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Star notes up and down from auction to auction

By Bill Brandimore


I thought I’d start my column with an interesting quote. I am preparing an exhibit of (gasp) coins for the Michigan State show in April. It will be on large cents, so the quote is from The Cent Book, 1816-1839.

The author, John D. Wright, is describing terms in a glossary. For Uncirculated, he says “A term in long use for ‘new’ or as made. The preferable term is ‘Mint State’ (MS), as it is backwards to describe something by what it is not. Even more ludicrous is the term ‘About Uncirculated’ (AU), which tries to describe the condition of a coin as what it is almost not.” I guess I’ll just stick to numbers.

One of my favorite shows is coming up this month. The Professional Currency Dealers Society show will take place March 14-16 at the Hilton Hotel in Rosemont, Ill., and will feature a Lyn Knight auction. What is great about this show is that it is all paper. The dealers come from around the United States and a few foreign nations as well. World currency is well represented.

Regarding results from the FUN show, Platinum night showed mixed prices. 65-graded notes were weak against 66- notes, while 67- notes, as usual, seemed to double 65- notes.

A particularly interesting note was the nicest National Gold Bank note I’ve ever seen illustrated or otherwise, a $5 note on the National Gold Bank of D. O. Mills, graded 40 and attributed to the Farran Zerbe collection. It brought $180,000.

The finest-known $100 James Monroe 1878 Silver Certificate, KL833/Fr.337b, one of only four in existence, was hammered down at $540,000. In small size, a PMG 50 EPQ 1828D $1* Silver Certificate failed to sell with a starting bid of $6,000. A 1928E* in PMG30 sold for $13,800.

A 1929 $10* Minneapolis FRNB in PMG 66EPQ sold for $25,200. This 1929 issue continues to amaze me. One auction they are hot, and the next, they are not. Stars in this issue command a lot of attention, and lower-grade regular examples are very weak.

Fractional notes were also weak in the limited offering at FUN. Scarce Small Size Federal Reserve Notes in high grade, or star examples, seemed stronger. Nice Large Size notes were mixed. There seemed to be positive interest in $2 and $5 Legal Tender notes, especially those with attractive large seals. Buffalo notes and Indian Chiefs also seemed stronger. $10,000 cancelled Gold notes were mixed, with some going cheaply compared to previous interest. All in all, there didn’t seem to be a pattern emerging for the market this year. Perhaps the Central States show in Schaumburg will provide more answers.

The new Exhibit policy at Central States is attracting criticism. This year they begin a new requirement for exhibitors. A payment of $75 per exhibit will be applied in order to offset the costs of prizes and arena space. This will be placed in the Ray Lockwood memorial fund. Those who donated $75 to the fund in the past will be excused of this payment for this year. This is an example of lagging support for major shows that has been steadily increasing with the ease of shopping online at major show auctions.

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