Paper Money

Paper money hoards often found in old buildings or kept hidden

Editor's note: The following is the first of a multi-part Coin World series about the 1971 D.B. Cooper skyjacking prepared by Michele Orzano for the August 2014 monthly edition of Coin World.

Make sure you read the first two posts of the series: 

Some people may remember the name D.B. Cooper, the man who skyjacker an airplane in the northwest and jumpted from the plane with $200,000 in ransom cash, a portion of which was found in 1980 by an 8-year-old boy in Washington.

Though not everyone can make such a find, sometimes paper money is rediscovered in hoards. Throughout the years, Littleton Coin Company in Littleton, N.H., has been involved with the sale of notes, as well as coins and tokens, found in hoards.

In 2002 a family sold more than 300 Alabama state bank notes, each note individually hand-signed and numbered, to Littleton.

According to the Littleton website, the family had owned the stack of 1864 Alabama notes for more than 135 years.

“Still looking much as they did when printed in Montgomery [Ala.,] over a century before, the Crisp Uncirculated $5 and $10 notes presented a window on the Confederacy with their vignettes of plantation life,” according to the Littleton website. Littleton’s buyers bought more than 300 of the notes, each of which was individually hand signed and numbered.

In 1996, from another hoard of coins, paper money, tokens, bullion and antique cars, what Littleton called the Vermont Yankee Hoard, the firm purchased 17 $1,000 Federal Reserve notes and five $500 FRNs.

The hoard was discovered early in 1996 on the property of the late Alexander and Imogene Miller of East Orange, Vt.

All 17 $1,000 FRNs were either Series 1934 or 1934A, and 10 of the notes grade Extremely Fine. They were not consecutively numbered. The $500 notes are Series 1934 and ranged in grade from Very Fine to EF.

In addition to the notes, Littleton’s also purchased multiple Uncirculated 1878-S Morgan dollars found in sacks hidden away and four dozen previously unknown Vermont “good for” tokens.

Other items in the hoard included gold and silver bullion, stock certificates, and antique automobiles.

Various safes and hiding places on the Miller’s property — including beneath the floorboards of an abandoned schoolhouse building on the grounds — held nearly $900,000 worth of gold bullion and more than $100,000 in gold coins. The silver bullion consisted mainly of 70-pound ingots that resembled loaves of bread. In addition there were several antique cars, estimated to be worth $1.8 million.

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