Described as the “prize of any collection,” an 1863 “Spread Eagle” $100 Legal Tender Note leads the offerings in Lyn Knight Currency Auctions’ upcoming sale in conjunction with the 40th Anniversary Memphis International Paper Money Show.
The rarity, one of only 22 known of this variety, Fr. 167a, is graded PCGS Choice About New 55PPQ. The pedigree for this note, estimated to bring $250,000 to $500,000, traces to the Grinnell sale, where William Donlon acquired it and later used it as the cover illustration for his book, United States Large Size Paper Money, 1861 to 1923. In 1971, the note was sold as part of the Donlon Collection and has been off the market since.
Knight’s auction is scheduled for June 2-4 at the Memphis Cook Convention Center in downtown Memphis.
Another rarity crossing the block there is an 1863 $50 Legal Tender, Fr. 150b, estimated at $100,000 to $200,000. It’s graded PCGS VF 30. According to the cataloger, “only a VG 8 and VF 20 have been offered in Fr. 150a and that was back in 2007.”
Carrying a similar estimate is an 1861 $20 Demand Note, Fr. 13, in PMG VF 25. “A $20 Demand Note rates among the rarest of all notes available to collectors up to the $20 denomination. Records indicate nearly 1 million $20 Demand Notes were printed, with only 22 known survivors on all districts and of those only four are from Boston. This example is the best graded by either service at PMG VF 25.”
Of a later date, an 1878 $20 Silver Certificate should attract spirited bidding. Graded PCGS VF 30 Apparent, the Fr. 305, estimated at $100,000 to $200,000, “is the finest…of the three hand-signed 1878 $20 Silver Certificates by J.C. Hopper that are known in any form, public or private.” This specimen has been off the market for 45 years, last selling in a Superior auction for $750.
Another stunner as to rarity is an 1880 $100 Silver Certificate, Fr. 341, in PCGS VF 35 Apparent. “James Monroe had the good fortune to grace the face of this famous ‘Black Back’ $100 of which there are only 24 serial numbers recorded. This note is the Krause-Lemke illustration provided by Dean Oakes. Only 19 of the known notes are outside of institutions, mostly government agencies, and it’s doubtful they will ever be sold.” It’s estimated at $100,000 to $200,000.
Other top lots include:
• 1869 $20 “Rainbow” Legal Tender, Fr. 127, PCGS Gem New 66PPQ, $65,000 to $100,000 estimate.
• 1880 $50 Silver Certificate, Fr. 328, PCGS VF 30PPQ, $60,000 to $90,000 estimate.
• 1886 $20 Silver Certificate, Fr. 316, PMG XF 40, $50,000 to $100,000 estimate.
• 1878 $10 Silver Certificate, Fr. 285a, PCGS VF 30 Apparent, $50,000 to $100,000 estimate.
• $20 July 15, 1864 3 year 6 percent Compound Interest Treasury Note, Fr. 191, PCGS VF 30 Apparent, $50,000 to $100,000 estimate.
• $20 April 5, 1864 5 percent Compound Interest Bearing Treasury Note, Fr. 197a, PCGS VF30 Apparent, $50,000 to $70,000 estimate.
• 1914 $100 Red Seal Federal Reserve Note, San Francisco, Fr. 1083b, PCGS Gem New 65PPQ, $45,000 to $75,000 estimate.
• 1902 $10 Date Back, The First National Bank of Zillah, Wash., Fr. 618, AU+, $50,000 to $250,000 estimate.
• 1875 $10 The National Bank of Holyoke City, Mass., Fr. 423a, XF/AU, $50,000 to $100,000 estimate.
For additional information, visit www.lynknight.com.
This article was originally printed in Bank Note Reporter.
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