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Weak prices present opportunity for buyers

 Attendees of the 2014 International Paper Money Show examine an exhibit. (Image courtesy

Attendees of the 2014 International Paper Money Show examine an exhibit. (Image courtesy

By Bill Brandimore

At this time I am noting weaker prices, especially in $5, $10 and $20 Large Size FRNs. These areas seem to be the biggest losers, although other areas show weakness as well. Rather than declare a recession in pricing, however, I would prefer to call it a buying opportunity. Buyers seem even more wary of notes other than EPQ or PPQ. It should be noted that 65-graded notes from earlier grading periods did not carry the EPQ or PPQ label, as that was a very basic component of the Gem designation. I have noted in recent auctions that notes in those earlier holders apparently cause some buyer suspicion, even though catalogers usually explain this issue.

How do we drum up interest in our hobby? I suggest contacting your local historical society. An exhibit of local National Bank Notes would certainly expose our hobby to interested individuals. I have found that a great many collectors are interested in their local history. Historical societies attract these folks. Obsoletes and Nationals exhibitions would seem an interesting approach. We need to do something. I always seemed to be one of the youngsters in our groups. Recently I was accused of spending large cents in my youth. I appreciated the humor but looked around and saw a number of folks my age or older.

I’ll be looking at the results of a Stack’s Bowers auction in the near future. It is studded with the rarest of the rare in Large Size notes. Nine of the notes require an opening bid of more than $100,000. This is at the Baltimore show in late March. A number of tough notes are in grade 67, while most of the great rarities are in Extra Fine or higher.

I left March 1 for the Professional Currency Dealers Association show in Rosemont. I’ll be reporting on this show while I am attending the April Central States show in Schaumburg April 26-29. This is a great season for shows, whether you attend in person or follow the auctions through the Internet.

If you attend in person, think about exhibiting your favorite notes. It is fun and rewarding and generally features nice prizes. You will also meet a number of advanced collectors. It is competitive, but you will find it old-fashioned competitive with great sportsmanship and collegial information-sharing.

Don Kelly is coming out with a new book on Obsoletes. He hopes to debut it at Lyn Knight’s Kansas City Show June 7-10. This is a great show for paper collectors, as it is focused on paper and attracts dealers from around the world. That, and Kansas City steaks can’t be all bad. A number of clubs hold meetings at this show. It’s a great get-together opportunity for collectors. Since it is all paper and draws from around the country, you should be able to find something from your area if you’re an Obsolete or National collector. Peter Huntoon is working on putting programs together, and they are always interesting and informative. So, if you get to Schaumburg or Kansas City, flag me down, as I’d enjoy talking to you, and maybe you could give me some feedback for the column.

Contact me by email at

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