “Silver Dollar Back” note in PCGS Currency Gem
New 66 Premium Paper Quality sold for $24,675. Next, an 1896 $5
Educational note, F-268, realized the same $24,675 in PCGS Currency
Gem New 67 PPQ. Finally, a $5 1899 “Indian Chief” silver certificate,
which at PCGS Gem New 68 is the highest graded F-271 example, sold for
$21,150. All three are superb notes, rarities for their condition, if
not necessarily for their type.
is conceivable that as the premium for quality expands, prospective
buyers are more carefully evaluating whether the differences in grade
at this level warrant much higher prices before committing.
small-size results were impacted by the fact that about a third of
them were $1,000 Federal Reserve notes. While all 20 sold, only seven
met their estimates. Some of the others, at 33 to 50 percent over
their face value, were the bargains of the auction. The market in
Baltimore was simply not capable of absorbing so many of the same item
at one time.
national bank note part of the sale featured nineteen small-size uncut
six-note sheets of serial number 1 notes. The results were typical for
the nationals market, in that collectors usually focus on cities,
counties or states. Some did not even meet their estimate, while
others far exceeded it. A rare Type 2 $10 Louisiana sheet from the
First National Bank of Lake Providence in PMG About Uncirculated 58
sold for $23,500 on an estimate of $6,000 to $8,000.