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Large Brown Seal 1882 $1000 Gold Certificate One of Two in Private Hands

By Q. David BowersCo-founder, Stack’s Bowers ……
$1000 Gold Certificate

Today I feature a rarest of the rare, finest of the fine note from the Joel R. Anderson Collection. As a class, 19th-century Gold Certificates are rare. This is because all or nearly all were held domestically and, unlike double eagles and other gold coins, were not exported. No foreign Treasury desired to hold paper money instead of metallic gold. In contrast, double eagles were shipped abroad in quantity, and millions have been repatriated since World War II.

That said, among Gold Certificates of the 19th century, when they are found they are nearly always of lower denominations. The Anderson $1,000 note not only is the highest denomination in its series but is also is the finest of just two known! The term once-in-a-lifetime opportunity would seem to be appropriate here, as it is for many other notes from this collection.

Our catalog description:

Lot 2056. Friedberg 1218d (W-4618). 1882 $1,000 Gold Certificate. PCGS Currency Extremely Fine 45.

This incredible example of a prohibitively rare 1882 $1,000 Gold Certificate is the finest known for this type and seal combination and one of only two such examples in private hands. This note all by itself in any other major currency sale would make that sale one for the record books. How amazing it is to have this note share the limelight with so many other treasures!

A portrait of Alexander Hamilton is seen at right. At center is a large brown spiked Treasury Seal with GOLD overprinted in gold letters. A large 1000 counter is found at left. Bold blue serial numbers are seen within gold panels at lower left and upper right. The engraved signatures of Rosecrans and Huston are along the bottom frame line. The back design is elaborate and executed in vibrant orange-gold. A bald eagle with shield is at center while a large Roman numeral M counter is seen at left.

Just four examples of this catalog number are recorded, two of which are permanently impounded in the National Numismatic Collection and in the collection of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. This note was the only privately held example known until another was discovered in 2013. That example was graded Very Fine 35 by PCGS and sold for $881,250 in a January 2014 auction.

The present piece is far more attractive with bright paper, strikingly bold inks and only slight hints of circulation. It was first offered as part of the Albert A. Grinnell Collection, sold by Barney Bluestone in March 1945 where it brought $1,250. It was most recently acquired for $1,092,500 in a June 2006 auction and has been off the market ever since.

This note hails from the Grinnell Collection, as delineated below. Albert A. Grinnell was a partner in Grinnell Brothers, a chain of music and related stores based in Detroit. The firm’s showrooms in major cities featured phonographs, player pianos, radios, sheet music, and other goods and were well known in their time. A good study project for an article would be a narrative describing the offering of this incredible cabinet sold by Bluestone in Syracuse, New York. This was in an era before Robert Friedberg’s game-changing Paper Money of the United States was published in 1953, and fewer than 10 bidders participated!

  • PCGS Population: 1; none finer.
  • From Limpert & Kemm Illustration; Barney Bluestone’s sale of the Albert A. Grinnell Collection, March 1945, lot 566; Currency Auctions of America’s sale of January 2000, lot 2311; Lyn Knight’s sale of June 2006, lot 326.
  • Est. $600,000-$800,000

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For more about the rare and beautiful notes of Part I of the Joel R. Anderson Collection:


Stack's Bowers
Stack's Bowers
Stack's Bowers Galleries conducts live, internet, and specialized auctions of rare U.S. and world coins and currency and ancient coins, as well as direct sales through retail and wholesale channels. The company's 90-year legacy includes the cataloging and sale of many of the most valuable United States coin and currency collections to ever cross an auction block — The D. Brent Pogue Collection, The John J. Ford, Jr. Collection, The Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. Collection, The Harry W. Bass, Jr. Collection, The Joel R. Anderson Collection, The Norweb Collection, The Cardinal Collection, The Sydney F. Martin Collection, and The Battle Born Collection — to name just a few. World coin and currency collections include The Pinnacle Collection, The Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. Collection of World Gold Coins, The Kroisos Collection, The Alicia and Sidney Belzberg Collection, The Salton Collection, The Wa She Wong Collection, and The Thos. H. Law Collection. The company is headquartered in Costa Mesa, California with galleries in New York, Boston, and Philadelphia. Offices are also located in New Hampshire, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Virginia, Hong Kong, Paris, and Vancouver.

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