Paper Money

Large-size type notes included in January Heritage sale

Foremost among large-size type notes in Heritage’s January auction of paper money is one of two known Friedberg 109 $10 Series 1880 United States notes.

All images courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

The 2024 year in United States paper currency will start out the same way it usually does, with a massive Heritage Auctions paper money sale. The 1,110+ lot extravaganza, called the FUN Currency Signature Auction, is being held a week after the Orlando Florida United Numismatists convention, on Jan. 10 through 12 online, and at the firm’s Dallas headquarters.

Most of the bidding time will be spent on more than 400 national bank notes, but as far as value is concerned, large-size type notes dominate. Foremost among them, the Gengerke census says, is one of two known Friedberg 109 $10 Series 1880 United States notes. This one, graded Extremely Fine 40 by Paper Money Guaranty, has been offered twice by Heritage in the last two decades. In 2006, it was graded Very Fine to Extremely Fine and brought $184,000. In 2014, it received its current grade by PMG and sold for $114.500. The other example has not been seen publicly since a 1999 sale in Memphis, Tennessee.

It is one of the more interesting among U.S. currency designs, with a bust of Daniel Webster at left, a vignette of Pocahontas being presented to the English royal court at right, and eagle at the bottom center, that when viewed upside down is said to the resemble the head of a jackass, leading to its “Jackass Note” nickname.

Not more than four examples are known of F-153, the Series 1875 $50 United States note with the Wyman-Allison signature combination. One graded Very Fine 20 with closed pinholes by PMG in the Brent Pogue collection sold for $60,000 in 2020, well below its estimate. The current note was graded Fine 12 by PCGS Currency when it sold for $99,000 as part of Joel Anderson’s collection in 2018. It is now graded Choice Fine 15 by PMG, and it would be no surprise if it reached six figures in the current market.

The 1918 $50 Federal Reserve Bank note from the St. Louis bank is the key to the entire series, since that bank was the only one to issue that denomination. The censuses agree that just 53 of these are known today of the 4,000 issued. The grade of PMG Choice About Uncirculated 58 places it among the upper tiers of condition ranking, but as the cataloger mentions, “Most of the examples of this number are found in high grades of Extremely Fine and above. This tells us that the rarity of this note was recognized early on, and examples were plucked from circulation shortly after they were issued with collector extraordinaire William Philpott being the frontman on spreading the word through the years about this rare note.”

When this example was last sold by Heritage three years ago at the FUN auction, it realized $50,400, which, based on the Track & Price tabulation, is the highest price ever recorded for the type in any condition.

The national bank note section is headed by a First Charter Period, Original Series $50 note from the First National Bank of Geneva (Ohio), graded Very Fine 20 by PCGS Banknote. It has been off the market since 2016 when it sold for $35,250. There are said to be only 35 Original Series $50 notes from all states combined, making it scarcer than the $100 denomination.

Featured among the 51 error notes is that category’s “king,” a dual-denomination F-1960-J $5 Series 1934D Federal Reserve note with the back of a $10 note. It is graded PMG Gem Uncirculated 65. Heritage last sold a $5/$10 double-denomination note in this grade last January for $38,400.

The 182 small size notes include the highest graded North Africa star note, an F-2306* rated Gem Uncirculated 68 by PCGS Banknote. Track and Price lists 67 as the highest graded recorded, with the most recently sold examples reaching $10,200 in 2022.

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