Paper Money

On the Block Paper Money: Rare ‘Martha’ note grades Gem Uncirculated 65

This Series 1886 $1 silver certificate with a vignette of Martha Washington sold for $7,050 during the Nov. 7 auction session conducted by Stack’s Bowers Galleries in conjunction with the Whitman Expo in Baltimore.

Image courtesy of Stack’s Bowers Galleries.

A rare Series 1886 $1 silver certificate sold for $7,050 during the Nov. 7 auction conducted by Stack’s Bowers Galleries. The sale price exceeds the pre-auction estimate of $4,000 to $6,000.

The portrait of Martha Washington, the nation’s very first first lady, used on the face of the note, draws collectors to this type note. And the elaborate design on the back, often referred to as a “fancy” back design, adds to the appeal of the note. The note is cataloged as Friedberg 216 in Paper Money of the United States by Arthur L. Friedberg and Ira S. Friedberg.

The note is graded Gem Uncirculated 65 Exceptional Paper Quality by Paper Money Guaranty. This note is rarely seen in this high of a grade, according to the auction house. According to the catalog description, “PMG has graded a scant five notes at this level with none finer and a look at the PCGS report shows only three at the 65 PPQ [Premium Paper Quality] level and a single 66 PPQ.”

The auction was conducted in conjunction with the Whitman Expo in Baltimore and offered 758 lots of U.S. and world paper money. Out of the total lots offered, 748 lots sold, for total prices realized of $1,243,484.88. ¦

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