By Q. David Bowers – Co-founder, Stack’s Bowers ……
Welcome to our fourth offering from the most extensive, most rarity-laden collection of paper money by design types ever formed or presented at auction.
The first part, sold by us in March 2018, is now an indelible part of numismatic history.
The second part was held as part of the World’s Fair of Money in Philadelphia in August and saw record prices.
The third part made history last October. If the term “once in a lifetime opportunity” is applicable in numismatics, here is the ideal example!
A Little Background
This collection is the result of many years of careful study, connoisseurship, and patience by Joel R. Anderson. Like the majority of those who have formed great numismatic collections, Joel began his interest as a teenager. As was related in the first catalog, by 1963, working with his older brother Charles, Joel was quite versed in the basics. In that year in Washington, DC, long-sealed vaults in the Treasury Building were opened. Revealed were thousands of 1,000-coin bags of Morgan and Peace silver dollars dating back to 1878, including key issues and rarities, many from the Carson City Mint. The Andersons were on hand and purchased a large quantity for face value, as did many other collectors and dealers. By March 1965 the coins had been dispersed, except for some Carson City coins held back for later sales.
Behind the scenes the Andersons continued their involvement, eventually adding a line of coin supplies to their other businesses. The Anderson Companies, based in Florence, Alabama, became important in many fields ranging from entertainment to retailing, including as the main supplier of goods to WalMart during its growth era under Sam Walton. In 2003, Whitman Publishing Company was purchased from St. Martin’s Press. The rest is history. Since that time Whitman has issued over 300 different books on a variety of numismatic subjects. Among many other distinctions, Whitman is the official book supplier to members of the American Numismatic Association.
In the meantime, Joel pursued his varied interests in numismatics, forming a great collection of coins by design types and entering the realm of paper money, a field that has continued to be a specialty for a long time. He has worked with leading dealers in the field, has attended conventions, and has become deeply involved in other ways. In the publishing realm, his firm greatly supports the numismatic hobby by producing many coin reference books and by hosting the popular Whitman Coin & Collectibles Expos, held three times a year and always among the most popular of such events. These have been the venue for three of the present series of paper money sales.
In forming his collection of large-size federal currency Joel had as an objective obtaining the finest-condition example of every major large-size federal paper money design from the first widely circulated issues of 1861 to the 1920s. In addition, within a given type, major changes of certain other features (such as Treasury seals) were collected.
By careful study and by reaching to acquire rarities when they became available, he set many price records at auction, including the first million-dollar note, the famous $1,000 “Grand Watermelon Note“. This important item sold last October for twice that amount—reflective of the quality of the note and the dynamism of the paper money market. In numismatics, yesterday’s records have a way of becoming today’s bargains, and since then other notes have crossed the million-dollar mark. The past is the prelude to the future, as they say.
Each note has been kept with care over the years. PCGS Currency has been tapped to certify each piece, providing a basis that is understandable, not only to seasoned specialists, but to newcomers as well.
Q. David Bowers created much of the narrative and descriptions in the first three catalogs and in the present one, following a framework laid out by Peter Treglia, Brad Ciociola, and other Stack’s Bowers Galleries experts, in consultation with Joel. As in our first three auctions, this sale features diverse notes of various series, from popular and affordable (as many types are easily enough obtained) to incredible rarities. Additional historical and numismatic narrative has been added in several areas and may lend interest.
Part IV begins with Legal Tender Notes, starting with a superb 1869 ” Rainbow” Note $1 or ace, then a $2 or deuce with a remarkable presidential courtesy autograph, and other Legal Tender types and designs including high-denomination $50, $50, $100, $500, and $1,000 “Rainbow” Notes. The $100 is the finest graded, the $500 is the only one in private hands (two lower grade notes are permanently impounded in museums), and the $1,000 is also unique in private hands (the other, in a far lower grade, is in a federal museum). Incredible!
A very rare Compound Interest Treasury Note is followed by a proof on the 1861 Interest-Bearing Note, a type not known in issued form. An issued 1863 Interest Bearing Note is one of just three known, another landmark. Other related notes from the early 1860s are presented, followed by Silver Certificates in uniformly high grades.
As detailed in our August and October sales, Silver Certificate of Deposit Notes, predecessors to the regular Silver Certificate series, are another rare series. The Anderson Collection has had multiples and the present sale has several–unprecedented! Go to a currency convention and in the entire show you are not likely to see even a single such note! Silver Certificates are topped by the only privately-held $1,000 “Marcy Note”. This note set a world’s record in 2013 when it changed hands for $2.6 million. All eyes will be front and center when this, one of the greatest numismatic rarities to be offered in the 21st century, crosses the block on Thursday evening.
Federal Reserve issues come next, then Gold Certificates beginning with the finest known 1863 $20, another treasure. The ultra-rare Rosecrans-Nebeker $1,000 Gold Certificate is one of just two in private hands. Rounding out the sale are National Bank Notes.
We then bid farewell to Part 4 of the currency sale of our generation. You are invited to take part as a bidder or observer. Either way you will see history being made!