Paper Money

If it's November, it's time for paper money auctions

The paper money market took a brief hiatus after the Heritage Auctions September sale in Long Beach, Calif., but it was not meant to last long.

Activity resumed with the popular Wall Street Collector’s Bourse in New York City on Oct. 21 to 23 at the Museum of American Finance. A boutique show with limited tables, it still has a full range of paper offerings.

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On Oct. 22, it was also the venue for the first session of a three-part collector-oriented sale by Archives International Auctions of Fort Lee, N.J. Included on the first day of the diverse auction were checks, ephemera, notes and bonds of the Confederacy, and United States and world bonds and stock certificates. Another category drawing interest was an extensive selection of security printer advertising used by the entities to display samples of their work. The second part of the sale consisted of world and United States paper currency and was scheduled for Oct. 25 at the firm’s offices. The third session was internet only. 

Stack’s Bowers’ Baltimore auction

Two weeks later, from Nov. 3 to 6, Stack’s Bowers Galleries will hold a 466-lot paper money auction at the 2016 Baltimore Winter Expo. As has been usual lately, the top estimate belongs to a small-size high-denomination note. In this case a Friedberg 2221-G Series 1934 Chicago district $5,000 Federal Reserve note in Paper Money Guaranty Extremely Fine 40 Net, Repairs. Despite the defect, it is estimated at $60,000 to $80,000. The catalog mentions that, in total (combining Series 1928 and 1934), only 230 $5,000 Federal Reserve notes are known today.

Series 1928 and 1934 $1,000 Federal Reserve notes are among those that come in both dark green and light green Treasury seal varieties. The dark version of the F-2211-K Series 1934 $1,000 note from the Dallas district is fairly common as far as this denomination goes. The light green seal version is another story, and a note graded PCGS Currency Gem New 65 in the auction is one of two known in such a high grade. It is expected to reach at least $30,000.

Among large-size Federal Reserve notes, the $1,000 note is the highest value that is collectible, and despite a PCGS Currency grade of just Very Fine 35 Apparent, Restorations, an example from the Atlanta district (F-1133-F) is estimated at $25,000 to $35,000. It is one of only nine reported. 

A Series 1896 $2 silver certificate, known as an “Educational note” (F-247), in PCGS Currency Gem New 66 Premium Paper Quality is cataloged in the $12,500 to $17,500 range. The note in the auction has a relatively low serial number of 117.

An unusual aspect of the Baltimore auction is that, based on pre-sale estimates, the above two notes are the only large-size type notes in the top 10. Five of the others are the classic Confederate States of America rarities, including all four denominations of the 1861 Montgomery, Ala., issues: a PCGS Currency About Uncirculated 50 $50 and in the Very Fine range, the $100, $500, and $1,000 notes. PCGS Currency says that they all show evidence of repairs. The two lower denominations are estimated at a low of $15,000 each, and the others at $25,000 each. The fifth CFA note is one of 140 known $5 Indian Princess notes of 1861. It is graded PCGS Currency VF-25 Apparent and is in the $20,000 to $30,000 range.

The most prominent national bank note in the sale is a discovery $5 Series 1902 Plain Back note, F-606, of The First National Bank of Vero (Florida). It is the fourth example ever seen from this bank. PMG grades the note “Very Fine 30 Net. Stained, Rust.” It has a $15,000 to $25,000 expectation.

Lyn Knight auction

Another two weeks after the Baltimore auction is the 31st Annual Professional Currency Dealers Association National Currency & Coin Show in Rosemont, Ill., from Nov. 17 to 19. The event will have a 70-dealer bourse, club meetings, educational programs, and a three-session Lyn Knight auction featuring world and United States paper money. 

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