United States paper money activity last month revolved around a pair
of trade shows. The first was the Nov. 3 to 6 Whitman Expo in
Baltimore. The event is one of the rare times in the course of the
year that the nation’s leading paper money dealers convene twice in
the same month — close to two dozen of them descended on Baltimore’s
Inner Harbor, and from Nov. 17 to 19, 50 staffed tables at the 31st
annual National and World Paper Money Convention of the Professional
Currency Dealers Association in Rosemont, Ill.
Between its Nov. 3 floor session in Baltimore and an Internet-only
live sale on Nov. 9, Stack’s Bowers Galleries pushed 786 lots across
the block. Seeing what met its reserve price and what did not can be
as good an indicator of the state of the market as anything. Of the
total, 706 lots, or 90 percent, met their reserve. Included among the
notes that sold were every large-size note and all but one or two
small-size notes. Obsolete notes suffered by comparison, with 40 of
about 220 lots failing to sell.
The auction showed that when a rare item is offered, its grade need
not be a compelling factor.
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Three of the top prices went to two small-size and one large-size
high-denomination notes. At $64,625, including the 17.5 percent
buyer’s fee, was a Chicago district Series 1934 $5,000 Federal Reserve
note (Friedberg 2221-G) in Paper Money Guaranty Extremely Fine 40 Net
Repaired. It is remarkable, that with a printing of 6,600 notes, the
Chicago notes have the third largest print run among the 11 Federal
Reserve districts that issued this series. It is also provides a
lesson in why the “notes printed” number is far less important than
the current census: Only 230 notes are known for the denomination
against a total print run of 70,084. Next, at a relatively
bargain-priced $21,150, was a PCGS Currency Gem New 65 Premium Paper
Quality Series 1934 $1,000 Federal Reserve note from Dallas. The
catalog said this F-2211-K note was the finest known, with only one
other in a comparable grade.
The relative scarcity of large-size high-denomination notes is
illustrated by the $21,737.50 realized by a pedestrian-looking, but
with nine known, extremely scarce Series 1918 $1,000 Federal Reserve
note from Atlanta (F-1133-F). PCGS Currency assigned it a grade of
Very Fine 25 Apparent, Restorations. Atlanta is one of the more
difficult districts for high-denomination notes and there are not many
Despite their imperfections as described by PCGS Currency, the five
great Confederate rarities sold for a combined $98,700. The four 1861
Montgomery issues went as follows: $1,000 VF-30 Apparent, Repaired
$19,975; $500 VF-30 Apparent, Restored and Redrawn $25,850; $100 VF-35
Apparent, Repaired $14,100; and $50 About New 50 Apparent, Repaired
$17,625. The 1861 Indian Princess $5 note rounded out the group at
$21,150 in VF-25 Apparent, Restorations.
The stellar national bank note was a new discovery out of the First
National Bank of Vero (Florida). The Series 1902 Plain Back $5 note
(F-606) is just the fourth one ever reported from a bank that existed
only from 1918 to 1923. PMG described it as grading “Very Fine 30 Net.
Stained, Rust.” It sold for $22,325, at the top end of its $15,000 to
The outstanding large-size type note, selling for $14,100, was a
PCGS Currency Gem New 66 Premium Paper Quality F-247 Series 1896 $2
silver certificate (from the Educational Note series).
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World's Paper Money Values.