Paper Money

'Most important' Georgia national banknote draws auction attention

National bank notes will once again be the currency of attention when Manifest Auctions of Greenville, S.C., holds its summer sale on July 15. 

Leading the way with an estimate of $70,000 is what the auctioneer refers to as “the most important Georgia national banknote ever discovered.” The Original Series First Charter Period $2 note from the First National Bank of Newnan, Ga. (Friedberg 389), is the first piece of this denomination ever seen from this state. The design type is called by collectors a “Lazy Deuce” for the large horizontal figure 2 that takes up nearly half of the face side.

According to the Don Kelly census of national bank notes, just seven other Original Series Georgia First Charters are known: three $1 pieces, two $5 notes, a $20 note, and a $50 note. Of these, a $1 note and a $5 note are also from Newnan. Although not printed on the note, the charter number for First National Bank of Newnan is 1861. Despite its grade of just Fine, it bears an estimate of $70,000.

Until now, only one Series 1882 $10 Brown Back note from the First National Bank of Fernandina, Fla., was known. Being offered with an opening bid of $25,000 and no further reserve is the second, consigned to Manifest directly from the family of one of the note’s signers. The firm states that the existence of this note was completely unknown until a few weeks ago. The estimate for the F-471 in About Uncirculated condition with bank serial number 1 is $62,500. Garret Manning of Manifest says that it “might actually be the most valuable note in the sale.”

An estimated value of $30,000 to $40,000 is given a another new discovery, a double-denomination error with an inverted back printing. The face is that of a $10 Second Charter Period Value Back note (Friedberg 577) from the First National Bank of Pinckneyville, Illinois, Charter 6025. This note was printed on a four-subject sheet of three $10 notes and a $20 note, so the error occurred when a sheet was inverted before the second printing (the face and back sides were printed in separate steps). 

This will be the 16th $10/$20 double-denomination error listed in the upcoming fourth edition of Fred Bart’s United States Paper Money Errors, and the second from Illinois. The note is graded by PCGS Currency as Very Fine 25. The nature of the error dictates that a $20/$10 error was also produced — whereabouts still unknown. 

Ely, Nev., is once again in the news on the heels of the discovery Red Seal note in April. This time, there are two small-size issues: a $20 national bank note (F-1802-1) in Extremely Fine from the Ely National Bank bearing Charter Number 9310, and a serial number 3 Type II $10 note from the First National Bank of Ely (F-1801-2, Charter 8561), graded Gem Uncirculated 65 Exceptional Paper Quality by Paper Money Guaranty.

High denomination notes are headed by a rare PMG Choice Uncirculated 64 Series 1934 $500 Federal Reserve note with star in the serial number, from St. Louis (F-2201-H*).

The sale includes a host of popular large-size notes like “Chiefs,” “Bisons,” and “Battleships,” along with more than a dozen Educational Series 1896 notes of all denominations and grades. A PMG Choice Uncirculated 64 Newfoundland 1920 $1 note might be the highlight of the Canadian and world section of the sale. The auctioneer states that a note in that condition or better has never before been offered at auction. A small group of better Bahamian notes should be attractive targets for British Commonwealth collectors.

More information is available here.

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