Paper Money

Two rare former Anderson notes in Stack’s Bowers Baltimore auction

Among the 430 lots in the Stack’s Bowers Galleries’ United States currency auction in Baltimore on Nov. 14 are a pair of extraordinary notes estimated to sell in the low to mid six figures. Their reappearance so quickly after they were last sold in 2018 will be an indication of the strength of the high end of the paper money market. Both are from the collection of Joel R. Anderson.

The first is the highest graded Friedberg 150 Series 1863 $50 legal tender note. This example sold for $204,000 in the March 2018 session of the Anderson auctions, a price that the auctioneer calls “a great value,” considering that it sold for $253,000 in 2011. As were all the Anderson notes, it was graded by PCGS Currency, who called it About New 50, Premium Paper Quality. Stack’s Bowers is now estimating it at $200,000 to $300,000. 

The Track and Price census list 11 known, but one of those was seen only once, and that was on eBay in 2007 with a grade of Good 4 and a price of $1,175; existence of that example should be considered skeptically.

The second rarity from the Anderson Collection, a F-212f 1865 $500 interest-bearing note with one coupon still attached, is more than rare — it is unique, and exceptionally interesting. The hole-punch-canceled Very Fine 25 note sold in the August 2018 Anderson session for $336,000, the low end of its current $300,000 to $500,000 prediction. It is the only example remaining from the 175,682 originally printed.

Its printed serial number reads 7811. However, below the upper right number is a handwritten “78116.” The cataloger theorizes that the note was originally issued and redeemed as serial number 78116, but that the note got out of the Treasury after it was redeemed and the last digit of the serial number was removed in an effort to redeem it a second time. A handwritten name of a payee was removed from the face, as well. 

It is possible that when the Treasury Department figured out what may have been going on, it added the original, correct serial number in ink. It was also punch-canceled more than a dozen times, to permanently cancel it.

On the back of the note it is the handwritten notation “Writing has evidently been removed from the payee mark on this note SMC June 26/68.” The initials probably stand for National Currency Bureau head Spencer Clark. The serial number is also altered on the remaining coupon.

The small-size currency segment of the sales features a pair of serial number 1 star notes, a Series 1995 $1 Federal Reserve note (F-1992-K*) for the Dallas bank and a Series 2013 $20 Federal Reserve note (F-2097-L*) for San Francisco. The auction also offers a pair of rare early $1 silver certificate uncut sheets of 12. One features Series 1928 notes (F-1600) in Paper Money Guaranty About Uncirculated 58, and the other has Series 1928A notes (F-1601) in PMG Choice Uncirculated 63, said to be the only such sheet known and estimated to go for at least $15,000.

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