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Rare Cincinnati $5 Demand Note to Headline August Global Showcase Auction

The August Global Showcase Auction of U.S. paper money will feature a Fr. 4. 1861 $5 Demand Note graded Fine 12 by PMG. These Demand Notes are direct ancestors of what we use in daily commerce today and can be traced back to the early months of the American Civil War. Issued as a means to pay for expenditures incurred by the ongoing conflict and to pay military personnel, Demand Notes became the earliest form of federal paper money to achieve wide circulation in the United States.

Such notes were payable at Sub-Treasury offices in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, and St. Louis and could be redeemed for gold, although this was not indicated on the notes themselves, thanks to legislation passed by Congress.

By 1862, Demand Notes traded at a premium compared to the Legal Tender Notes and were subject to hoarding and rapid redemption, a fact that underpins the relative scarcity of Demand Notes in the marketplace today. Of those, notes from the Boston, New York, and Philadelphia Sub-Treasuries account for the bulk of survivors, while those from Cincinnati and St. Louis make up only a small fraction of recorded examples.

The Porter Collection specimen offered in our August auction is from the Cincinnati Sub-Treasury and accounts for one of the rarest individual Friedberg numbers for both the denomination and type. Track & Price records a total of seven $5 Demand Notes payable at the Cincinnati Sub-Treasury, a figure which includes this note.

Extensively circulated in its own time, this piece has a series of tape repairs along the margins, repairs which have little impact on the eye appeal of this exceedingly rare item. Good color and contrast are apparent in the engraved design elements which have nicely weathered the rigors of circulation and showcase the geometric lathework and the patented “Canada Green” tint that was at the forefront of banknote production in the early 1860s.

Prospective bidders will have the chance to acquire this numismatic treasure from the Porter Collection when it crosses the auction block as part of the August Global Showcase Auction. As a very rare Friedberg number that only a small handful of collectors can call their own at any given time, this note deserves strong consideration and robust bidding.

For more information about our auctions or to consign your numismatic items, please call 800-458-4646 or email Info@StacksBowers.com.

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