Paper Money

Stack’s Bowers sale to offer wide range of U.S. paper money

Whether the United States paper money market, especially for notes in the higher grades, continues its hot streak will be tested in August’s Stack’s Bowers Galleries Global Showcase auction.

The auction will offer samples from across the spectrum, starting with colonial currency and including a specialized collection of “radar” notes, where the serial number reads the same forwards and backwards.

Among the highlights in the category of large-size notes is a Friedberg 268 Series 1896 $5 silver certificate (an “Educational Note”) graded Gem Uncirculated 65 by Paper Money Guaranty that has been off the public market since it sold at auction in 1999 for $9,350. Similar examples have recently been sold in the range of $25,000.

Another long-unseen large-size issue is a Series 1918 $1,000 Federal Reserve note from the Chicago bank (F-1133-G) in Extremely Fine 45 condition. This example last appeared in a Stack’s sale in 1991, when it sold for $5,060. The last time another example was offered at auction in this high a condition was in 2005 when an EF-40 note was cataloged at $29,750. In today’s market, it could bring a strong mid-five-figure price.

A few large-size highlights will be new to the Track & Price census. An F-197a Series 1863 $20 interest-bearing note with serial number 80073 will be listed as the 27th known, and graded Very Fine 25 by PMG. Only six examples are in higher condition. Recent sales for similar notes have usually been in the $20,000 to $30,000 range.

Another new highlight is a PMG Extremely Fine 45 Series 1880 $50 United States note (F-164) portraying Benjamin Franklin at left and a personification of Liberty dressed as Columbia at right and serial number A982814. Recent sales have been in the $10,000 range.

Another standout that is not yet listed in Track & Price is a large-size Series 1899 $5 silver certificate radar note with serial number M99000099 graded Choice Uncirculated 64 by PMG. Stack’s Bowers sold a note in the same grade but with a pedestrian serial number for $5,280 in April last year, but another Choice Uncirculated 64 note having a serial number of solid ones (N11111111) brought $48,000 at another auction a month later. What the note offered in August may sell for is anyone’s guess.

No big auction seems complete these days without a small size high denomination note. This sale features an F-2221-G Series 1934 $5,000 Federal Reserve note from the Chicago bank in PMG Choice Uncirculated 64. It is tied with two others for the title of finest known. This note fetched $146,875 in 2017 and based on recent trends for this type of note, it could possibly go for a multiple of that. The $5,000 notes are scarcer than the $10,000 notes.

More than a few appealing small-size notes are offered with radar and other special numbers. One of them is the first small-size silver certificate, a Series 1928 $1 note (F-1600) with number C10000000A in PCGS Currency Choice Uncirculated 64. Mickey Mantle fans will pay attention to a pair of notes with solid “7” numbers. — an F-2123-G Series 1988 $50 Federal Reserve note from Chicago in PCGS Currency Very Fine 30 with serial number G77777777A, and an F-2173-B. Series 1990 $100 Federal Reserve note from New York in PMG Choice About Uncirculated 58 with number B77777777C.

The auction will also offer a large grouping of Colonial and Continental currency in Gem Uncirculated quality, including a Maryland $1 dated Jan. 1, 1767 (MD-44), graded Gem New 65 by PCGS Banknote. When this note was last on the market in 2015 it realized $14,100.

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