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Focus on the $1000 1880 Legal Tender Note Friedberg 187b, Whitman-4513 Unique in Private Hands

Going! Going! Nearly gone! All eyes are on the Whitman Coin & Collectibles Expo next week when we will present a series of memorable auctions. Among these is Part 1 of the Joel R. Anderson Collection of large-size paper money types on Thursday evening at 6:30 at the Baltimore Convention Center. In the meantime the notes are showcased in our special catalog as well as in detailed images on our Internet site.
The Anderson Collection by definition includes notes from affordable and available to great rarities—among the last being unique and, often, the finest known. The $1000 1880 Legal Tender Note discussed here is in the latter category. The next owner will have a trophy note deluxe, a high-denomination rarity that is unique in private hands! This is one of the great highlights in the Anderson Collection and will be the same for its fortunate next owner.
Our catalog description follows:

Landmark 1880 $1000 Legal Tender Note
Lot 1019. Friedberg 187b (W-4513). 1880 $1000 Legal Tender Note. PCGS Currency Choice About New 55.
This note is unique in private hands and is impressively preserved, notably combining rarity and quality as seen in notes throughout the Joel R. Anderson Collection. In fact, across the entire spectrum of federal notes in all series, few can equal the status of the best notes of the Joel R. Anderson Collection, and this one is among those. The term "once in a lifetime opportunity" might well prove to be appropriate here.
This 1880 $1000 Legal Tender Note with a large brown spiked Treasury Seal no doubt looks distinctive to even some of the most advanced United States currency specialists. The design and seal type combination was only used for two varieties: those with signatures of Bruce-Wyman (as seen here) and those with signatures of Rosecrans-Nebeker, for which no examples are known. Just two examples of Friedberg 187b (W-4513) are known with one (serial number Z6498) residing in the National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution where it is likely to remain. That leaves this lone note (serial number Z1164), as the only example of this design type and seal combination available to the collecting public.
Three broad margins are seen on this note, while the cut is a touch tight along the top. The paper is creamy white and free of any distracting marks or blemishes. Just the lightest signs of handling are seen upon close inspection. The engraved design elements are darkly inked, including the portrait of DeWitt Clinton at center and the vignette of Columbus at left. The visually striking large brown spiked Treasury Seal is sharply printed and bold while the serial numbers are in a deeply impressed dark blue. The extremely ornate green back is presented in full detail. This note realized $862,500 when it was last offered more than a decade ago, in 2006. We would not be surprised to see a realization that approaches or surpasses that price when the hammer again falls on this rarity.

$1000 Legal Tender Notes, Series of 1880
The face design continues that used in the Series of 1869 and 1878, but with some changes. The main motifs are the same. Depicted on the face are two seemingly unrelated vignettes, not particularly unusual in a layout for this period. To the left is Columbus in His Study, with a globe on the floor nearby, a reminder of his contributions to the spread of Western ideologies and societies around the world. At the center is DeWitt Clinton (1769-1828), with the fingers of his right hand touching the side of his head. Perhaps both men were deemed prominent in water, thus relating the vignettes, Columbus for sailing across the Atlantic Ocean to "discover" America, and Clinton as the driving force behind the Erie Canal, started in 1817 and completed in 1825, which linked the Great Lakes with the Atlantic. This is a stretch, but who knows?
The signatures are the Bruce-Wyman combination, in office together from 1883 to 1885. The print run was 12,000, mostly used in federal and bank-to-bank transactions and not in everyday commerce.
PCGS Population: 1; none finer.
From Currency Auctions of America’s sale of October 1998, lot 2311; Lyn Knight’s sale of June 2006, lot 122.
Est. $800,000-$1,200,000

Legal Tender Notes: An Overview
In March 1862 the outcome of the Civil War was uncertain. Both sides—the Union and the Confederacy—had chalked up notable victories. In distant England, where Southern cotton supplied textile mills, bets were on the Confederacy, and the country offered a great market for the sale of Confederate bonds denominated in pounds. Although England was officially neutral, it outfitted Confederate ships, including the notorious C.S.S. Alabama raider captained by Raphael Symmes that captured many Union ships and merchant vessels in the Atlantic Ocean.
In these parlous times, citizens took to hoarding "hard money" in the form of silver and gold coins. After late December 1861, gold coins were available only by paying a premium over face value in terms of the bills of state-chartered banks that dominated circulation. Silver coins began to be hoarded.
In March 1862 Congress passed the Legal Tender Act which provided for bills in denominations from $1 to $1000 to be issued and to be used in commerce. These were not redeemable at face value in silver or gold, simply because the Treasury Department was strained for funds and did not have adequate coins on hand. A $100 Legal Tender Note could be exchanged for five $20 Legal Tender Notes or some other combination. By late spring, all silver coins were hoarded, and only copper-nickel cents remained in circulation. In the second week of July these too disappeared. For the first time since the Philadelphia Mint opened in 1792, no federal coins were in circulation in the East and Midwest. The United States was coinless!
On July 17, 1862, the Treasury made ordinary postage stamps legal tender for many transactions, followed by issues of Postal Currency and Fractional small-denomination notes.
Legal Tender Notes served two purposes: (1) They facilitated transactions in commerce when silver and gold coins were not available, and (2) the printing of money brought much-needed funds to the Union government to aid in fighting the war. It was thought that after the war ended, in April 1865, silver and gold coins would return. That was not the case, as many citizens felt that the financial situation of the nation remained uncertain. It was not until 1876 that silver coins were again in circulation and could be exchanged at par for silver coins and not until December 1878 when gold coins reappeared.
Legal Tender Notes lived on—an easy way for the Treasury to print and distribute money. Silver Certificates and Gold Certificates issued in later years required backing in coins of those metals. Legal Tender Notes of large-size format continued to be made through the end of that series in 1928, and in denominations from $1 to $100 in small-size format into the later part of the 20th century.
Among classic large-size Legal Tender Notes the most often seen today are the smaller denominations, particularly $1 and $5. Values of $100 are scarce for most early types, and $500 and $1000 are rare. The $1000 1880 offered here can be called the rarest of the rare and the finest of the fine!​

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