Paper Money

Three Anderson notes top $1 million in auction

Three exceedingly rare pieces of United States paper currency, as expected, broke the million dollar barrier at the fourth and concluding session of the sale of the Joel R. Anderson Collection of United States Paper Money. 

The session was held on the evening of Feb. 28 in Baltimore, and according to Stack’s Bowers Galleries, the 54 lots resulted in sales of close to $8 million, including the firm’s 20 percent buyer’s fee. That brought the total for all four sessions of the Anderson Collection to $34,126,980, and made it the most valuable U.S. paper money collection ever sold at auction. The previous three sessions were held in March, August, and October 2018.


Inside Coin World 1866 Shield 5-cent coinInside Coin World: The two 1866 5-cent coins with different alloys: Two different 1866 5-cent coins and Arkansas paper money that was redeemable in bacon, among other things, are among the subjects of columns in the March 25 Coin World.


At the top of the million dollar lots was the $1.92 million achieved by the first-ever appearance at public auction of a Series 1891 $1,000 silver certificate (Friedberg 346e). This note, with a bust of William L. Marcy (1786 to 1857), who served as both secretary of war and of state, among other positions, is the only example held privately. The one other that is known is in the Smithsonian Institution.

The other two million-dollar notes, at $1.44 million each, were high-denomination Rainbow Notes, the $500 and $1,000 denominations, also the only ones known to be privately held. The two notes were the capstones for a nine-piece series of Series 1869 legal tender note set that also included the $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100. The total for the series’ individual lots was more than $3.6 million.

Almost a quarter of the lots exceeded the $100,000 threshold. Among them were a pair of gold certificates. Graded by PCGS Currency as About New 50, the finest known F-1166B Series 1863 $20 gold certificate sold for $396,000. A Series 1882 $1,000 gold certificate (F-1218e) brought $348,000 in PCGS Currency Very Fine 35.

One of three known 1863 F-199 $100 interest-bearing notes sold for $204,000. An 1864 interest-bearing note, F-212 $50, with a pedigree to the 1944 to 1946 sale of the Albert A. Grinnell Collection, realized $132,000. An F-212a $100 interest-bearing note, at Very Fine 35 by PCGS Currency, the finest graded of only four known, brought $156,000. 

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