The month of August presents dealers and collectors ample opportunity to acquire a wide selection of currency at auction, thanks to the sales held at the World’s Fair of Money by both Heritage and Stacks Bowers. Heritage offers a Platinum Night-only auction of 107 lots and Stack’s Bowers offers 837 lots in two sessions. Stack’s Bowers also has a world paper money auction. One feature of both sales is a tremendous selection of Confederate currency. This segment is certainly popular at the moment, as more collectors understand the scarcity of fully framed and brightly printed notes. It is similar to what has been happening for a while in coins, where premium quality examples within a given grade bring significant premiums. Stack’s Bowers is selling the Cleo Collection of Confederate Paper Money, a complete type set which was assembled over the course of more than 40 years. The collection features many of the finest-known examples of a given type. Over at Heritage, they offer a complete set of the four Montgomery notes, the most famous of the Confederate issues. Also notable in the Heritage sale are multiple high-denomination gold certificates: a Series 1882 $1,000 graded PCGS VF35 that should be the sale topper, a $1,000 Series 1907 graded PMG VF30, and a $1,000 Series 1928 in a PCGS VF30 holder. Stack’s Bowers remarkably has two Series 1918 $1,000 large size Federal Reserve Notes: one from the Boston district graded PCGS XF40PPQ and a San Francisco district example graded VF30 Net by PMG.
We are happy to announce that with the publication of the $5 notes, we have completed the pricing of small-size Legal Tender replacement notes. We have now priced the star notes of all small-size Silver Certificates and Legal Tenders which we hope is helpful for this underrated market. Another exciting announcement we have is that all the CDN Greensheet pricing can now be accessed via our website at www.greysheet.com. Our retail prices, known as Collectors Price Guide (CPG) prices are free for all visitors and subscribers can login and access the wholesale prices live online. Going forward, the online listings will contain more information than the printed sheet because of space limitations. This will include pricing in additional grades, such as split grades, and additional Friedberg numbers. The online CDN price guide will be the most comprehensive United States currency guide available.
NOTE IN FOCUS: FR. 128 SERIES 1875 $20 LEGAL TENDER
The $20 Legal Tender design type featuring the portrait of Alexander Hamilton and standing allegorical Victory made its debut with the series of 1869 Rainbow issues and continued in use until the series of 1880, covering many signaturecombinations-18 in total-along with seal and serial number varieties. It is fascinating to ponder the decision-making process that Treasury officials used when deciding which portraits to use on which note in the early days of Federal paper money. The use of Hamilton is an obvious one, as the person who served as the first Secretary of the Treasury beginning in September 1789 and serving until January 1795. It was during his tenure that the foundations of our monetary system were created, including the establishment of the United States Mint and the concept of a decimal coinage as opposed to fractional. Interestingly, on the initial issue of Legal Tender notes of 1862 Hamilton was used on the $2 $50 denomination. He was moved to the $20 starting in 1869 and Henry Clay was used on the $50 which was subsequently changed to Benjamin Franklin. Most surprising is the use of relatively obscure figures on the very high denomination notes, with General Joseph Mansfield on the $500 and DeWitt Clinton on the $1,000. It is likely that the thought was that the greater historical figures should be placed on the denominations that the public would handle the most frequently, hence George Washington being on the $1 down until this day. The $20 Legal Tenders are scarce as a group and the Series 1875 is the toughest of the type, with just 61 notes known. It features a small red spiked Treasury seal, bright red XX counters and a cool Maltese cross serial number suffix which were only used on the notes of 1875. Stacks Bowers is selling one of the finest known examples of this note in their ANA auction, graded PCGS Gem New 66PPQ as lot #10219.
BY PATRICK IAN PEREZ, EDITOR