BY PATRICK IAN PEREZ, EDITOR
Last month we reviewed the first part of the monumental Joel R. Anderson Collection of United States paper money, discussing the Demand Notes, Legal Tenders, Compound Interest Treasury Notes, and Interest Bearing Notes. This month we will highlight the Silver Certificates, Treasury Notes, and Gold Certificates.
Starting with the Silver Certificates, all of the low denomination notes in the collection are in very high states of preservation. From the $1 through the $5 types, the lowest grade represented is Very Choice 64PPQ (Fr.-263 Rosecrans-Huston Silver Dollar back). Many of the other notes in this sub-set grade Superb Gem 67, with three notes achieving the numerical grade of 68, which is nearly unheard of for Large Size notes. The trio are a Fr.-299 1899 $1 Black Eagle, a Fr.- 237 1923 $1, and a Fr.-246 $2 Windom. Additionally, all three of the Anderson Collection Educational series notes grade Superb Gem 67. The very first series of Silver Certificates are from 1878, and the initial denomination issued was $10 (in actuality, these are Silver Certificates of Deposit). Of this initial denomination there are just 17 known to exist across the seven varieties originally issued. These first issues are also famous for their three signatures, as all issued notes were countersigned by Treasury officials. The Anderson Series 1878 $10 Silver Certificate is Fr.-284 and grade XF40. The $20 denomination is Fr.-307 and is the finest known at VF35. Advancing beyond the $20 denomination is truly rarified air. The Anderson 1878 $50, Fr.-324c, is one of just two known in private hands. There are just six notes known of the entire type. Similarly the $100 1878, Fr.-337b, is one of two available for private ownership. The highest denomination Silver Certificates ever issued is $1,000, and both design types are represented in the collection. The first, from the Series 1880 (Fr.-346d) is one of two known in private hands, and the second is Series 1891 (Fr.-346e), which is unique in private hands. While both note designs feature the portrait of William Marcy, an obscure politician from the middle of the 19th century, the Series 1891 is one of the most iconic designs of U.S. currency. Featuring an allegorical maiden with a shield at left, the central engraving is styled in a manner unlike any other U.S. note. It could very well be the highest netting piece in the entire collection. The other high denomination note that is one of two in private hands is the VF20 graded Series 1880 $500, Fr.-345c.
While a relatively short series, Treasury notes contain some of the scarcest issues in all of U.S. paper. Similar to the Silver Certificates, the Anderson Collection contains notes that a Gem Uncirculated or better for all note types up to the $50 denomination. This includes the stunning Fr.-376 Series 1891 $50 note—known as the Seward note—that is certified Gem 65. It is remarkable that a note of which there are just 25 not redeemed—and fewer than that have survived to today—can exist in such a grade. Bearing serial number B7 suggests it was clearly saved by a government official. The $50 Treasury note is also noteworthy because it is the only denomination in the series to have not been issued in both 1890 and 1891. After the $50, attention turns to the famous Watermelon and Grand Watermelon notes. The Watermelon is the Series 1890 $100, Fr.-377, and is called such because of the large zeros on the back of the note. The Anderson example is graded AU50 and ranks as the third finest known. The Grand Watermelon is the Series 1890 $1,000, of which there are two signature varieties and just seven known in total, at least three of which are in museums. Like the $100, the Anderson $1,000 is graded AU50. If one were to pick just two notes to chase from this collection, the Watermelon and Grand Watermelon would make quite the pair.
Although Gold Certificates were first issued in 1863, examples are virtually never seen prior to the notes from the Series of 1882. As a group these early Gold Certs are easily the rarest in all of U.S. currency. This makes the 1863 $20 Gold Certificate, Fr.-1166b, in the Anderson Collection a very important piece of American fiscal history, as the first denomination from the first series. Featuring a large vignette of an eagle with shield, it evokes a strong identity of the Union during the depths of the Civil War. Offset with the lime green tint and red Treasury seal, it is simply an outstanding note. Moving on to the issues from Series 1882, the collection holds three $1,000 notes. Of these three signature and seal varieties, there are just five available for public ownership, with Anderson possessing 60% of them. They are all in pleasing states of preservation, and the Fr.-1218d and Fr.-1218g the finest known examples. All three of these pieces have the potential to be seven-figure items. The Series 1905 $20 is well known as the Technicolor note, and while valuable, is not that hard to find. The Anderson example, however is one of a kind as it is serial number one of the Lyons-Roberts signature combination. It has surely been a treasured piece since the day it came of the press.
As the Stack’s Bowers literature accurately states “virtually every note in this collection can be considered a highlight.” We are fortunate in our hobby that many collectors over the years form such outstanding collections and then pass them on to the next generation. It causes collectors on all levels to evaluate their goals and motivation to keep going. The initial offering of the Anderson Collection will take place on March 22nd in Baltimore, consisting of 64 lots. There are selections from every major note category.