Paper Money

Small-size notes with large bids in Heritage auction

This Friedberg 1179 Series 1905 $20 gold certificate graded Superb Gem Uncirculated 67 EPQ by PMG realized $102,000 at the Heritage auction in Philadelphia in August.

Original images courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

The 107 lots in the Heritage Currency Platinum Night Auction for U.S. paper money at the American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money resulted in total sales of $1,976,946 including the 20 percent buyer’s fee. The Platinum Night for world currency was no slouch either, attracting winning bids totaling $1,349,640 for 173 lots.

Results of $100,000 or more in important sales of American paper currency are not unusual, and the auction in Philadelphia had four of them. 

Two were small-size Series 1934 $5,000 Federal Reserve notes issued for the Chicago bank (Friedberg 2221-G). A Paper Money Guaranty Choice Uncirculated 64 note brought $150,000 and a PCGS Currency About Uncirculated 58 Premium Paper Quality example sold for $102,000. 

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Also selling at $102,000 and called Gem Uncirculated 67 by PMG was the highest graded F-1179 “Technicolor note” — a Series 1905 $20 gold certificate. 

An F-1078b Series 1914 $100 Red Seal Federal Reserve note in PMG Superb Gem Uncirculated 67 Exceptional Paper Quality was hammered down for $120,000. It ranks as the highest-graded note of the issue by either major grading service and one of the best of all $100 Red Seal notes.

It is not as common for a world paper currency item to break the six-figure barrier, but Heritage had one of those, too: A color trial specimen of a Zanzibar Government 20-rupee note dated JANUARY.1,1908 realized $108,000 in PMG Gem Uncirculated 65 Exceptional Paper Quality. The catalog description says it is the only example of this type in the PMG Census, as well as the highest denomination third-party graded, and probably unique.

The note was printed in England by Waterlow and Sons Limited. It is dark gray with elements of pink, orange, and yellow. The design is similar to the other denominations in the series, with a dhow under sail at left and eight workers harvesting cloves on the right. SPECIMEN NO VALUE is overprinted in red on two lines.

Another specimen note showing a strong result at $43,200 was a Government of Iraq 10-dinar note of Jan. 7, 1931, with the portrait of King Faisal I. Close behind at $40,800 was a Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corp. $5 note of Jan. 1,1923, with scenes of a city gate, workers, and a junk. PCGS Currency called it choice About New 55 Premium Paper Quality.

A dozen notes in the world currency session sale broke $20,000.

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