The most important paper money auction lot ever to be sold will be put on the block Aug. 17 by Stack’s Bowers Galleries at the American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money in the Chicago suburb of Rosemont, Ill.
What is it?
It is a set of three uncut sheets of the first $1, $2 and $5 Series 1896 Silver Certificates called Educational Notes because of the allegorical figures shown in their engraved vignettes.
Among the crown jewels of the Harry W. Bass Jr. Collection, these sheets of four notes each have serial numbers “1” to “4,” marking them as the first ones of the series printed by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.
The historical importance of the sheets was underlined by Q. David Bowers, chairman emeritus of the firm.
“This set will automatically rank the buyer at the forefront of American paper money collectors,” Bowers said.
“Indeed, these sheets would make a fantastic museum display all by themselves.”
The sheets are part of a consignment from the Harry W. Bass Jr. Foundation of Dallas, Texas, that comprise what will be Part V of sales of material from the Bass collection conducted by the current firm and its antecedents since 1999.
Realizing over $37 million, the first four sales have set a high bar for results for this, the fifth auction.
According to Stack’s Bowers Galleries, it also will include several dozen essays, proofs and other unissued denominations that trace the development of the Educational Notes.
The three uncut sheets are intricately bound. They are accompanied by documents pedigreeing the set back to the time of issue, the firm said.
They had been on display in the Harry W. Bass Jr. multimedia gallery at the ANA headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colo, the firm pointed out.
As important as these items are to the paper money hobby, the Aug. 17 auction features much more, according to Chris Napolitano, Stack’s Bowers Galleries president.
“Hundreds of other important notes will be offered, including Gold Certificates, Treasury or Coin Notes, Legal Tender Notes, Federal Reserve Notes, and others, large and small,” he said.
Continuing his list, Napolitano said, “National Bank Notes will be a prime attraction as well, including a marvelous selection of $1 ‘aces,’ rare locations, a serial No. 1 $5 National Gold Bank of D.O. Mills & Co. note, and other highlights.”
Providing grading service to the auction is Paper Money Guaranty.
“We are thrilled to add our PMG expertise to the presentation of one of the most significant currency holdings of our time. Indeed, the certification experience will be always remembered by our staff,” said Steve Eichenbaum, CEO of PMG.
Bowers himself is supervising the preparation of a special catalog for the Harry W. Bass Jr. Collection Part V, announced Christine Karstedt, Stack’s Bowers Galleries vice president.
Turn to Page 36-37 for background information about the Educational Series and about Harry W. Bass Jr. as a collector.