This month’s Greensheet contains a host of new price updates across multiple series. It is hard to believe this is already the fifth issue of 2016, and we thank the dealers and collectors who have given us feedback so far this year. As we continue to revise our pricing and add and expand our listings we welcome any comments which may to directed to email@example.com.
One of the segments receiving our attention this month are Colonial notes. As can be the case with United States coinage, pricing such a varied series by type is very difficult. However, our analysis produced some interesting observations that we’d like to share. While most of these may be obvious to specialists in the Colonial series, it may be helpful for those who only deal in these notes occasionally or for those who may be considering starting a collection. Relative to their historical significance, charming designs, and overall surviving population, Colonial notes would appear to be a solid value proposition when compared to other series. The past decade of third party currency certification has given the collecting community a clearer picture of both absolute and condition rarity. Despite this, a fair amount of excellent notes that have passed through auction over the past 6 to 18 months at somewhat soft prices. A significant exception to this observation is the Eric P. Newman sale held by Heritage Auctions last October, which contained over 500 pieces of incredible Colonial material, being especially strong in Georgia-state notes.
Collecting Colonial notes also requires an adjustment when compared to collecting Federal paper money with regards to “problem” notes. The overwhelming majority of the scarce Continental and state issues including Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina that are in the grades of Very Good, Fine, and Very Fine are “Net” or “Apparent” graded by the major services. The defects are usually restorations and repairs, tears, and splits, due to both the paper quality and age of the notes. That is to say, a true problem-free low grade circulated note is very rare, and will trade for a strong premium. So, for instance, unlike an early 20th century silver certificate where most
collectors will not buy a problem note certain Colonial issues can be acceptable with problems, because they virtually do not exist any other way. Put another way, the “penalty” in price should be less severe for Colonial currency as compared to most Federal currency. This is similar to Colonial copper coinage where impediments such as environmental damage, porosity, and rim damage is treated with more leniency as compared
to Federal coinage.
In recent market activity, Stacks-Bowers held a U.S. currency auction in Baltimore, selling over 1,000 lots over two sessions. There were 19 different notes which broke the 5-figure barrier, led by a series 1934 $10,000 Federal Reserve Note graded CU-64 Apparent by PCGS at $111,625. A wonderful 1905 “Technicolor” $20 Gold Certificate graded Gem-65 PPQ also by PCGS brought down $44,650. Overall the U.S currency combined with U.S. coinage realized over $13.5 million.
NOTE IN FOCUS: SOUTH CAROLINA $90 OF THE FEBRUARY 8TH, 1779 ISSUE
This month’s note is from one of the most famous series of Colonial notes: the emission of February 8th, 1779 from the General Assembly of South Carolina. This series, which consists of seven denominations from $40 up to $100 were engraved (and sometimes signed) by Thomas Coram in Charleston. This note, cataloged as SC-158, has many interesting aspects. First is the unusual denomination of $90 (or 146 pounds, five shillings Sterling) which is not often seen on the Colonial series, but which demonstrates the inflating paper money of early America. The bottom left (facing) obverse of the note features a standing Indian warrior with shield and spear with the Latin motto “Armis Concurrite Campo” meaning “Run together on the field with arms” in a scroll below. The reverse of the note is majestic: it features a delicately engraved vignette of Hercules strangling a furious lion, with the denomination on floating scrolls. The lack of printed border makes the image all the more stunning. A choice example of this note, graded PCGS CU-62 PPQ and from the massive John J. Ford Collection is in the upcoming Heritage Central States Convention auction.