BY PATRICK IAN PEREZ, EDITOR
The Heritage FUN United States currency auction brought home more than $12 million, led by a prohibitively rare Series 1882 $1,000 Gold Certificate, Fr.-1218e at $600,000. This note, with an original production of just 8,000 notes, was previously thought to be unique in private hands. The other available note sold in January 2014 for $881,250 when described as “likely unique in private hands.” Six additional notes brought six figures in the sale, and it can be said that the sale was well supported overall.
Some very exciting news came to the U.S. currency community via Stack’s Bowers recently, and that is the offering of the Joel R. Anderson Collection in a series of auction sales in 2018. The Anderson Collection is the finest Large Size paper money collection in existence replete with rarities. Multiple volumes could be filled with the contents of the collection, but we will use this month and next to preview the notes, as it represents a once in a generation opportunity to not only acquire such notes (for those with the resources) but also to view such rarities, either in person or online. In this part one, we will highlight the collection’s Demand Notes, Legal Tenders, Compound Interest Treasury Notes, and Interest Bearing Notes.
The Anderson collection contains six Demand Notes, two each of the three authorized denominations: $5, $10, and $20. At its core, the Anderson Collection is a type set, and these six notes show the two varieties available for the Demand Note type. When these notes were initially issued, they were to be hand signed by the Register of the Treasury and the Treasurer of the United States. However, these notes were printed in the millions, and soon clerks were assigned to sign the notes with the annotation “For The,” meaning they were signing on behalf of the government officials. Finding this situation very inefficient, the printing plates were changed, rendering the handwritten “For The” notes very rare today. The star lot of this section is the $20 “For The” note issued at New York, which is unique. This note last sold in 2014 for $411,250.
Easily the largest section of the Anderson Collection is the Legal Tender notes category, with 63 examples represented. The initial three issues of Legal Tenders from 1862 and 1863 can be complicated, due to the many variables. There are two seal types, imprint types, series numbers, and two different obligation texts. The collection includes eleven different Friedberg numbers of these issues, and include the incredibly rare high denominations, which we will focus on here. There are two examples of the $100 Large Eagle note, the finest known $500, and an amazing About Uncirculated $1,000. The $1,000, Fr. 186d, is one of two serial numbers in the census and brought more than $1 million over ten years ago. The Series 1869, known as the Rainbow notes, are among the most attractive banknotes ever produced in the United States. The Anderson Collection features the only complete set of this design, which is seven denominations. The $500, Fr. 184 is one of the few pieces of United States paper money in which both the front and back designs are not found on any other banknote. The portrait of John Quincy Adams along with the allegory of Justice on the front make for a compelling note that has not been seen before at public auction. The $1,000 is the only note of its type available for private ownership, as the other known specimen is in the collection of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. An absolutely stunning note is the Series 1878 $5,000 Legal Tender. This denomination was only issued once, and all notes were redeemed. The Anderson note is a specimen that was furnished to the Chinese government by the Treasury Department to detect counterfeits.
Compound Interest Treasury Notes were issued during the depths of the Civil War, and the fact that these circulating notes bore interest was an incentive for the use by the business public. While they were issued in six denominations, the two highest, $500 and $1,000 do not exist today. The Anderson collection has examples of the other four denominations. The $10 note, Fr. 190b, grades an amazing PCGS New-61. For an uncirculated example of this note type to exist is remarkable, given that a) most of these notes were redeemed, and b) the note had to be saved and transported by owner to collect the interest, thus subjecting the note to possible handling and storage use. The $100 denomination, one of 11 known of the type, is a full grade level finer than the next best and has been off the market for more than a decade.
As scarce as Compound Interest Treasury Notes are, Interest Bearing Notes are rarer still. Another product of the financial stresses of the Civil War, these were issued in various denominations and bore interest for varying lengths of time. The most elusive designs in all of United States currency reside within this family of notes. The Anderson Collection contains 29 different notes in this category, a truly stunning number. Right away the two $100 notes capture the eye. The first, Fr. 199, bore 5% interest for one year from the date of issue and features a regal George Washington at center, with rich allegories of The Guardian and Justice on each side. The next $100, Fr. 204, bore interest at 5% two years after the date of issue and its majestic design features the Treasury building at the top center, with a vignette of Science and Mechanics at left and one of Naval Ordinance at right. One can imagine the sense of both pride and responsibility that the note designers and engravers felt when producing such notes. The final note is both unique in a collector sense but also in its design. Fr. 202a, a $50 which bore interest at 6% over two years, features an orange tint on the front and a vertical blue reverse. Clearly made in haste, it is a supremely important piece of American financial history from the early days of the Civil War. Next month we will continue our preview of the Anderson Collection.