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Part II of the Joel R. Anderson Collection of United States Paper Money

Joel R. Anderson Collection of Paper Money Part II

By Q. David BowersCo-founder, Stack’s Bowers …… regarding the upcoming Paper Money sale of the Joel R. Anderson Collection Part II.

Part II of the
Of United States Paper Money


Welcome to the second 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, is now an indelible part of numismatic history.

This collection is the result of many years of careful study, connoisseurship, and patience by Joel R. Anderson. As have the majority of those who have formed great collections of various numismatic specialties, 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 at 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. Dynamics came to the forefront, and since that time Whitman has issued over 300 different books on a variety of numismatic subjects. Among other distinctions, it 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 field 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.

In forming his collection of large-size federal currency Joel Anderson 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. In numismatics, yesterday’s records have a way of becoming today’s bargains over a long period of years, and since then other notes have crossed that barrier.

Each note has been kept with care over the years, and PCGS Currency has been tapped to certify each piece, providing a basis that is understandable not only to long-term specialists, but to newcomers as well.

Q. David Bowers created narrative and descriptions in the first catalog and in the present one, following a framework laid out by Peter Treglia and other experts, in consultation with Joel. As in our March 2018 offering of Part I, this sale features diverse notes of various series, from popular and affordable (as many types are easily enough obtained) to incredible rarities.

Below are five notes CoinWeek has selected to Highlight with descriptions from the Stack’s Bowers catalog:

1880 $1000 “Black Back” Silver Certificate of Deposit – LOT 2041
 Friedberg 346d – PCGS Currency Very Fine 25

A notable highlight from the remarkable Joel R. Anderson Collection, this 1880 $1000 Silver Certificate is one of just two examples of the type residing in private hands. The printed design elements are boldly presented and strong color remains in the brown and blue overprints. The paper remains bright and creamy white, and displays moderate circulation appropriate for the grade. The grading service mentions minor edge repairs on the back of the holder which are limited in scope.

As the highest denomination of the separate class of Silver Certificates of Deposit, the presently-offered note is a true American treasure.

This rarely seen type features the portrait of William Marcy at left. Marcy, a Massachusetts native, served as a U.S. senator, governor of New York, U.S. Secretary of War and U.S. Secretary of State. As Secretary of State he negotiated the Gadsden Purchase securing southern portions of present-day Arizona and New Mexico for the United States. As on the previous $500, a large brown Treasury Seal is found at top center with a brown denomination counter below. This variety displays the printed signatures of Bruce and Wyman stacked to the bottom right of center. A large counter with 1000 overlapping Roman numeral M is at right. The black printed back design is executed in intricate detail with Roman figures and symbols appearing within the letters of CERTIFICATE at center.

Of the 8,000 Bruce-Wyman 1880 $1000s printed just five are known to survive. Three of these notes are held in institutional collections, one at the Smithsonian and the other two at the Federal Reserve Banks of Chicago and San Francisco. No Bruce-Gilfillan signed notes are known to survive. The only other privately held example of this type is the Amon Carter specimen, recorded as Very Fine. That note has never been publicly offered. The great numismatic museum cabinets of America – the National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution, the American Numismatic Society, and the American Numismatic Association – do not have one, while each of these institutions has, for example, an 1804 silver dollar, “the King of American Coins.” What a great addition this note would be if a donor steps forward.

Due to the rarity of the $500 and $1000 denominations of this series, only two 1880 “Black Back” Silver Certificate type sets are possible to assemble. The present note last realized $667,000 when it was auctioned in October of 2005. This is an incredible rarity and an opportunity any serious collector of large size federal paper money should not let pass by.

Estimate: $800,000 – $1,200,000.

Provenance: From Limbert, Kemm & Kolke Illustrations; James M. Wade; James W. Thompson; Hickman & Oakes’ sale of June 1985, lot 1189; Lyn Knight’s sale of December 1998, lot 199; Lyn Knight’s sale of October 2005, lot 2. 

PCGS Population: 1, none finer.


1861 $50 Interest Bearing Note – Lot 2021
Friedberg 202a – PCGS Currency Very Fine 25.

This extremely important offering represents the only issued example of the entire series of 1861 Interest Bearing Notes remaining in private hands. This is one of Joel Anderson’s favorite notes among his many treasures. The series was issued under an Act of Congress passed March 2nd, 1861, which provided for $10 million to be issued in the form of bonds or, if bonds could not be sold, circulating Interest Bearing Notes in denominations of no less than $50 that bore interest at a rate of 6% per annum. With Civil War looming and no market support for bonds, Interest Bearing Notes in denominations of $50, $100, $500 and $1000 were issued. They were produced by the National Bank Note Company using a process, the “cycloidal configurations.” The patent for this was issued to James MacDonough on April 23rd, 1860. National used this distinctive style on many notes of state-chartered banks as well as the series of $50 to $1000 notes produced in early 1861 for the CSA. A total of 46,076 examples of the presently-offered federal $50 denomination were issued.

The $50 notes depict Justice seated with sword and scales at center. At lower left is the portrait of Andrew Jackson, engraved by Charles Burt; ironically the same portrait used on the $1000 Montgomery-issued notes of the Confederate States of America, also printed in early 1861 in New York City by the National Bank Note Company.

To the right is the portrait of Salmon Chase. To the upper left and right are counters with the denomination 50 at the center, and overlapping petals around, the cycloidal configurations (sometimes called a kaleidograph counter in Treasury records), each with “UNITED STATES / FIFTY / TREASURY.” In the lower left signature panel is the signature of Treasury Clerk G. Luff whose handwritten “for the” appears before REGISTER OF THE TREASURY. United States Treasurer Francis E. Spinner, never one to turn down the opportunity to use his grand signature has signed the note in the lower right. The back is printed in blue in the cycloidal configurations format, with “Pay to Bearer” vertically at the center, below which is a space in which the holder of the note could sign. “NATIONAL BANK NOTE COMPANY” and its 1860 cycloidal configurations patent date are printed vertically to each side of the center. Related configurations were used by National on many notes issued by state-chartered banks. About 19.5 cm wide by 10 cm high.

The printed design elements of this extraordinary note are nicely printed in striking detail. The manuscript details are well penned and still bold even almost exactly 157 years after the note was issued. Restorations are mentioned by the grading service on the back of the holder. Upon close inspection they can be found primarily at the edges and along the bottom portion of the fold in the center of the note. Overall, all of the important details of the note are fully legible and the note is very appealing for the assigned grade. Most importantly the note is free of any cancellations.

This is the only collectible issued note in existence for the entire 1861 issuance of Interest Bearing Notes. One other example of the $50 denomination, a redeemed and cancelled note, resides in the Bureau of Public Debt in Washington D.C. The only other notes known for this series are found in Proof or Specimen form. In three previous auction appearances this note has traded hands for $10,000 (August 1970 Rarcoa sale), $605,000 (May 2001 CAA sale) and $368,000 (February 2005 Heritage Sale). This offering represents a great opportunity to obtain a note for which no equal is available.

Interest Bearing Notes of 1861

Bills of this authorization and denomination bore interest at the rate of 6% per annum for two years, reflecting that the credit of the Union stood higher than that of the newly formed Confederacy, which paid 8% on its notes. At the time of issue the circulating notes were sold at a discount from face value to reflect the interest to be earned for two years. At the end of this period, nearly all were redeemed. Most holders of these notes were banks; they did not circulate in general commerce. As can be said for the Montgomery Notes, printed in New York by the National Bank Note Company and issued in precisely the same denominations, the Interest Bearing federal notes can also be considered bonds. Indeed, they were widely advertised as such by Jay Cooke & Co.

Estimate: $300,000 – $500,000.

Provenance: From Rarcoa’s sale of August 1970, lot 1709; Currency Auctions of America’s sale of May 2001; Heritage Auctions’ sale of February 2005, lot 16753.

PCGS Population: 1, none finer.


Serial Number 7 1891 $50 Treasury Note – Lot 2047
Friedberg 376PCGS Currency Gem New 65 PPQ

This 1891 $50 Treasury Note is the single finest graded example of this rare one-year design type. It is the Plate C note from the second sheet of notes printed and displays the ultra low serial number B7 followed by a decorative star in bold red in the serial number panels. A profile portrait of William Henry Seward is seen at center with a large 50 counter in an ornamental panel at the left end of the note. A red scalloped Treasury Seal is at right and the engraved signatures of Rosecrans and Nebeker are at the lower left and right. The back design is open in keeping with the theme for all of the 1891 Treasury Notes. Denominational counters are found in the corners.

This low serial number note was almost certainly held from circulation as a souvenir by a VIP. The note is well centered with ample margins. The intricate design is sharply printed in dark inks. Original plate and overprint embossing are clearly evident from the verso. This is the only example of the type to achieve a Gem grade. It was originally graded as Gem Uncirculated 65 EPQ by PMG and now resides in an equivalent PCGS Gem New 65 PPQ holder.

Of the 22 examples, six are in government collections and another permanently resides in the ANA museum, leaving 15 pieces available to collectors. The print run for this design was 80,000 examples of which only 23,500 were distributed. Treasury records reported only $1,250 worth (25 notes) are outstanding.

No 1890 $50 Treasury Notes were ever printed, thus the 1891 notes are a singular design type found in only one signature and seal combination. This type has always been considered a key to the large size federal type series and there have never been enough available to satisfy collector demand.

About William Seward

The portrait vignette of William Seward at center is quite dramatic as it displays him in full profile. Seward, prominent in Upstate New York politics and in early 1860 a hopeful for the Republican presidential denomination, is well known for his achievements as secretary of state beginning in 1861. Not all of his actions were meritorious, such as the imprisonment of Northern “Copperheads” (suspected Southern sympathizers) without giving them a chance to explain or appeal.

In 1867 he negotiated the deal to purchase the Alaska Territory from Russia, after which the transaction was satirized as Seward’s Folly. He responded to those who questioned the purchase by saying, “It will take people a generation to find out.” Seward also was an intended target in a separate assassination attempt which was directly related to Abraham Lincoln’s murder on April 14, 1865. Seward survived after being stabbed several times. He ultimately led a long life for the time, passing away at the age of 71 in 1872 with his legacy being immortalized in various places including on this rare banknote.

Estimate: $400,000 – $500,000.

Provenance: From Hessler Illustration; Lyn Knight’s sale of August 1998, lot 1312; Jay Parrino Fixed Price List of February 2002; Lyn Knight’s sale of June 2007, lot 79.

PCGS Population: 1, none finer.


Incredible Serial Number 1 “Technicolor” $20 Gold Certificate – Lot 2051
Friedberg 1179PCGS Currency Gem New 65 PPQ.

This is an incredible serial number 1 1905 $20 “Technicolor” Gold Certificate with a provenance that traces all the way back to the White House. It has a unique history with the Theodore Roosevelt connection, combined with incredible rarity as the serial number 1 note. Beyond this, the numismatic fame of the “Technicolor” Note is everlasting.

It is the Fr. 1179 Lyons-Roberts signed variety (the first of two signature combinations for the type), and the very first $20 “Technicolor” printed and issued. These Series of 1905 Gold Certificates have a portrait of George Washington, engraved by Alfred Sealey, and a bright red scalloped Treasury Seal and serial numbers. The field is gold in color and includes a $20 emblem at left. The vibrant tints and overprint featured on this type explain the “Technicolor” nickname, by which these notes are so well known. The back displays the Heraldic Eagle of the Great Seal of the United States at the center and has ornately engraved borders. The entire back design, engraved by Robert Ponickau, is executed in orange-gold.

This note first appeared in Barney Bluestone’s March 1945 offering of the Albert A. Grinnell Collection, where it was partially described as: “one of the most attractive notes ever issued by our government. The beautiful lathe work comprising the frame design surrounds the rich yellow field in the center of which appears the dignified portrait of Washington. Above center is ’20’ in yellow and below the portrait, the words ‘In Gold Coin’ also printed in rich yellow. The color contrast effects present a picture comparable to a magnificent painting and must be seen to be fully appreciated. This colorful beauty is an absolutely perfect, Crisp, Unc.”

Bluestone, based in Syracuse, New York, entered the auction business in the 1930s and handled many rarities. His catalogs are so elusive today that the items he handled have never been carefully studied.

Grinnell was a partner in the Grinnell Brothers chain of music stores based in Detroit, each with a showroom of pianos, musical instruments, sheet music, phonographs, radios and other items. Albert was alone in his study and pursuit of federal paper money, without much if any studied competition (Col. E.H.R. Green hoarded paper but did not study it).

A worth successor to Grinnell’s passion was Amon Carter, Sr., followed by his son, Amon Jr.

The “Technicolor” nickname was applied years later with it being the name of a film process developed in the 1930s.

Indeed few types in American paper money rival this in terms of aesthetic appeal. The presently offered piece offers an idyllic level of preservation with excellent centering and abundant margins. The colors are vibrant, as should be expected from the first note to roll off of the press. The all important serial number 1s are boldly inked and seen with punch through embossing. This note is a true Gem in every sense of the word, a numismatic treasure, a bona fide trophy note that will be a centerpiece in any collection it enters.

Research tells us that this very note was the presentation piece given to President Theodore Roosevelt by then Secretary of the Treasury Leslie Mortimer Shaw. While it had long been rumored that this note had been part of Roosevelt’s personal holdings, that fact can be confirmed by a handwritten note which accompanied the sale of the serial number 3 example in 2005. The note reads “Mr. Shaw, Secy. of Treasury during Theodore Roosevelt’s administration, gave to the president, No. 1 of this series, No. 2 to himself & No. 3 to Gilbert G. Thorne, of $20 gold notes issued at that time.”

President Roosevelt’s interest in America’s circulating currency is well documented. He worked closely with sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens on redesigns of the country’s $10 and $20 gold coins which were minted from 1907 to 1933. It is no stretch to think Roosevelt may have had some influence on the creation of this stunning $20 Gold Certificate. The Roosevelt connection has gone unmentioned in all previous auction appearances of this note that we can trace.

If there is one “Trophy Note” that will be the centerpiece of the greatest private or museum collection of paper money, this is it!

Estimate: $300,000 – $500,000.

Provenance: From Barney Bluestone’s sale of the Albert A. Grinnell Collection, March 1945, lot 751; William Donlon Numismatist Ad of October 1964; Currency Auctions of America’s sale of May 2001, lot 1373; Heritage Auctions’ sale of February 2005, lot 16797.

PCGS Population: 1, none finer.


Unique Fr. 212f 1865 $500 Interest Bearing Note – LOT 2027
Friedberg 212f – PCGS Currency Very Fine 25.

There were 175,682 $500 Interest Bearing Notes printed for the June 15, 1865 issue, yet today just this one example remains. It is unique as a design type. A portrait of Alexander Hamilton is at center while a large mortar is in an oval frame at the lower left and George Washington is portrayed within an oval frame at the lower right. Large green Roman numeral Ds flank Hamilton’s portrait and a large green security panel is at bottom center. These notes bore interest at a rate of ten cents per day or 7.3% per annum and were payable semi-annually. The printed signatures of Colby and Spinner are found in the signature spaces. A red spiked Treasury Seal is at right while blue printed serial numbers are to the lower left and upper right.

This note appears to have an untold story in its history as it seems to have originally been issued and redeemed as serial number 78116. Somehow the note escaped the Treasury after redemption and the last digit of the serial number was removed in an attempt to redeem the note again. Furthermore, the name of the payee was removed from the face as well. It appears the Treasury Department caught on to the plot and added the correct serial number in handwritten ink below the right serial number. The note was also punch cancelled multiple times in order to permanently cancel it. An inked inscription on the back of the note states “Writing has evidently been removed from the payee mark on this note SMC June 26/68.” It is likely that the inscription comes from National Currency Bureau head Spencer Clark. One coupon is still attached at the right edge, its serial number also altered. A portion of the bottom left margin of the note is absent and a number of small pinholes can be seen when the note is candled. The grading service makes mention of restored splits on the back of the holder. Any restorations have been deftly executed.

Not only is this note unique, it has an interesting story to go with it. Perhaps in the National Archives there is some information about its redemption and re-redemption. We are not aware of any other note with a similar scenario.

This note was last offered publicly in a February 2005 auction where it realized $115,000. We expect that realization to be eclipsed when the final bid is called for this lot.

Estimate: $200,000 – $300,000.

Provenance: From Stack’s sale of March 1981, lot 578; Lyn Knight’s sale of December 1998, lot 115; Heritage Auctions’ sale of February 2005, lot 16765. 

PCGS Population: 1; none finer.

Stack's Bowers
Stack's Bowershttps://stacksbowers.com/
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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