By Tracy Schmidt
The last live U.S. Currency auction of the year for Stack’s Bowers Galleries contained several great notes. What captivated my attention was a special collection of “Santa Claus” notes in obsolete currency. This group was curated by the beloved Dottie Freeman, who the currency collecting family lost last spring. Santa Claus notes are always sought-after, and the supply is generally short of the demand. Winning bidder’s eyes will be twinkling through the upcoming holiday season because of these nostalgic notes:
Lot# 10020 was an 1854 $50 Prooffrom Bucksport, Maine. This PMG Choice Uncirculated 63, has a Type-III Santa Claus vignette seen at center. The note shows three dogs at bottom left and a Native American with bow and arrows at right. Estimated at $3,000-$5,000, the note sold for $3,600.
Lot# 10024 was an 1857-1860s $2 from White Mountain Bank in Lancaster, N.H. This PMG Very Good 10 note includes Santa Claus in his sleigh at top. The left shows two females. This scarce Santa Claus type is very popular. There are excellent signatures and minor repairs. Estimated at $2,000-$3,000, the note sold for $1,500.
Lot# 10028 was an 1850s $1 note from the Saint Nicholas Bank graded PMG Very Fine 30. It depicts the Saint Nicholas hotel at top center, and the vignette at right depicts a Type-II Santa Claus by fireplace with a sack of toys and stockings. Estimated at $2,500-$3,000, the note sold for $3,840.
A great Santa vignette on banknotes reference is Roger H. Durand’s 1993 Interesting Notes About Christmas. Granted, Santa Claus figures in older vignettes are unlike the modern advertising image we have of a laughing, chubby, milk-drinking, cookie-eating friend. The 1800s bank note Santa has a little bit of an edgy look. With that being said, when we see him in simulated action, he still lights a spark in the fireplace of our imaginations.
For more information on prices realized go to auctions.stacksbowers.com.
This story was originally published in Bank Note Reporter. To subscribe, click here.