Every once in a while, a piece of paper money in awful condition
tells a story better than one graded at the top of the scale. Such is
the case with a Friedberg 1225h Series 1900 $10,000 gold certificate
that was generously graded Fine 12 by PCGS Currency.
This note, and 79 other paper currency items, is scheduled for sale
by Alex Cooper Auctions of Baltimore on March 1. The $10,000 gold
certificates of 1900 are the stuff of legend. All have been redeemed
and they have no legal tender value. They are collectible because they
were in storage at the Old Post Office in Washington, D.C., on Dec.
13, 1935, when the building caught fire. When they were thrown from
windows onto the street below, the pedestrians who picked them up soon
learned they had nothing but souvenirs.
About 500 of them are known today of the 357,000 printed. While many
show signs of water or fire damage, they are for the most part in
surprisingly decent condition.
The note in the Cooper auction gives another view of what the
response to the fire must have been like. Michael Atkins, who
cataloged the sale, remarks that in addition to surviving the fire and
the water, this one, once it hit the street, was trampled on in the
frenzy, and became a witness to history.
The sale also offers silver and gold certificates, 13 national bank
notes from Baltimore banks including what could be the only known
First Charter, Series 1875 $10 note (F-417) from the Second National
Bank of Baltimore.
The auction is here.
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