Joel R. Anderson’s collection of large-size notes heads to auction

The collection consists of approximately 240 notes, many the finest of their kind
By , Special to Coin World
Published : 12/22/17
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There are certain collections, that when sold, define a generation. Joel R. Anderson’s collection of United States large-size notes is one of them. 

All eyes will be drawn to Baltimore this March as Stack’s Bowers Galleries conducts the first of a series of auctions of inarguably the largest, finest, and most complete collection of its type in existence today. It can only be compared, the firm says, to the great collections of Albert Grinnell, which was sold in the 1940s, and of Amon Carter Jr., sold in 1984. It represents, they add, “Many years of connoisseurship and patience by Mr. Anderson, who focused his energy on acquiring the finest and the rarest examples.”

The collection consists of approximately 240 notes, each certified by PCGS Currency. It includes representatives from every category of large size currency: demand notes, legal tender notes, compound interest notes, interest-bearing notes, refunding certificates, silver certificates, Treasury notes, national bank notes, national gold bank notes, Federal Reserve Bank notes, Federal Reserve notes, and gold certificates. 

When we discuss the rare coin market in the U.S., we are merely scratching the surface. The larger market for rare coins in the United States is made up of dozens of individual segments.

Anderson’s goal was to acquire the finest known example of every seal type, resulting in notes in this collection that are unique in private hands, as well as some that are also absolutely unique, with no examples known even in government institutions.

Among the collection’s many highlights, to be sold either in March or in subsequent sales, is the only complete Series 1869 United States note “Rainbow” set of $5, $10, $20, $50, $100, $500, and $1,000 notes. The Friedberg 184 note, the $500 issue, is unique by design and is graded by PCGS Currency as About New 55 Premium Paper Quality. The $100 note is graded PCGS Gem New 66PPQ and is the finest of the 27 known. The $1,000 F-186f note grades PCGS Currency About New 53, is unique in private hands, and is also the finest known. 

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Also in the collection, a complete Series 1880 silver certificate “Black Back” set offers $10, $20, $50, $100, $500, and $1,000 notes. Only three $500 examples and just two $1,000 notes are known in private hands. There are only two possible complete sets available for private collectors. The F-345c $500 note is graded Very Fine 20 and the F-346d $1,000 issue is graded Very Fine 25 Apparent.

Another note unique in private hands is Anderson’s F-346e Series 1891 $1,000 silver certificate, as F-346d, with the bust of William L. Marcy. It is graded Very Fine 25. The other example is at the Smithsonian Institution.

If there were such a thing as the “king of U.S. currency,” it would be the “Grand Watermelon” F-379a Series 1890 $1,000 United States note. The Anderson example is one of only two for the large brown seal type and is graded About New 50. This identical note was the first to break the $1 million mark in 2005 when it sold for just under $1.1 million.

Among interest-bearing notes, the most exciting may be the F-202a 1861 $50 note in the auction that is unique in private hands. One other example is known but it is canceled. That one is currently in the collection of the Bureau of the Fiscal Service in Parkersburg, West Virginia.

Among the rare gold certificates is one of the earliest ever issued, an F-1166b Series 1863 $20 note that is graded About New 50 Apparent. Also unique in private hands is the F-1215d Series 1882 $500 gold certificate with the large red seal. 

Stack’s Bowers Galleries’ opinion is that Joel Anderson has amassed a collection that will most likely never be duplicated, no matter what budget a buyer may have. The firm will be preparing a series of special catalogs to showcase the collection, starting with their March 2018 auction at the Whitman Coin & Collectibles Expo in Baltimore. In addition to January’s Florida United Numismatists show in Tampa, highlights will be on display at the Long Beach Convention in February, and other venues. 

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