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HomeShows & ConventionsMemphis International Paper Money Show Draws Crowds, Brings Six-Figure Prices

Memphis International Paper Money Show Draws Crowds, Brings Six-Figure Prices


By Joshua McMorrow-Hernandez for CoinWeek …….
The 2016 Memphis International Paper Money Show (IPMS) lured big crowds to the Cook Convention Center in the River City from June 2 through June 5. The IPMS show, celebrating its 40th anniversary year, attracted thousands of currency collectors and numismatists, scripophilists, and non-hobbyists alike. Reasonable admission prices (including $7 per person per day, or $20 for an all-day, all-event family pass) helped keep traffic at the show steady.

The IPMS was held earlier this year than in 2015, when the Memphis IPMS took place from June 18-21. According to the show’s organizer Lyn Knight, the 2016 dates would help avoid calendar conflicts with Father’s Day and other events.

“It was a sellout for the bourse,” he said. “We had 211 cases of exhibits – the largest number ever,” continued Knight, who runs Lyn Knight Auctions in Overland Park, Kansas.

“Our attendance was up from 2015, and the auction saw a larger amount of international participation versus last year.”

Some of the top sellers during the paper currency auction include a Series 1863 FR 167A $100 in Choice About Uncirculated-55, PPQ (Premium Paper Quality) that sold for US$230,000 ($270,250 with the 17.5 percent buyer’s fee).

“It was the high-water mark of the show,” Knight remarked. Other six-figure auction highlights include the FR 305 Series 1878 $20 silver certificate and FR 341 Series 1880 $100 bills, each of which sold for $141,000 including buyer’s fee. Meanwhile the FR 13 Series 1861 $20 bill fetched an impressive $117,500 including buyer’s fee.

Among the wide variety of world currency pieces sold in the auction include a set of eight Philippines Victory Series banknotes with denominations ranging from $1 through $500 that excited bidders. The Philippines Victory Series set, believed to have once belonged to United States Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas, went for a respectable $28,200 including buyer’s fee. Another Philippines offering, a 1905 20 Pesos bill grading Extremely Fine 40, sold for $23,500 including buyer’s fee.

Knight suggests the paper currency market is getting healthier and that, on the whole, the industry appears better than last year. “The currency market seems to have strengthened in many respects,” he said. However, there are some areas of weakness. “The lower-end material hasn’t been moving as quickly.”

Indeed, the assessment could be verified in the shows auction results. While some pieces met or exceeded estimates, other lower-value pieces–such as modern errors and relatively common, lower-graded banknotes from the 19th and early 20th centuries–failed to trade hands.

While hundreds of thousands of dollars face value in collectible currency crossed the auction block, numerous industry experts stood behind the lectern providing invaluable information to seminar-goers.

Jamie Yakes delivered a talk on Series 1928 and 1934 gold certificates, and Pierre Fricke discussed the history of and collecting strategies for Confederate paper money. Meanwhile, Lee Loftus spoke about the “fabulous” high-denomination Federal Reserve notes of 1918. Other lectures included sessions on Chinese currency, historic intaglio plate technology, and updates on the Society of Paper Money Collectors (SPMC) Obsolete Database Project, which catalogs all obsolete paper currency issues.

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