Skip to main content

Bass notes showcased for ANA auction

  • Author:
  • Publish date:

Stack’s Bowers Galleries will showcase the Educational Note sheets pedigreed to The Harry W. Bass Jr. Collection in its official auction at the American Numismatic Association’s World’s Fair of Money, Aug. 6-10, in Chicago. The group comprises three original sheets: the 1896 Silver Certificate “Educational Notes” of the $1, $2, and $5 denominations, each with serial Nos. 1 to 4.

The sale is to be held at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, 5555 N. River Road, Rosemont, Ill. For session dates and times, visit

According to Stack’s Bowers, which previously auctioned the set several years ago for the Harry W. Bass Jr. Foundation, the Educational sheets folio was considered by Bass to be one of the highlights of his currency collection. The bound folio accompanying the notes is titled “UNITED STATES PROOF BANK NOTES ISSUED 1896.” It includes a typewritten, three-page letter of description and presentation by Claude M. Johnson, head of the Bureau of Printing and Engraving, who purchased the original sheets for himself. Each of the three separate bank note sheets contain four subjects of the represented denomination with serial Nos. 1 to 4. The sheets have been professionally removed from the book, graded AU-55 and encapsulated by Paper Money Guaranty.

Cover of the folio holding the proof 1896 Educational notes

Cover of the folio holding the proof 1896 Educational notes

The face designs of the notes are considered some of the most ornate ever produced for U.S. paper money. They include the $1 “History Instructing Youth,” the $2 “Science Presenting Steam and Electricity to Industry and Commerce,” and the $5 “Electricity Presenting Light to the World.”

The sheet

The sheet of proof 1896 $1 "History Instructing Youth" Educational notes

The sheet of proof 1896 $2

The sheet of proof 1896 $2 "Science Presenting Steam and Electricity to Industry and Commerce" Educational notes

The sheet of proof

The sheet of proof 1896 $5 "Electricity Presenting Light to the World" Educational notes

Also being offered are select notes from the Anderson Collection, including several rare federal types. Among the highlights is what is described as the only privately held Fr. 1191 1882 $50 Gold Certificate. The large, peach spiked seal note is the only one of four known not permanently impounded in a government collection and is graded Extremely Fine 40 by PCGS.

An Fr. 1203 1882 $100 Gold Certificate, one of just three known and also unique in private hands, is graded PCGS Fine 15, while an example of the 1863 “Spread Eagle” $100 Legal Tender Note, Fr. 167b, is in PCGS Very Fine 25.

A high grade Fr. 1219e 1907 $1,000 Gold Certificate will also cross the block. This note is graded Choice Uncirculated 64 by PMG.

A number of obsolete proof notes will be featured in the auction as parts of the Crusader Collection and the Peter Mayer Collection. From the Crusader Collection comes a rare uncirculated 1860 $100 proof from Prescott Bank of Lowell, Mass. An uncirculated 1856 $5 face and back color proof pair from the Niagara County Bank of Lockport, N.Y. will be up for bid as will an uncirculated and undated $1,000 proof from the Mechanics Bank of Pittsburgh, Pa.

Offered from the Peter Mayer Collection are proofs from the Northeast, including an uncirculated 1860 $20 proof from the Revere Bank of Boston, Mass.

New York City banks are led by an undated gem uncirculated $50 proof from the Artisans Bank and an undated choice uncirculated $3 proof from the Knickerbocker Bank. An undated uncirculated $100 proof from the Union Bank of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is also available.

For additional information, contact Stack’s Bowers Galleries at (800) 458-4646 (West coast), (800) 566-2580 (East coast), or visit