Federal Proofs Pace Strong Baltimore Paper Money Session

Stack’s Bowers Galleries March auction in Baltimore provided excitement on all fronts and as usual the paper money session held on Friday March 23, 2012 was no exception. Crossing the auction block were 1,025 lots from all American genres from the Colonial era to modern Small Size currency. Total sales of $1,905,589.10 (including the 15% buyer’s charge) were realized from 948 sold lots and boasting a 92.7% sell through. The sale featured many fresh collections offered without reserve, and unprecedented early bidding prior to Friday saw many lots opening at or above estimate already.

Leading the sale was a dramatic and important selection of United States Federal Proofs and Loan Certificates from several consignors. Several of the pieces were unique and many were last sold back in 1994 at the Middendorf Sale. Lot 5418, the $1,000 Friedberg 201 Face Proof, led the charge at $97,750. When last sold it realized $3,850 in 1994. Friedberg 201 is unknown in issued form and is among most important Federal Proofs sold at auction in this generation. Other notable proofs were Lot 5414, Unlisted $20 One Year Interest Note, at $46,000 and Lot 5419, Face and Back Pair of $500 Fr.205 Interest Notes, at $51,750. All 28 proof and bond lots sold, the majority in excess of estimate.

Obsolete currency also continued strongly in an enthusiastic collector driven market. High quality Mormon notes eclipsed their estimates handily with Lot 5252, Brigham Young signed and re-issued Kirtland Anti-Banking Co. $2, fetching $31,625. The final section of New Jersey scrip notes from the Tom O’Mara collection saw much enthusiasm from the internet and floor bidders with all 83 lots sold, many in excess of high estimates. Chester L. Krause’s Postage Envelopes were also strongly bid upon. All were sold and the final portion of this impressive collection will be sold at our official auction of the August 2012 ANA’s World’s Fair of money.

Federal type notes featured several finest graded for their catalog numbers offered to eager collectors. The realizations for such material were strong throughout with lot number 5477, a PCGS Superb Gem New 68 PPQ 1869 Rainbow Five Dollar note bringing a record $40,250 for the design. Lot 5509, a large red spiked Treasury seal $20 Fr. 136 in PCGS Superb Gem New 67 PPQ, brought a commanding $18,400 which set a public sale record for the catalog number. The highly popular educational series silver certificates of 1896 were represented well with lot 5559 being the focal point, offering a chance to obtain one of the finest known PCGS graded examples of the coveted “Electricity Presenting Light to the World,” five dollar design. Certified as Superb Gem New 67 PPQ the nearly perfect example brought $43,125 against a pre auction estimate of $30,000 to $40,000.

Small size type notes had a strong showing as well with a finest known PMG Gem Uncirculated 66 EPQ 1928 San Francisco District $500 note bringing $9,200 as lot 5672. Lot 5697 marked an important offering for the popular North African emergency notes. A finest known 1934A $10 piece certified as PCGS Superb Gem New 68 PPQ brought a record $6,900 for the catalog number. A seldom seen replacement note (the finest we have handled) for the 1928 $50 gold certificate design was offered as lot 5704 and realized $11,500 showing strength in this sophisticated small size segment of the market.

National banknotes consisted of one of the larger offerings we have had in recent years with significant newly discovered items offered. Highlighting the section were a trio of incredible New Jersey pieces, all of striking quality and importance. The three ran in sequence as lots 5833, 5834 and 5835. The first was a Perth Amboy serial number “1,” Five Dollar 1882 Brown Back costing the new owner $18,400. The following two lots were different charter number Rahway original series aces with a Union National Bank example selling for $8050. The next was just the third reported piece for the National Bank of Rahway which brought a staggering $23,000 as lot 5835. The last lot for the National banknote selection was not without excitement being a newly reported $10 1882 Brown Back from Rock Springs, Wyoming. The piece was sensational in terms of appeal and rarity and sold for a lofty $12,650, eclipsing the high estimate.

Overall this impressive currency catalog covered a wide array of different genres for the paper money segment of the numismatic market place. The varying material and the strong prices garnered for them will make this March 2012 Session five volume an important piece of literature for collectors to utilize. We are already in the process of building our currency sale for the upcoming official auction of the August 2012 World’s Fair of Money in Philadelphia, and invite you to consign and be part of what will surely be a historic event for collectible paper money.

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