The much anticipated Heritage FUN United States currency auction realized just under $7 million held the first week of January. In this article we’ll take a look at some of the auction results by category and also some of the market trends we heard about at the show.
Recently high grade Colonial note have been on a tear, and the FUN auction continued that streak. Case in point is a $1 note from the emission of February 17th, 1776 (CC-23) graded Superb Gem 67 by PCGS Currency which realized $14,100. It is interesting - and to this writer surprising - that PMG has graded just three Continental currency notes at the CU67 level, while PCGS Currency has certified 12. There were an additional two Continental notes at the CU67 grade level sold, coincidentally of the same catalog number (CC-33), realizing $7,050 and $7,640. The appearance of a Marbled Edge $20 is always an occasion, and the one sold last month was at the higher end of the condition census. Graded AU50 Apparent, with some restorations noted by PCGS Currency, it hammered for $17,625.
As to be expected, large size type notes were plentiful in the FUN sale and amongst the many highlights were three notes certified Superb Gem 68, all by PCGS Currency. The first note up was 1917 $1 Legal Tender, one of three at the level at $11,165. Next came a beautiful $5 Porthole note (series 1923 silver certificate) which brought just $50 short of $40,000 and just four lots later an 1891 $1 Treasury note came home at just under $13,000. Truly special pieces of American paper currency.
The FUN auction saw over 1,500 National Bank notes sold, both large and small size. The headline collection within this category was the Leon Hendrickson collection of Indiana nationals. The two leaders price-wise from this collection landed on the same number, $4,230. They were a 1902 $5 Red Seal from the Farmers National Bank of Trafalgar and an 1875 $10 from the First National Bank of Porter County in Valparaiso. Most interesting, however, were three original packs of 25 notes each of series 1929 $20 notes from the First-McKeen National Bank & Trust Co. of Terre Haute. There were 111 notes offered from banks in California, including the category sale topper: a serial number 1 series 1882 $5 Brown Back issued by the First National Bank of San Diego which raked in $76,375. Also included in this section were two of the iconic National Gold Bank Notes, a $10 from the National Gold Bank of Stockton and a $20 from San Jose at $14,100 and $12,925 respectively.

Heritage also held a world currency sale during the FUN show which realized over $778,000, led by seven lots in the five-figure range. One of these seven was the imminently famous 10 Balboas note of the 1941 series issued by the Republic of Panama that realized just under $20,000. Meanwhile in Hong Kong, Spink held an auction which
included a large selection of world currency where a specimen note of the Mercantile
Bank of India in the denomination of $25 dated 1 March 1912 hammered for a strong $51,210.

The series 1923 $1 Legal Tender (Fr-40) is the final large size “Ace” Legal Tender produced by the BEP. It also happens to be the most available large size replacement note: PMG has graded 47 examples thus far and PCGS Currency has seen 45. Of these a larger-than-expected percentage are in Uncirculated, with a total of 46 notes, or exactly 50% of the certified population. For a collector wishing to add one large size replacement note to their collection, the 1923 $1 is the perfect candidate.