A pair of iconic large-size notes long off the market will be in the
spotlight at the Heritage Currency Signature auction held in
conjunction with the April 27 to May 2 Central States Numismatic
Society Convention in Schaumburg, Ill. An Internet-only sale will follow.
Making its first appearance on the market since 1983 and certain to
attract the top price is a rare “Rainbow” $50 1869 United States note,
Friedberg 151, graded About Uncirculated 55 by Paper Money Guaranty
that is expected to bring in $175,000 or more. Only 64 examples of
this note are known, of which just four are certified in a higher
grade. The last time a Rainbow note of similar quality to this sold
was in January 2013 when Heritage Auctions sold a PCGS Currency graded
About Uncirculated 58 example for $176,250 including the buyer’s fee.
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It is rare that the sale of a “Watermelon Note” ever plays second
fiddle, but the F-377 $100 Treasury note in PMG Very Fine 25 Net,
Restored, does just that with an estimate of “only” $150,000. When
this particular note was last sold at the Memphis, Tenn., paper money
show in 1996 it realized $13,200 in a grade of Fine. The last sale of
a Fine condition Watermelon note was in 2012 for $77,625, while two
Very Fine notes have sold since then, the most recent a VF-30 example
that realized $199,750 last April.
The second appearance at auction in a month of a $20
compound-interest Treasury note (F-191a), graded by PCGS Currency as
Very Fine 30 Apparent with restorations, gives the impression that
these are coming out of the woodwork. That is a coincidence — only 59
are known, in all grades. This one is estimated in the high $20,000
range, and since only a handful are graded higher it may be awhile
before another appears.
Also fairly certain to surpass $100,000 are two Series 1934 $5,000
notes including one of only five known from St. Louis (F-2221-H) in
PMG Extremely Fine 45 and from Dallas (F-2221-K) in PMG Choice
Among the 1,117 national bank note offerings in the Heritage auction
are 1902 Red Seal notes from Murray, Utah; Scotland, S.D.; and the
United States National Bank of Salem, Ore. The latter is called a
“Forbidden Title” because after 1926 it was illegal to use “United
States” in national bank titles.