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$500 Leads Stack's Sale
By Bank Note Reporter
July 24, 2012

This article was originally printed in Bank Note Reporter.
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An 1878 $500 Legal Tender Note, Fr. 185d, said to be “extremely rare” and a design that “only surfaces within public sales roughly once every five years,” will be featured in Stack’s Bowers Galleries’ The August 2012 Philadelphia ANA World’s Fair of Money Auction, Aug. 8, in Philadelphia. Graded PCGS Extremely Fine 40 Apparent, the rarity is estimated to bring between $300,000 and $500,000.

The sale is being held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, 1101 Arch St.

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The $500, with provenance to the Amon Carter Jr. collection among others, bears serial No. A4206 and is “one of only six known serial numbers for the 1878 series date and tied for the finest available in this Extremely Fine grade with the other being too an Ex. Amon Carter note with the serial A5786.”

Two Very Fine notes of the six in the census are forever unavailable to private collections, as one is in the Smithsonian and the other is in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s holdings. “This note has quite an illustrious career being pedigreed to numerous historically important collections including Amon Carter, Frank Levitan and now the Anderson collection,” the cataloger wrote. “The last offering of the design with comparable rarity and grade was an 1875 Friedberg 185a note, which bears the signatures of Allison Spinner and resides in a PMG Very Fine 25 holder with the comments restorations. That note was sold in January of 2007 where it brought $517,500.00 as one of Five known with two also in permanent collections.”

Also likely to be a top draw in the Stack’s Bowers ANA sale is an 1880 $1,000 Legal Tender Note, Fr. 187j, in PCGS Very Fine 35. It’s estimated to be worth between $225,000 and $325,000.

Bearing the DeWitt Clinton portrait with Christopher Columbus at left, the note is “one of a known 13 listed in current census data and three pieces are forever unavailable to private collectors as they reside in institutional holdings. Of those available this plate “C” impression is one that rivals the finest available and is ultimately the second best of the 10 collectible examples.”

Estimated at $150,000 to $250,000 is an 1891 $50 Treasury or Coin Note, Fr. 376, PCGS Extremely Fine 40 PPQ. This example, bearing the serial No. B17508, served as the plate note in the book 100 Greatest Currency Notes, by Q. David Bowers and David M. Sundman.

It bears a “face design made even more rare as the $50 denomination was skipped in the 1890 series and produced in limited numbers in 1891. The note is one of only 22 recorded examples for this single Friedberg number design. Of the 22 examples six are in Governmental collections and another permanently resides in the ANA museum leaving a scant 16 pieces available to collectors.”

Also featured is another collector favorite, an 1890 $100 Treasury Note, Fr. 377, in PCGS Extremely Fine 45 and estimated at $150,000 to $250,000. Known as the “Watermelon” note for it’s distinctive design, this specimen is described as wearing “ample margins for the design type and is free from any restoration work which would affect appeal and grade.”

For additional information, telephone (800) 458-4646; email; or visit

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