It appears to me that prices are firming up a bit. I think the FUN auctions will confirm this.
At this point in time I see good prices for notes from Very Fine to Gem. There are more ups than downs. One serious down price was a note sold in the Carson Chambliss sale in 2018, a $100 Silver certificate that brought $87,000. It then sold in the Mike Coltrane sale 2 years later and realized $52,800. Most of the Coltrane notes did quite well, however. Super Gems continue very strong for better notes. Common material in 67 and up grades, however, do not seem to make double the value of 65 graded notes normally seen.
That was some good news. Now for more depressing thoughts. We won’t be traveling to Florida under current circumstances, leading the FUN Show to cancel any in-person activities. That said, I do plan on being an active bidder. Central States is still planning its show. As I am writing this column in early December, so there’s always a chance Covid will slow down. However, current thoughts on the availability of an effective distribution of a vaccine seem at best to be into the summer. I dearly love Central States as a past president of that organization. Hopefully things will clear up by the time Kansas City rolls around. Computer auctions are a life support for the hobby right now, but I sure miss seeing my friends.
As has been the case for several years now, World currency remains strong. Heritage has been running Tuesday auctions on World currency for several years now and there is abundant material every Tuesday. Fractional remains strong for high grade material and A great collection will be presented at auction on January 17. Bob Laub put together a very nice Fractional currency set. There will be a number of rarities for the FCCB crowd.
Small Size continues to be unpredictable. FRN collectors face numerous rarities in assembling District sets, or the notes of a particular district. I have been collecting Minnesota $5 FRN’s for over 20 years and I’ve never seen an offering of the 3 remaining notes I need to complete the set.
Numerous Confederate notes are offered on Tuesday night Heritage auctions. You can assemble a set of about 50 notes without breaking the bank. The remaining notes are hard to find and not inexpensive.
National Bank Notes continue strong if the state or area you are chasing has competition. Some states are very tough, either from real scarcity, like Alaska, or from competition, such as Connecticut. First 100 chartered notes are also in strong demand. Here you must be somewhat forgiving regarding condition, as the only surviving note on a bank you want could be ugly.
Regarding World currency, don’t overlook Latin America. The American Bank Note company printed notes for many South American countries and their workmanship and artistry are truly beautiful. An area that has been a bit quiet is Military Payment Certificates. Some are very attractive, some are a bit dull, but they are worthy of more attention than they get. I’m always looking for comments or questions, so get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org