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Mormon Currency Sells Big
By Bank Note Reporter
April 23, 2013

This article was originally printed in Bank Note Reporter.
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Describing it as the best selection of Mormon bank notes to come on the market “in the last decade or more,” with some never seen or offered before, auctioneer Fred Holabird opened the Mormon currency section of Holabird-Kagin Americana’s April 12 session with a Mormon gold $5 coin in AU-58 that went for $52,875.

The sale, titled the Western Treasures & Tribes Auction, and featuring the Jack Totheroh Collection of Period 1 California Fractional Gold, was held from April 12-13 at the Atlantis Casino Resort in Reno, Nev.

All prices listed here include the 17.50 percent buyer’s premium.

The rare Territorial gold coin was followed by 27 pieces from the Kirtland Safety Society Bank, Kirtland, Ohio, which began with four $1 notes bringing in the $1,880 to the $3,642 range, leading up to the grand prize of this session, a Jan. 4, 1837, Nyholm 34, unlisted in Rust, S/n 2961, “Anti-Banking and Countersigned” $1 note. Cataloged as “the ‘Holy Grail’ for Kirtland collectors and missing from just about every collection,” plus “one of only five reported,” it sold for $41,125.

The cataloger explained that there are 19 different specimens in a complete set of Kirtland notes, with the rarest not only having the Anti-Banking modification but also being countersigned.

Signed by Joseph Smith Jr., Brigham Young and other church members, this specimen was graded about Fine.

Selling for $13,512.50 was a Kirtland Safety Society Bank Nyholm 8, Rust 2S/n 1442, countersigned and reissued in Salt Lake City $5. Graded VF+, it had original date March 21, 1837. An uncut $1-$1-$2-$3 sheet from the Kirtland Safety Society Bank went for $16,450 and a rarer uncut $5-$5-$5-$10 sheet in AU sold for $21,150.

Bringing $19,975 was a Kirtland Safety Society $50-100 uncut remainder/proof, not listed in Nyholm or Rust. It graded uncirculated.

Among the “white” or “valley” notes, which were handwritten and issued in Salt Lake City and dated Jan. 20, 1849, a $2 Nyholm 101, “presently unique” and one of 19 redeemed notes, brought $8,225: while a set of 25 cent, 50 cent, $1, $2 and $3 white notes, Nyholm 96-99, Rust 72-75 “signed but never issued,” went for $7,343.75.

Also featured were rare examples of both types of Deseret Currency Association notes. A Type 1 $1 led. It was a Nyholm 107, unlisted in Rust S/n 2396 and “lacking from most Mormon collections.” It sold at $14,687.50.

These types of notes were also the target of Mark Hoffmann, who was famed for having counterfeited Mormon currency in the 1980s. His work is now collected, while Hofmann is serving a life term for two murders.

“Most collectors familiar with Mormon currency are familiar with Mark Hofmann,” the cataloger wrote. “He was one of the most talented modern forgers, and one of his many targets was Mormon currency.” Presented were seven examples of his forged Deseret Currency Association notes, ranging from a $1 to a $50 note. All failed to open.

Among Mormon scrip, a “possibly unique” Utah Logan-Cache County United Order of Manufactures & Builders five cent, Nyholm 243, Rust unlisted, ex-Schingoethe sale, went for $12,925; and a Utah Logan-Cache County Logan Branch ZCMI 25 cent, Nyholm 164, Rust 168, ex-Rust, Schingoethe and Nyholm in VG/Fine brought $11,456.25.

For additional information, contact Holabird-Kagin Americana, 3555 Airway Drive. Ste. #308, Reno, NV 89511, telephone 775-852-8822 or visit


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