The Heritage Central States currency auction has been a major part of the paper money calendar for several years now, and this year’s iteration featured just over 2,800 lots of U.S. paper money. When all was settled and done, the total prices realized was over $4.3 million. The top lot was a Series 1869 $50 Legal Tender (Fr.-151), graded AU55 by PMG which garnered $223,250. This is a strong price, when one takes into consideration that a slightly higher graded example of this note, an AU58, sold for $176,250 three and a half years ago. The note sold in Schaumburg had not appeared in a public auction for nearly 33 years, which surely contributed to its strong price. One other note in the CSNS sale cracked the $200K mark, a Series 1934 $5,000 Federal Reserve Note graded PMG CU64 from the Dallas Federal Reserve district which also had a low “84” serial number. The realized price was $211,500. In the realm of National Bank Notes, two rare issues from the state of South Dakota were in the spotlight. The first was a Series 1902 $10 Red Seal from the First National Bank of Scotland (a town unsurprisingly founded by Scots), a unique note graded a nice Very Fine that brought $28,200. The second was another unique note, this time a 1902 $20 Red Seal from the First National Bank of South Shore graded F12 with minor restorations which realized $19,975. The highest realizing Colonial note was a $5 Continental note from the Yorktown issue (April 11, 1778) graded Superb Gem 67 at $9,987.50.

Also held this past month was an online only auction for the continuing sale of the expansive Eric P. Newman paper money collection. Conducted by Heritage, this sale consisted of over 1,500 lots of predominately obsolete notes and small size type notes. The sale netted $808,176, headlined by a quartet of Mormon scrip notes which sold for nearly $40,000 alone. The number of interesting and historical items in the Newman collection seems to have no end, and this session was no different. Two very interesting pieces were contemporary counterfeit Colonial notes which were attached to contemporary court documents. The first one consisted of two North Carolina counterfeits mounted on a large document with the hand written details of the case as it was presented to the court in May of 1784. The second item was similar but this one contained a counterfeit Virginia note although the court was still in North Carolina. Each of these pieces brought $6,465. Other significant pieces included a Yorktown continental note, a Maryland “Allegorical Series” note, and a Federal Indent issued by the United States Congress. The catalog for this sale would provide a lot of joyful study.

In a short two weeks from the time of this writing the currency community will be meeting at the annual Memphis International Paper Money Show for the fortieth consecutive year. As always the show will feature a mix of extensive bourse activity, collector exhibits, educational speakers, and auction activity. The speaker series will, amongst other topics, include sessions on $500 and $1,000 FRNs, 1928 and 1934 Gold Certificates, the Obsolete Database Project, and Confederate paper money. The Lyn Knight auction will offer over 1,300 lots of U.S. paper money and 950 lots of world paper money.

NOTE IN FOCUS: 1878 $10 SILVER CERTIFICATE, FR-285A

The $10 silver certificates of the series 1878 are part of the first issue of silver certificated by the United States. These notes were issued payable in either Washington, D.C., New York, or San Francisco and all bore the signatures of Scofield and Gilfillan, with a countersignature that was either hand signed or engraved into the plate. The note pictured, Fr.-285a was payable in Washington and countersigned by Wyman. The face of the note depicts are large red Treasury seal and “TEN” protector, and a portrait of Robert Morris to the left. Robert Morris was a representative of Pennsylvania at the Second Continental Congress and was the major financier of American troops during the Revolutionary War. Morris also served as the Superintendent of Finance from 1781-84 and instituted several reforms to clean up the fiscal mess the United States were in. An example of this note, graded PCGS VF30, is offered as lot #2106 in the Lyn Knight Memphis auction.