Paper Money

ANA convention sales will test currency market limits

Proof of the resurgence of the U.S. paper money market in mid-2016 will be on full display at the American Numismatic Association convention in Anaheim, Calif. With a huge array of quality and rarity changing hands in two sales on two days, it is clear that consignors are willing to test the limits of the market.

The Stack’s Bowers Galleries paper money auction on the evening of Wednesday, Aug. 10, is full of new national bank notes, high-grade rarities, and ultra-high denominations.

The national bank note section is ripe with discoveries. Estimated at $80,000 to $120,000 is the only First Charter $100 national known to exist from New Jersey, an Original Series specimen from Salem. Another is a Paper Money Guaranty Very Fine 30 $5 Blue Seal note from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., just the third note from the town and estimated at $20,000 to $30,000. The auction offers four new serial number 1 notes from New York — a Brown Back note from Herkimer, Red Seal notes from Lake George and Dolgeville, and a Blue Seal note from Belfast. The Lake George note is estimated at $40,000 to $80,000.

Other significant national bank note discoveries include a Black Charter note from Central City, Colorado Territory, and a semi-unique territorial $1 national from Pueblo, Colorado Territory; each note is estimated at $20,000 to $30,000. Another previously unique charter, for Sonoma, Calif., now has a new survivor, a PMG VF-25 Blue Seal note from The First National Bank of Sonoma estimated at $15,000 to $25,000.

Some classic rarities are also represented, including a Friedberg 1700 1933 $10 silver certificate graded by PMG as Superb Gem Uncirculated 67 and estimated at $75,000 to $125,000. 

Leading the large-size type section of the auction is a PCGS Currency Extremely Fine 45 Series 1890 $100 Treasury note (the “Watermelon note”) estimated at $200,000 to $300,000. Other six-figure realizations will be possible from high-denomination notes like a PCGS Currency VF-35 $5,000 note from the less often seen Series 1928, and a PCGS Currency Very Choice New 64 $10,000 note from the Las Vegas Binion hoard. 

Superb quality large-size type notes and more small-size high denomination notes will dominate a day later at the Heritage Auctions currency sale. The sale offers four featured silver certificates graded Gem New 66 or above. A $2 Series 1886 silver certificate with the bust of Gen. Winfield Scott Hancock graded PCGS Currency Superb Gem New 68 Premium Paper Quality is one of the two finest known. An F-246 Series 1891 $2 silver certificate in PCGS Currency Superb Gem New 67 PPQ is the best of that catalog number to be sold in several years. The third silver certificate is a Series 1896 $5 Educational Note, F-268, graded Gem New 66 Premium Paper Quality by PCGS Currency. Finally, also in Gem New 66 is the highest graded $20 1891 silver certificate evaluated by that service.

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Called the “King of Black Eagles” is one of only two known star notes of F-229a, the Series 1899 $1 silver certificate. It is graded PCGS Currency Very Choice New 64 PPQ, making it the better of the two. 

Adding to the embarrassment of riches are two F-1180 Technicolor $20 gold certificates graded by PCGS Currency as Very Choice New 64 PPQ and Gem New 65 PPQ. 

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