A recent submission to PMG prompted me to write to your magazine and tell you about a currency find I had back in the 1990s. I was the branch manager of a large bank and we had many customers that had problems with the new $100 bills coming in. These bills were first introduced in 1996, and I took many complaints about offering up fake money. Each complaint had to be fielded with understanding, even though I was thrilled the U.S. government’s decision to try a new design.
One afternoon an elderly gentleman came into the bank. He walked up to one of my tellers and offered him a 1928 $1,000 bill. He said he wanted to see the new $1,000 bills that had come out, and he wanted to trade in this old one for one of the new ones.
The teller had never seen a $1,000 bill before and thinking it was phony called me up to the teller line. I was floored and excited all at the same time. Upon examination, I explained to the teller it was real, and he explained to me that the man wanted a new $1,000 bill.
I took the man to my desk and explained that the government no longer printed $1,000 bills. Printing had stopped in 1946, and no notes had been reissued since 1969. He got very agitated, but understood, and asked if he could trade it for 10 new $100 bills. I told him, yes, but then my conscious got the best of me. I told the man we would be happy to accept his note, but he would be happier if he took it to an old coin dealer, who would most likely give him more than face value for it. I gave him directions to the store of a small dealer not too far from our branch, for which he thanked me before leaving.
An hour later, the man came back in, thanked me again and he opened up an account in my branch as a thanks for my honesty. I was happy to have helped, but the next call I got surprised even me. The dealer who I had sent the man to called me, he said the note graded XF-40, and he gave the man $1,300 for it. He said the man told him what happened, and since I was so honest, if I wanted to come down to the store, he would sell the note to me for $1,400. It was a quick profit for him and a nice note for my collection. I went over after work and made the deal.
Recently I sent the note into PMG for grading and got a nice surprise. It came back graded AU-50 EPQ. So I can say my honesty is still paying off even 15 years later.
John Coctoastan a hobbyist from St. Louis, Mo. Viewpoint is a forum for the expression of opinion on a variety of numismatic subjects. The opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of Numismatic News. To have your opinion considered for Viewpoint, write to David C. Harper, Editor, Numismatic News, 700 E. State St., Iola, WI 54990. Send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.