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Top notes stay strong, others weaken

By Bill Brandimore


The market seems mixed based on the Heritage auction results. Some notes are up a bit, others down a bit.

The lack of EPQ or PPQ on a third-party grading certainly is discernible. Fine 15 grades seem to be bringing previously Fine 12 prices and uncirculated 64 note prices seem closer to 63s. More common notes graded at the Superb Gem 67 level do not seem to double the price of 65 graded examples; although the rule seems to be holding for scarcer notes.

Any mention of pinholes or repairs causes notes to plummet in value.

I see some weakness in $2 Federal Reserve Bank Notes. Small-size notes seem to be holding their own, although the majority of offerings at the $1 level seem to be solid serial numbers or fancy serial numbers.

National Bank Notes continue to rely more on bank rarity for value than any other factor. There has been very little movement on prices for Nationals by way of grade.

A popular and relatively common Brown Back $5 on the National Exchange Bank of Plymouth, Mich., in 65 PPQ sold for $2,500, $500 down from our previous price guide listing for that grade in $5 Brown Backs. Otherwise there didn’t seem to be any significant ups or downs in that area.

A $100 Legal Tender note, KL167a/Fr 167a in Very Fine 30 PPQ, brought $135,125 with buyer’s fees.

Speaking of buyer’s fees, I note that the American Numismatic Association auction on March 9-11, 2017, will be conducted by Kagin’s, with no seller’s fees. It will be interesting to see what that will stir up in the auction market; although sellers in the know with attractive material have always been able to negotiate for no seller fees charges. With recent raises to 17.5 percent buyer’s fees, perhaps this will stimulate some free market competition between auction houses.

Of course, one of the downsides in higher auction fees is that buyers structure their bids accordingly and sellers get less return than they might realize in private collector-to-collector sales. The trade-off is generally acceptable, as where could you sell a large number of notes in collector-to-collector fashion?

Could the much discussed British exit from the European Union have knowledgeable investment buyers a bit cautious in their currency purchases? As I have said in the past, I am not a financial advisor, but I do wonder about the long-term strength of the currency market.

Meanwhile I am beginning to look forward to the Michigan State Thanksgiving weekend show. Michigan State seems well settled into their Macomb College sports arena venue. This and their Spring Show have always been good shows with lots of currency for sale. If you have never exhibited your notes competitively, this is a very good venue, as Michigan State uses properly trained judges and they offer nice prizes. Give exhibiting some consideration, as it is fun and there is a good deal of comradely interaction. After all there’s nothing like hanging out with other collectors at a big show. Who knows, you might meet new trading partners. Personally, I prefer a good trade to just laying out cash for my notes.

As usual, you can email your questions and comments to me at:

Have a happy Thanksgiving.

This article was originally printed in Bank Note Reporter. >> Subscribe today.

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