Paper Money

Market remains stable

As always at this time of year the eyes (and wallets) of the paper money community focus on the annual International Paper Money Show held in Memphis, Tenn., this year set for June 9 to 12.

Those going to Memphis this year do so with the knowledge that prices have stabilized and have begun to rebound from their recession-era lows.

Sellers have begun to notice, as well, and the Memphis auction, to be conducted by Lyn Knight Currency Auctions, leaves no room for those who lament a loss of top-tier material.

The highlight of the four-session auction is the Diamond Bar Collection of U.S. large-size type notes, a collection formed within the last 20 years by a collector with a diligent focus on quality.

The offering includes all the important currency types in denominations from $1 to $100, and more impressively, some notes of which we have seen few offered lately, including an assortment of $500 and $1,000 notes.

Included among the latter are gold certificates, including a Series 1922 $1,000 gold certificate, Friedberg 1220 (Paper Money of the United States by Arthur L. and Ira S. Friedberg) in Extremely Fine 45 condition.

There’s also a 1922 $500 gold certificate, F-1217, which in About Uncirculated 55 stands among the top five notes known.

Also offered are a Series 1918 $1,000 Federal Reserve note, F-1133-C, and a rare Series 1880 $1,000 United States note, F-187j, which in EF-40 condition matches the top grade known.

The auction will also offer a Series 1890 $100 Treasury or coin note, F-377, known as the “Watermelon Note” because of the large zeroes on its ornate back — among the most famous pieces of U.S. paper currency. This is the first time one of these has been offered at auction since 2008.

Also offered is its much rarer but less attractive companion, a Series 1891 $100 Treasury note, F-378; the note in the auction, graded “Net Fine 15,” is one of just about a dozen notes known.

Those looking for vivid color will find it in all denominations of the Series 1869 United States notes, earning them the nickname of “Rainbow Notes.”

A colorful Series 1905 $20 gold certificate, F-1180, in Very Choice New 64 quality, will also be offered at auction.

The 2011 IPMS marks the 35th anniversary of the Memphis event and it promises to be the largest one yet. This year’s show also marks the 50th anniversary of both the International Bank Note Society and the Society of Paper Money Collectors.

In addition to the auction sessions, the show will offer a bourse with 165 tables, an authors’ forum, club meetings and more than a dozen speakers on a range of hobby subjects.

A display of notes from one of the greatest American paper money collections ever assembled, that of Aubrey and Adeline Bebee, will be in Memphis for the first time. The Bebees donated their collection to the American Numismatic Association, which is mounting the exhibit.

Notes from the Bebee Collection also form the basis for the illustrations in Paper Money of the United States by Arthur and Ira Friedberg, but the images do not compare to what you will see in person. ¦

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