There are certain collections, that when sold, define a generation.
Joel R. Anderson’s collection of United States large-size notes is one
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
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,
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.