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Stradivarius Collection on display at IPMS

Just one of 12 gem district 1934 $500 Light Green Seal Federal Reserve Notes (2201-F Atlanta, GEM 65 PPQ) that will be on display as part of The Stradivarius Collection during the International Paper Money Show in Kansas City, Mo.

Attendees of the 2017 International Paper Money Show in Kansas City will have the opportunity to view the only complete gem district set of 1934 $500 Light Green Seal Federal Reserve Notes known to exist.

The Stradivarius Collection, so named by its owner to emphasize its quality and rarity, is the finest known collection of 1934 LGS $500 notes. In addition, it is also the only gem district set of high-denomination bank notes ($500-$1000-$5000-$10,000) extant. It took the owner more than 20 years to locate the 12 gems.

The 1934 LGS $500 notes were done on bright white paper with seals and serial numbers printed in distinctive lime green ink. They are much rarer then the later Dark Green Seal $500s, since the LGS was only used for a brief interval. Also, the notes circulated hard, became heavily worn, and were subsequently removed from circulation and destroyed by the Federal Reserve.

Records from the Bureau of Engraving and Printing show that a total of 917,628 1934 LGS $500s were printed for all 12 districts. Yet in their 10+ years of existence, the Professional Coin Grading Service and Paper Money Guaranty Currency Grading Services have only graded 2,028 LGS notes (less than one quarter of one percent of the total printed) for all 12 districts combined.

Of the 2,028 graded LGS notes, most fall within the Fine-Very Fine range. A scant 105 are gems, with 61 of these being recorded for St Louis due to a recently discovered hoard, leaving only 44 gems spread across the other 11 Federal Reserve Districts.

The Boston, New York, Atlanta, and Dallas districts have only one gem each, all of which are in the Stradivarius Collection. Richmond and Minneapolis have only three gems each, while Kansas City and San Francisco have four gems each. Philadelphia (five gems), Chicago (nine gems), and Cleveland (11 gems) are the more common LGS gems, along with St Louis.

Here is a listing of the 12 notes comprising the Stradivarius Collection, by district with grades:

  • 2201-A Boston, GEM 65 PPQ
  • 2201-G Chicago, GEM 68 PPQ
  • 2201-B New York, GEM 65 EPQ
  • 2201-H St. Louis, GEM 66 PPQ
  • 2201-C Philadelphia, GEM 66 EPQ
  • 2201-I Minneapolis, GEM 65 EPQ
  • 2201-D Cleveland, GEM 66 PPQ
  • 2201-J Kansas City, GEM 66 EPQ
  • 2201-E Richmond, GEM 65 PPQ
  • 2201-K Dallas, GEM 65 PPQ
  • 2201-F Atlanta, GEM 65 PPQ
  • 2201-L San Francisco, GEM 66 PPQ

The Boston, New York, Atlanta & Dallas Stradivarius specimens are unique, and the Chicago note is a condition rarity. For all but one of the remaining districts, Stradivarius notes are tied for finest known. (For Kansas City, there exists a PCGS 67 PPQ example, one point better than the Stradivarius note.)

The annual IPMS event, which was formerly held in Memphis, will take place this year from June 8-11 at the Sheraton Crown Center in Kansas City, Mo. For further show details, visit online: http://www.ipmskansascity.com/


This article was originally printed in Bank Note Reporter. >> Subscribe today.


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