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‘Tis the Season for Santa Bank Notes

By Tracy Schmidt

The last live U.S. Currency auction of the year for Stack’s Bowers Galleries contained several great notes. What captivated my attention was a special collection of “Santa Claus” notes in obsolete currency. This group was curated by the beloved Dottie Freeman, who the currency collecting family lost last spring. Santa Claus notes are always sought-after, and the supply is generally short of the demand. Winning bidder’s eyes will be twinkling through the upcoming holiday season because of these nostalgic notes:

Lot# 10020 was an 1854 $50 Proof  from Bucksport, Maine. This PMG Choice Uncirculated 63, has a Type-III Santa Claus vignette seen at center. The note shows three dogs at bottom left and a Native American with bow and arrows at right. Estimated at $3,000-$5,000, the note sold for $3,600.

Lot 10020 was a $50 Bucksport, Maine, Bucksport Bank Proof note from 1854. The condition of the note is PMG Choice Uncirculated 63. There is a Type-III Santa Claus vignette at center. Three dogs are at the bottom left and a Native American with bow and arrows appears at right. Realized $3,600. Image courtesy of Stack’s Bowers.

Lot# 10024 was an 1857-1860s $2 from White Mountain Bank in Lancaster, N.H. This PMG Very Good 10 note includes Santa Claus in his sleigh at top. The left shows two females. This scarce Santa Claus type is very popular. There are excellent signatures and minor repairs. Estimated at $2,000-$3,000, the note sold for $1,500.

Lot 10024 was a $2 Lancaster, New Hampshire, White Mountain Bank note from 1857-1860s. The condition is PMG Very Good 10. There is a Santa Claus in sleight at top. The vignette at left depicts two females. The note has a very popular and scarce Santa Claus type, excellent signatures, minor repairs. Realized $1,500. Image courtesy of Stack’s Bowers.

Lot# 10028 was an 1850s $1 note from the Saint Nicholas Bank graded PMG Very Fine 30. It depicts the Saint Nicholas hotel at top center, and the vignette at right depicts a Type-II Santa Claus by fireplace with a sack of toys and stockings. Estimated at $2,500-$3,000, the note sold for $3,840.

Lot 10028 was a $1 New York, New York, Saint Nicholas Bank note from the 1850s. The condition of the note is PMG Very Fine 30. The Saint Nicholas hotel is at the top center and there is a vignette at right depicting the Type-II Santa Claus by a fireplace with sack of toys and some hanging stockings. Realized $3,840. Image courtesy of Stack’s Bowers.

A great Santa vignette on banknotes reference is Roger H. Durand’s 1993 Interesting Notes About Christmas. Granted, Santa Claus figures in older vignettes are unlike the modern advertising image we have of a laughing, chubby, milk-drinking, cookie-eating friend. The 1800s bank note Santa has a little bit of an edgy look. With that being said, when we see him in simulated action, he still lights a spark in the fireplace of our imaginations.

For more information on prices realized go to auctions.stacksbowers.com.

This story was originally published in Bank Note Reporter. To subscribe, click here.

 

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