Paper Money

Three rare notes could attract spirited bidding

A trio of rarely-seen $100 national bank notes are expected to attract spirited bidding at the Nov. 18 Lyn Knight Currency Auctions sale at the Professional Currency Dealers Association convention in Rosemont, Ill. 

Two of them are Friedberg 530 Series 1882 Second Charter Period Brown Back national bank notes. One is from the First National Bank of Topeka (Kansas) in Extremely Fine condition; it is the only such note known from the bank. It went for $18,975 when Knight last sold it in 2006 and is expected to double that amount now. The other one is from the First National Bank of Grand Forks (North Dakota). Its recent discovery makes it just the second known F-530 note not only from the bank but also from the entire state. It is estimated at $30,000 to $50,000 in a grade of EF+. 

The third $100 national bank note is an F-704 Plain Back issue hailing from the Reno National Bank (Nevada) in Very Fine + condition. It has a $20,000 to $30,000 estimated value. It is one of five known F-704 notes from the bank. Only three other large-size $100 nationals are known from Nevada — a Series 1902 Date Back note and two 1902 Red Seal notes.

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The presence of 18 other Nevada national bank notes in this auction — three other large-size notes and the rest small-size issues — is far out of proportion to the state’s rarity. Only California, New York, and Pennsylvania are better-represented in the auction.

Foremost among the 90 pieces of large-size type notes in the floor session, and making its second auction appearance in a year, is a $20 compound interest note (F-191a) of Aug. 15, 1864. It is graded Very Fine 30 Apparent (for some edge splits and minor restorations) by PCGS Currency. The overprinted copper surcharge inscription has not oxidized. Its low estimate is $25,000, with an opening bid of $15,000.

An F-42 Series 1869 $2 legal tender note — the “Rainbow Note” design — graded PCGS Currency Gem Uncirculated 65 Premium Paper Quality is listed with an opening bid of $15,000 and a low estimate of $25,000. According to the cataloger, 10 or so examples of the note are graded at the Gem Uncirculated 65 Premium Paper Quality or Exceptional Paper Quality level.

Among the more interesting other large-size notes are an F-263 Series 1886 $5 silver certificate (Silver Dollar back design) graded Choice Uncirculated 64 by Paper Money Guaranty, and a Series 1886 $2 silver certificate (F-244) depicting Civil War Gen. Winfield Scott Hancock in PMG Gem Uncirculated 65 EPQ. There are 230 of the latter accounted for, but only 16 others are this grade or higher. Both of these silver certificates are expected to land in the $12,000 to $15,000 range.

A VF/EF $50 gold certificate star note (F-2404*) unreported until now heads the 141 lots of small-size currency. This is the 22nd known and, the cataloger says, the third finest, with a $7,000 to $10,000 estimate.

The Nov. 18 session also includes obsolete notes, error notes, military payment certificates, fractionals, and some colonial notes. A 709-lot Nov. 17 session dedicated to world currency includes a rare Palestine Currency Board 5-pound note dated 1.9.1927, expected to exceed $20,000.

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