Paper Money

Annual paper money show has continuing draw

The International Paper Money Show, organized by Lyn Knight, was held from June 13 to 16 in Kansas City, Missouri, for the third time since it ended a 40-year run in Memphis, Tennessee. 

Even though, as dealer Fred Bart said, “The number of dealers and attendees has contracted, consistent with major shows nationwide,” the show continues to be the leading forum for paper money collecting in all its forms in the United States. It is one where the collectors and dealers who attend come to do business, and as Bart added, to renew long unseen acquaintances.

Public attendance was hampered somewhat by horrible weather in the Midwest, but world paper dealer William M. Rosenblum echoed Bart’s sentiments. He called it a very good show for him, in part thanks to a consignment of fresh material. Most of his sales were to dealers, but some of the collectors he saw were ones he has known for decades.

There were over 50 dealers with tables, including an international contingent. Lyn Knight Auctions held three sales sessions. The world paper portion on June 13 featured a number of lots that soared beyond their expectations. 

An East African Currency Board 10-florin or 1-pound note of May 1, 1920, graded Choice Uncirculated 64 by Paper Money Guaranty, is the best by far of the four listed in the Track and Price World Paper Money guide. Estimated to sell for $10,000 to $20,000, it sold for $37,600, including the buyer’s fee.

Also at $37,600, but estimated at $25,000 to $35,000 in PMG Very Fine 25, was one of four known Iraqi 5-dinar notes of July 1, 1931. The note, with the bust of King Faisal I, more than doubled the price of a similar note sold in 2014.

The two sessions devoted to United States currency included many error notes, a selection of early small-size uncut sheets, a fair number of small-size packs of a hundred notes each, and the expected assortment of national bank notes

The top result in the entire auction was the $49,350 paid for a $50/$100 double-denomination Date Back (Friedberg 559) from the Columbia National Bank of Buffalo (New York). PCGS Currency graded it About New 50. 

Educational speakers

The Educational Speakers Series is always an IPMS highlight. As usual, sessions presenting mostly new research were held continuously on Friday and Saturday starting at 10 a.m. The most significant this year was Nick Bruyer’s presentation of his research on “The First U.S. Demand Note.”

As a result of his extensive research on the Panic of 1837, the author makes a convincing argument that some pre-Civil War Treasury notes circulated as currency. The Treasury notes of 1837 to 1843 were issued because the coins were disappearing from circulation, and the government was running out of the money needed to function. 

The notes were split into two classes. The first offered a high interest rate and was targeted at investors. The second, instituted by Congress over fierce objections, had a low, or nominal interest rate, and were payable to bearer. In effect, Bruyer says, the latter were effectively “a circulating paper money to help alleviate the severe coin shortage.” These $50 and $100 notes were used to pay government suppliers and employees, the military and even members of Congress two decades before the demand notes of 1861, the oldest currency still legal tender.

Topics of other talks included emergency paper money of World War I and their counterfeiters, obsolete notes, money issue by neutral nations during World War II, and Japanese puppet banks in China.

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