BY PATRICK IAN PEREZ, EDITOR
The month of November kicks off with a bang in the form of the Eric P. Newman Collection auction. To be held by Heritage on the 1st and 2nd of the month, this sale represents part eight of the overall collection. While Newman had an incredibly wide area of numismatic interest, one of his specialties was Colonial paper money, and as the author of the primary reference on the subject is it no surprise that his personal collection is filled with amazing pieces. While much has already been sold in 2015 and 2016, the selections this time around are particularly exciting. Although there are extremely scarce notes from most of the colonies, special mention is made of the notes issued by Georgia and South Carolina. In particular, the offering of a complete set of the famed South Carolina “Coram” notes from the issue of February 8th, 1779 is an opportunity to acquire a high-grade example of this distinctly designed series. In the Continental series, a cut double-pane sheet of the February 17, 1776 fractional issues which feature the famous Fugio motifs. Containing grades as high as PCGS CU67PPQ, the notes have crossover appeal to Colonial coin collectors of the same design. It is not a coincidence that Newman also authored the primary reference on the copper Fugio cents. The Continental section also contains one of the two overall top lots in the auction: a high-grade example of the Marbled Edge $20. Designed by Benjamin Franklin, the Newman piece is graded PCGS AU55 with minor repaired tears and is amongst the finest known. Speaking of top lots, unquestionably the most important offering in the sale is the finest known—out of a total of just four known pieces—1861 $10 Demand Note from St. Louis (Fr. 10). The 1861 Demand Notes were issued in three denominations from five Assistant Treasurer offices in New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Cincinnati, and St. Louis. The Newman $10 is certified PCGS VF30, towering above the other three examples which grade Good or Very Good. This note was acquired in 1939 for $125, equivalent to $2,201 in today’s dollar, and this is first time it will ever cross the auction block. As in previous sessions, the Newman sale catalogs are very well done, and anyone with an appreciation for early American history and its paper money would do well to read them. They are sure to become important reference works in the same way the Ford catalogs have become.
A week later, Stacks Bowers will hold the final Baltimore auction of the year. Consisting of more than 1,050 total lots in two sessions, one lot that immediately catches the eye is the always in demand series 1933 $10 Silver Certificate. One of the keys to all small-size notes, this example is certified PCGS CU66PPQ and is tied for finest known at that service. It also features a low 2-digit serial number. Other highlights include multiple high-denomination notes across various series. A series 1934 $5,000 Federal Reserve Note from the Dallas district leads the small size offerings, which are complemented by a pair of $1,000 series 1918 large size Federal Reserve Notes, one each from the Philadelphia and San Francisco districts. This single signature denomination is the key to the large size FRN series. Another small size note, a $1,000 series 1928 Gold Certificate graded PCGS AU50PPQ round out the high-denomination lots.
In pricing updates and additions this month, we continue to add select listings in the large size notes where applicable. It is clear that the early $1 and $2 Legal Tenders are among the most sought-after types currently, so we have now priced most of them individually. Strength is found in certain Colonial series, and while it is difficult to represent one price for an entire series of notes, even the most common types had been trading above our previous levels.
NOTE IN FOCUS: FR. 1890-K* SERIES 1929 $100 FEDERAL RESERVE BANK NOTE
Within United States small size currency, the most over-looked series is perhaps the brown seal Federal Reserve Bank Notes of 1929. Their relatively mundane design and volume of issues (five denominations and twelve districts) means that most collectors choose to add one example of each denomination to their holdings. Few attempt to build a complete set, although it is a worthy endeavor. However, within the various districts and denominations some significant rarities exist that may be overlooked by many currency collectors and even dealers. One such rarity is the $100 Star note from the Dallas Federal Reserve district. With an original printage of 12,000 pieces, this note shares the same amount of notes produced with five other districts. Of this, just two are known extant today. The finer of these two pieces is graded PCGS VF35 and will be offered by Stack Bowers in their upcoming Baltimore sale at lot 20452. With the previous auction appearance of the lower graded known example bringing $24,000 more than a decade ago, this is a great opportunity for advanced collectors of small size U.S. paper money.