Present-day collectors are familiar with the fact that uncut sheets of modern currency are available for a small premium from the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) in Washington, DC.
Uncut sheets of Large Size Notes, however, are another matter entirely. None were made available to the general public, and all known sheets were either kept by Treasury Department officials at the time or obtained by those officials for someone as a favor.
From July 1885 through the middle of 1910, the BEP delivered all notes to the Treasury Department in the form of uncut sheets, to be separated at the Treasury. Prior to that, and once again starting in June 1910 continuing to the present, the BEP delivered notes to the Treasury fully printed and separated. During those periods, officials would have needed to make special requests to obtain uncut sheets.
The Bureau of Engraving and Printing still possesses Treasury Department ledgers and indices recording the note deliveries from the BEP to the Treasury. These records are of particular interest here because they document the first step in the remarkable provenance of the five unique Speelman-White uncut sheets now being offered in Heritage Auctions’ August 3 Platinum Night auction at our world headquarters in Dallas.
Specifically, the ledger entry for August 30, 1923 details the receipt by the Treasury of $1 Legal Tender Notes with Serial Numbers R73512001A through R73992000A, and mentions that the sheet with numbers R73628001A through R73628004A was transferred to the Treasury uncut, with the red notation, “H. V. Speelman”. This is the uncut sheet we are offering in our August 3 auction #3578. Similar references in the ledgers can also be found for the $2 Legal Tender sheet, the $10 Legal Tender sheet, the $1 Silver Certificate sheet, and the $5 Silver Certificate sheet also appearing in this remarkable sale.
These five unique uncut sheets, all delivered to Register of the Treasury Harley V. Speelman within a short period in late 1923, have remained together to this day.
After Speelman, their trail is next picked up in the late 1950s, when John J. Ford, Jr. obtained them from the F. C. C. Boyd estate and sold them to Oscar G. Schilke. From there, they went through Ben Levin, Stanley Kesselman, and two anonymous collectors, before they were acquired by Herman Halpern in 1991. It is believed, but cannot be proven, that they were obtained from Speelman by Wayte Raymond for Col. E. H. R. Green, whose estate was appraised by F. C. C. Boyd. Since Boyd as the estate appraiser could not legally buy from the estate, he is known to have been given items from the estate for his fee.
In March 1993, for the first time, the sheets were offered individually in a Stacks sale. Fortuitously, all five sheets were acquired by our present consignor, keeping them together for another 27 years. On August 3, at Heritage Auctions’ own Platinum Night auction in Dallas, they are once again being offered individually to afford as many collectors as possible the opportunity to acquire one of these unique pieces of history. We owe Mr. Speelman a debt of gratitude for his foresight in preserving these numismatic treasures for us all to enjoy today.
In addition to this exciting offering, we are pleased to present two more uncut sheets as part of The Monarch Collection of Uncut United States Banknotes, which includes not only the five unique Speelman-White uncut sheets, Ex: Harley V. Speelman, Col. E.H.R. Green, F.C.C. Boyd, John J. Ford Jr., Oscar Schilke, Ben Levin, Stanley Kesselman, Herman Halpern, but also a unique $1-$1-$1-$2 uncut sheet of Serial Number 1 Original Series National Bank Notes, Ex: Albert A. Grinnell, as well as one of just three $1 Educational Silver Certificate uncut sheets in private hands.
Preview these lots and more using the links below:
- Lot #20004 – Fr. 39 $1 1917 Legal Tenders Uncut Sheet of Four, PMG Choice Uncirculated 64 EPQ.
- Lot #20005 – Fr. 60 $2 1917 Legal Tenders Uncut Sheet of Four, PMG Choice Uncirculated 64 EPQ.
- Lot #20006 – Fr. 122 $10 1901 Legal Tenders Uncut Sheet of Four, PMG Gem Uncirculated 65 EPQ.
- Lot #20007 – Fr. 236 $1 1899 Silver Certificates Uncut Sheet of Four, PMG Choice Uncirculated 64.
- Lot #20008 – Fr. 281 $5 1899 Silver Certificates Uncut Sheet of Four, PMG Superb Gem Unc 67 EPQ.
- Lot #20024 – Fr. 225 $1 1896 Silver Certificates Uncut Sheet of Four, PMG About Uncirculated 55.
- Lot #20083 – Serial Number 1 Jacksonville, IL – $1-$1-$1-$2 Original Fr. 380/Fr. 387 Uncut Sheet The First National Bank Ch. # 511 PMG About Uncirculated 55.