Paper Money

Heritage kicks off 2016 paper money sales in Tampa

One of the most hectic paper money auction seasons in recent memory came to a close in November with the Lyn Knight sale at the Professional Currency Dealers Association show. The results showed once again that fresh, rare material will always attract deserving prices. Knight’s auction proved this especially in the national bank note and small-size note categories. Overall, however, common notes, even those in high grades, are not being traded at elevated levels of enthusiasm.

United States paper money activity is continuing to focus on the various auction venues, all of which took a break for the month of December. The respite will not last long. On Jan. 6 the Heritage Auctions sale at the Florida United Numismatists show in Tampa will offer more than 1,700 national bank notes, 681 large-size notes and 723 small-size notes of various types, as well as fractionals, colonials, errors, and obsoletes. 

Once again, the highest-priced note is expected to be a small-size $10,000 note — this one a Friedberg 2231-B Series 1934 Federal Reserve note from the New York district in Paper Money Guaranty Choice Uncirculated 64. It comes from the old Binion Casino display in Las Vegas and Heritage estimates it at from $125,000 to $175,000. 

The only other lot expected to sell for six figures is also a small-size issue. A $100 1928 gold certificate (F-2405) is graded PMG Gem Uncirculated 66 EPQ, making it one of only two notes graded this high by either paper money grading service.

Among large-size type notes a few stand out, none more so than a serial number 1 F-757 $2 1918 Federal Reserve Bank note in PMG Choice Uncirculated 64 and estimated at a minimum of $50,000. This particular piece traces its lineage back to the June 1946 Grinnell sale where it was paired in a lot with the corresponding $5 number 1 note. The duo sold for $62.

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As we observed throughout the fall, national bank notes are drawing renewed interest. The Tampa auction will have at least four lots that should attract five-figure bids. Leading them all at $40,000 to $60,000 is a newly discovered serial number 1 $5 1882 Brown Back note of the First National Bank San Diego. PMG graded it Extremely Fine 40. Several other nationals are projected at $20,000 to $30,000 each. One is a $10 1902 Plain Back note from The First National Bank of Tombstone (Arizona). It is graded PCGS Currency Very Fine 20 and is the first offering from this bank in four years. The other two are from the First Charter Period. One is another new discovery, a $5 1875 note from The First National Bank of Hamburg (Iowa). Its grade of PMG VF-30 Net is irrelevant, since this note is unique for the bank and with only $345 worth of currency reported as outstanding, the odds of there being another one are slim. Finally, a serial number 1 Original Series Lazy Deuce issue, a $2 note (F-389) from the First National Bank of Kankakee (Illinois) in a grade of PMG VF-30 Net makes its first appearance on the market since 2007.

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