Skip to main content

Filling Collection Gaps

1928E star $1 silver certificate (Image courtesy of Heritage Auctions).

1928E star $1 silver certificate (Image courtesy of Heritage Auctions).

First, for errors: The correct email for the Michigan Mining Scrip book is: If you’re into Upper Peninsula material, this book is the best!

The market seems to be gaining strength. In reviewing price estimates for the late April Central States auction at Dallas, this seems to be a trend. Next month I’ll be reviewing the prices realized for a complete collection of Fractional Currency. Staggering rarities will be on the block. After that we’ll be looking at the ANA show in Chicago.

Are you a hole filler? I have to admit that I am. It dates back to my days as a paper boy in the early 1950s. I wanted to make sure there were no holes in my 25 cent Blue Whitman folders. My Buffalo Nickels were complete except for the 1915-S (I didn’t know about the 1919 over 18 rarity.) Many of my nickels were well worn, though. I saved up $10 to buy a 1909-S -VDB and when I told my dad my plan he said, “Any kid of mine who pays $10 for a penny will get a good pounding when he gets home.” Lucky for me I found a 1916 -D, About Good dime in my change or I would also have had a hole in my Mercury Dime set. When I discovered paper money at Ed Marusak’s coin shop on Michigan Ave. on Detroit’s near West Side in the late 1960s, I went nuts. I remember buying an uncirculated $2 Battle Ship for $40. My budget was rather tight then, as a young guy with 4 kids, so I was drawn to the colorful Fractional Currency area. A lot of notes could be had for under $40. So, I settled for circulated condition to keep my budget under control. That habit has stayed with me a bit, as I recently bought 1928 C and D star $1 silver certificates in low grade. I only need the 1928E star for all the $1 silver certificates, but I will probably never complete the set. My Dad would say “Any kid of mine who pays ten thousand dollars for a dollar will get a pounding when he gets home.”

I prefer rarity to condition and this stands me in good stead when collecting National Bank Notes, as the old timers used to say, and I will repeat: If you don’t buy a low-grade note from a rare bank, you might not ever see another one.

Regarding the market, I see the Fine Very Fine notes gaining strength. I interpret this as a sign that collectors on a budget are getting back into buying notes. Notes in MS66 seem pretty pricy now. MS67 notes on common newer issues aren’t as strong as they were, there are just too many of them. I can see dealers buying a brick of notes and carefully harvesting the 67 and higher grades. No one was doing that before Third Party Grading came into being. Personally, I am really happy with an MS35 or 30 on tougher issues, as that gives you a note that is really unblemished and shows very little wear. It all goes down to personal goals. But, be sure to learn the history. Contact me at: