Paper Money

Big small notes highlight Stack's Bowers auction

It has become normal to see small-size high-denomination notes dominate the top price tier in contemporary auctions. These notes are nearly always from the Series 1934 issue. Seeing one from the earlier Series 1928 does not often happen, so the appearance of one such $5,000 note at the Stack’s Bowers Galleries currency auction at the American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money in Denver on Aug. 2 is a rarity in itself. 

When the Morgan dollar was a half dollar”There was a time when the Morgan dollar was actually a half dollar: Another column in the July 31 issue of Coin World explains how collectors can create their own archival-quality holders for oversized paper money.

Only 18 Series 1928 $5,000 Federal Reserve notes are currently recorded from all 12 Federal Reserve districts combined, as opposed to 86 for the Series 1934 issues. The note being offered (Friedberg 2220-F) is one of the six known of the 1,440 originally printed for the Atlanta district. PCGS Currency assigned it a grade of Very Fine 30 with Premium Paper Quality, making it the grading service’s second finest known after an Extremely Fine 45. It is estimated to sell for $125,000 to $175,000.

Among large-size high-denomination Federal Reserve notes, with all $5,000 and $10,000 notes in government collections, the $1,000 note is the highest note that is collectible. A recently discovered Federal Reserve note from the Boston bank (F-1133-A) is only the fifth known and with a grade of PCGS Currency EF-40 PPQ, is the best of them, as well as the one with the lowest serial number (A4315A). Its opening bid of $48,000 is less than the $51,700 a VF-30 example sold for in January. It is expected to sell for $80,000 to $120,000.

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The national bank note section of the sale is headlined by a relic from the Wild West: Deadwood, S.D., the home to, among others, Wyatt Earp, Wild Bill Hickock and his friend Martha Jane Canary, better known as Calamity Jane, and Sheriff Seth Bullock. The Series 1882 $10 Brown Back note (F-487) from the American National Bank of Deadwood has bank serial number 1, leading the cataloger to conclude that the note was saved by either its cashier Ben Baer or president Harris Franklin, and was passed down through one of their families until it ended up in a Pennsylvania estate. It is only the second note from the bank and one of only a dozen large-size national bank notes from the entire city. It is graded VF-30 PPQ by PCGS Currency and is offered with an estimate of $60,000 to $80,000.

The 551 lot auction  includes Colonial notes, obsolete notes, a large section of Confederate currency, large-size and small-size issues with an extensive run of $500 and $1,000 notes, and national bank notes.

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