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Auctions worth attending in person

By Bill Brandimore

The markets seem to be more positive based on results out of the American Numismatic Association convention auctions. I do note weaker PMG and PCGS realized values for 65 graded notes. 66 graded notes seem to be the normal expectation now for Gems.


My untrained eye seems to see weaker notes graded as 65s compared to 66 graded notes. All I can tell from looking at catalog photos, however, is margin centering. I also note that any comment on stains or pin holes seems to knock prices down even in grades where you would expect some problems, Very Fine 20-25 or Fine 12-15s. Obviously, those notes with net/apparent or those lacking PPQ/EPQ notations also fare more poorly in auction markets.

A rare Jeffries-Spinner signature combination on a Very Fine Mankato, Minn., Original $2 brought $23,500. It is one of only five notes with those signatures and is graded by PMG as Very Fine 25. It is the second finest of the five known. The only known New Jersey $100 First Charter note on the Salem National Banking Company brought $164,500 in the ANA Stack’s Bowers sale. It had been estimated at $80,000 to $120,000. This brings to mind comments I hear from a lot of collectors that now only bid online and don’t attend major shows. Besides interaction with fellow collectors and educational offerings, you get to see some really great notes. At the 40th Memphis show this year my breath was taken away observing a $500 First Charter National Bank Note in a display. It was a highlight of the show for me.

A highlight of the Stack’s Bowers auction was the sale of the finest ever presented collection of Military Payment Certificates. The catalog is worth placing in your library just for the sheer scope of the collection. It includes everything possible in the nature of U.S. MPCs including specimen books and other amazing items. Fred Schwan described it with the appreciation of a true believer in his MPC blog that is available to Festers, those collectors who attend the annual Military Payment Certificate Fest in Port Clinton, Ohio, every year. Fred mentioned that he was surprised that many of the notes offered did not go higher. Sounds like missed opportunities, although the one-of a-kind Series 701 Specimen book sold for $70,500. I’m sure a few years from now some collectors will rue missing out on these offerings. The good news, however, is that this was just part one of a two-part offering. Festers, be prepared for session two.

There was a nice assortment of National Gold Banks in the California session of Nationals in the ANA auction. As usual, they were almost all net graded with the exception of one of the five offerings that had notations about a minor missing corner, but was graded Fine 15. They all went below catalog prices. The truth seems to be there are very few of these notes known without problems. Take a look at these rare American frontier items.

Another great offering was a 1933 $10 Silver Certificate in PMG 67 that was hammered down at $105,750. It is the finest graded at either of the two main services. That’s all I have this month from my new home in sunny Shelby Township, Michigan. Email me at with any questions or comments you might have.

This article was originally printed in Bank Note Reporter.
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• The Standard Catalog of United States Paper Money is the only annual guide that provides complete coverage of U.S. currency with today’s market prices.

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