The currency market worldwide continues to be stable after the first third of 2017. The auctions of paper money held thus far have been mostly positive, with some select sales exceeding expectations. While the domestic U.S. currency market is active, growth has been hard to come by. Many dealers will tell you that they have excess inventory, and the need to bring in new collectors and fresh money is real. From our perspective, the best thing leaders can do to facilitate natural market improvement is to provide continued transparency in pricing and information, something that the U.S. currency market has not been great at in the past.
WORLD BANK NOTES ON THE RISE
World bank note collecting, by contrast, is growing rapidly. The recent Stack’s Bowers auction in Hong Kong flew by its estimates with two notes bringing six figures. Despite recent strength in world paper, this collectible market is experiencing growing pains. Prices are generally rising, but there is a challenge in that collectors still find it hard to locate reliable and accurate price guides. This is an issue in need of a long-term solution, and there are certainly works in progress to address this, none more effectively than the herculean effort by Owen Linzmayer and his Banknote Book www.banknotenews.com.
HERITAGE HOLDS CSNS AUCTIONS
Heritage Auction Galleries is conducting both U.S and world paper money sales in conjunction with the Central States Numismatic Society Convention. The U.S. currency sale consists of more than 3,600 lots and the world sale is nearly 1,500 lots. Within the U.S. sale are 234 lots which make up the premium Platinum Night session, one of only a few such session Heritage holds each calendar year. A large portion of the Platinum Night session are items from the Jeffrey S. Jones Collection of Small Size Currency. This collection boasts numerous rare replacement notes in top conditions. As stated by the Heritage catalogers, the three masterpieces of the collection are all silver certificate star notes: the series 1928C, 1928D, and 1928E. The 1928C is graded PMG CU67EPQ and is one of just 12 to 15 specimens extant. Amazingly the next finest note of this type is a VF35, and this note carries an estimate of $250,000 to $300,000. The 1928D is graded PMG CU66EPQ and is only slightly less scarce than the 1928C and also has the potential to be a six-figure note. The 1928E is graded PMG CU65EPQ and is the only uncirculated note of its type out of a possible 5 to 10 extant. Importantly, this is the first public auction appearance of this particular note and is estimated to bring $300,000 to $500,000. We eagerly await the results.
The week following the CSNS sale Heritage is offering an online only auction of Selections from the Eric P. Newman Collection, Part 3. Nearly 1,500 items mostly consisting of Obsolete and Colonial notes highlight this part of Newman’s seemingly endless holdings.
NEW LISTINGS THIS MONTH
This month we have completed our listings for small size silver certificate replacement notes. We now have pricing for all three denominations: $1, $5, and $10. The $10 notes, in particular, have seen a downward trend over the past five years, and it certainly seems that these notes are good value relative their scarcity at current levels. The series 1934B and 1934D are the keys to the $10 star silver certificates. We also continue our expansion of Fractional currency listings, this month focusing on notes from the second issue. The second issue of Fractional currency can be considered the first true series of Fractional currency since the first series is often classified as postal currency. Its four denominations contain several surcharge varieties and paper types. We will continue to expand pricing for the later Fractional issues in coming months. Next month we will also begin the pricing of small size legal tender star notes.
NOTE IN FOCUS: $100 ORIGINAL SERIES FIRST NATIONAL GOLD BANK OF SANTA BARBARA
National Gold Bank Notes as a type are among the most coveted large size notes in all United States currency. Their ties to the Old West and the incredibly life-like engraving of a pile of gold coins on the reverse are alluring. While it is usually a highlight when any auction contains two or three National Gold Bank Notes, Heritage is selling an astounding 28 examples from the Eureka Collection in their CSNS auction. There is at least one note from all nine of the California banks which issued these notes, which are also the first nine charter numbers given in the state. This type was issued in six denominations: $5, $10, $20, $50, $100, and $500, although there are no $500 notes known to survive today and there are just nine $100s known. Of these nine, three reside in the Eureka Collection, a remarkable accomplishment. One of them, the only one known on the First National Gold Bank of Santa Barbara, is lot #21432 in the sale. This bank, the southernmost geographically of the nine note issuing Gold Banks, has just 15 surviving Gold Bank Notes across all denominations. In addition to the $100, three other notes from this bank are in the sale.
BY PATRICK IAN PEREZ, EDITOR