Paper Money

High-grade 'Jackass Note' could bring up to $125K

The sale of more than 250 lots of paper currency being conducted by Kagin’s Auctions at the National Money Show in Orlando, Fla., on March 10, has more than a fair share of exceptional offerings. 

Topping them all, with an estimated price of from $60,000 to $125,000, is one of only two examples of large-size notes that Paper Money Guaranty has ever awarded the lofty designation of Superb Gem Uncirculated 69. The Friedberg 107 Series 1880 $10 United States note is known colloquially as the “Jackass Note” because when the note is held upside down the eagle on the face resembles the head of a donkey. The only other note to receive a 69 designation in the last 25 years is a more common $1 United States note of 1923.

The auction offers five examples of Series 1901 $10 United States notes (known as the Bison note for the large bison vignette on the face). One is an F-114 in PMG Gem Uncirculated 67 Exceptional Paper Quality. The other four, all graded PMG 65 EPQ, are from a cut sheet of the F-122 variety. Other Gem United States notes include one of the finest Series 1923 F-123 $10 notes in PMG Gem Uncirculated 66, and a Series 1880 F-161 $50 note with Benjamin Franklin and Columbia on the face graded PMG Choice Uncirculated 64 EPQ.

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Uncirculated examples of all three Educational notes are represented in the silver certificate section, augmented by a set of the $1, $2, and $5 India paper face specimens, with estimates in the low to mid five-figure range.

The collector in a hurry to put together a complete set of Series 1899 $5 silver certificates gets a chance with a PMG Gem Uncirculated 66 set of all 11 signature combinations (F-271 to F-281 varieties). The notes will first be offered individually and then, provisionally, as one lot with a starting price of $25,000 and a low estimate of $75,000.

Other Superb Gem silver certificates are a PCGS Currency Crisp Uncirculated 66 $5 Series 1923 “Porthole note” (F-282) and a $10 Series 1891 “Tombstone note” (F-300) in PMG Gem Uncirculated 66. 

A $1,000 Series 1918 F-1133a Federal Reserve note in PMG Very Fine 30 Net, Restorations, is expected to bring at least $20,000.

Rounding out the large-size section are gold certificates including an F-1173 $10 Series 1922 issue graded PMG Superb Gem Unc. 67. Also offered are an F-1178 Series 1882 $20 gold certificate note graded PMG Gem Uncirculated 65 EPQ and a rarely-seen Series 1882 F-1216 $500 gold certificate in PMG Fine 15 Net. 

The Kagin name has long been synonymous with national bank notes and that continues with a collection of over 100 large- and small-size Florida nationals, some of which are extremely rare. Among them are a Series 1902 $10 Plain Back note from Chipley; a $5 Gainesville Brown Back national; a Key West 1929 $10 national; and one of the stars of the collection, a serial No. 1 Series 1929 $10 national bank note from Palatka. 

Other scarce large-size national bank notes from Florida institutions include a $10 Brown Back note from Pensacola, 1902 $5 Plain Back national bank notes from Perry and Quincy, and $10 Plain Back notes from St. Petersburg and the American National Bank of Tampa. Other small-size notes from rare Florida banks include a $10 Live Oak national bank note and a $5 national from Marianna. 

The sale also includes a colonial section that has the popular SC-158 $90 of Feb. 8 1779, with a reverse showing Hercules wrestling a lion. And these days it seems no U.S. paper money sale would be complete without a small-size high-denomination note, so the one here is an F-2231-B $10,000 Federal Reserve note from the Las Vegas Binion Hoard in PCGS Currency Apparent Choice New 63.  

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