At $14,400 (including 20 percent buyer’s fee) a rare American Bank
Note Co. stock certificate issued in New York and dated May 15, 1868,
was the top seller in the Archives International July 26 auction in
Fort Lee, N.J.
The certificate, good for 14 shares, was described as issued and
punch canceled. It is black on red with a black border. At its center
is Liberty with an eagle and flag superimposed over a U.S. shield.
Busts of Benjamin Franklin and George Washington are in upper left and
right corners. It was issued to George Sturgis and signed by John
Gavit as president of the company.
The other lot breaking the $10,000 barrier, albeit by $200 before
the addition of the buyer’s fee, was a rare 1914 Russo-Asiatic Bank $5
note issued by its branch in Shanghai. The note has Cyrillic and
Chinese characters on one side and English and Chinese ones on the
other. Common to each side are a pair of dragons. It bears a grade
assigned by Paper Money Guaranty of Very Fine 30, and is one of only
two in the grading service’s census.
Connect with Coin World:
The next Archives International sale will be on Sept. 26
in Fort Lee.
What is American Bank
“Collecting Paper” columnist Wendell Wolka discussed the history of
American Bank Note Co. in a recent column:
Most paper money collectors are familiar with the formation of the
American Bank Note Co. in 1858.
Seven of the nation’s most prominent security printers decided to
merge and form the nation’s largest firm dedicated to this business.
It would be interesting to speculate whether this merger would have
survived today’s antitrust laws.
The few remaining stragglers did a merger of their own two years
later and formed the National Bank Note Co.
The stock in the new American Bank Note Co. was apportioned to the
seven founding firms based upon a number of factors such as the
amount of business that each controlled, business contacts, and so
forth. Rawdon, Wright, Hatch & Edson held the largest percentage
of shares (23.9 percent) while the smallest number of shares (2
percent of the shares issued) went to Gavit & Co. of Albany, N.Y.