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Thirteen Montgomeries Led Mayer CSA Sale
By Pierre Fricke
August 14, 2007
I rarely consider taking out a mortgage on the house to finance my collecting habits. However, the Frederick Mayer Confederate Notes and Bonds sale by Smythe July 6 had me pause to seriously consider it. Mayer's collection was that good!

Mayer's Montgomery notes kicked off the sale of his collection two $1,000s (T-1), two $500s (T-2), five $100s (T-3) and four $50s (T-4). These Montgomery notes, along with the unique T-66 inverted back in another part of the sale, were the highlights of the Confederate notes offered. Mayer assembled a wonderful collection of mostly mid-grade notes.

With 13 Montgomeries in the Mayer collection, plus one additional T-3 in another part of the sale, a wide range of Montgomery notes was available to collectors and dealers of Confederate paper money, making this an ideal time to add to or start a collection.

Dr. Douglas Ball's $1,000 Montgomery note headed this Montgomery set. In about uncirculated restored with cut-cancels closed, net extremely fine-cut canceled (my grades reported here), it was a beautiful note realizing $60,375. (All prices realized reported here include 15 percent buyer premium.) A summary of the results follows:

T-1 AU, net XF-CC ex Ball $60,375 T-1 F-VF-CC $29,900 T-2 VF $27,600 T-2 F-VF $26,450 T-3 XF, mounting $25,300 T-3 XF, mounting $19,550 T-3 VF-XF, mounting $19,550 T-3 VF-XF $16,100 T-3 About VF $9,775 T-4 XF-CC, closed, choice appearance $16,200 T-4 F-VF $9,200 T-4 F, plus $10,925 T-4 About Fine-CC (but with a cool $9,775 New Orleans custom house stamp)

My observation from this sale and Smythe's April 2007 Western Reserve sale is that the speculators and most of the investors are playing in other parts of the obsolete and U.S. paper money markets making this an ideal time for the traditional collector to assemble a collection of Confederate notes, including the Montgomeries, which are available at good prices today. Considering the number of Montgomery notes available, prices and floor action were quite respectable, indicating an ongoing interest in these historically significant notes.

The other Confederate paper money highlight was the $50 T-66 PF-11IB inverted back, unique to date, that realized $9,775 in another part of the sale.

There was quite a bit of interest at the show in building focused variety collections such as the inverted back and complete T-33 collection I exhibited. I enjoyed talking with many collectors and dealers on this topic at the show.

Mayer's CSA Bonds

There was a lot of buzz in the Confederate bond collecting fraternity prior to the sale. A good number of the rarest bonds were up for bids, most of which had not been seen on the market since the Ball sale in 1987 or John J. Ford Jr. sale in the late 1990s.

These included, with prices realized (listed by Ball number):

5 proof essai $27,025 8 hand drawn mockup $21,850 20A hand written bond $11,500 29 hand written bond $8,050 141 hand written bonds (4) $1,955 to $4,025 142 Flagenheimer (3) $9,775 to $13,800 149 the great essay bond $43,125 (a new record price for a CSA bond) 151 and 152 cotton bonds $11,500 and $20,700 155 cotton certificate $15,525 277 $500 4% call certificate $9,775 280 hand-drawn essai $8,625 281 hand-drawn essai $9,200 341I issued farmer plowing $3,737.50

In addition, there was a complete set of four Montgomery bonds and four Montgomeries crossed out with Richmond written in. These were sought after, prices ranging from $1,500 for the $1,000 Ball 17 with minor repair, up to $14,375 for the extremely rare $100 Ball 12. These make a wonderful, historically significant and convenient (due to smaller size) focused bond collection and remain undervalued in my opinion.

The largest groups ever to appear at auction of Ball 19 Ben Franklin and Ball 20 Confederacy bonds were sold, with a good number going for a wholesale price as collectors focused their attention on the bonds described above. This was a great opportunity to acquire one of each of these bonds which are also very significant additions to any collection of Confederate fiscal paper.

There were many large group lots and other rare bonds available as well. These tended to go to dealers and other retailers. Popular bonds such as those featuring Jefferson Davis or Gen. Winder (of Stonewall Brigade fame) went for strong prices, as did Trans-Mississippi issues.

The Mayer Confederate note and bond sale was a major highlight of my collecting experience. Truly interesting and rare material was available for collectors to add to their collections, carrying forward Ball's, Ford's and Mayer's stewardship of these great bonds and notes.

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