By Christopher Dahncke – Currency Auction Associate, Stack’s Bowers Galleries ……
Superb Gem 1882 $20 Gold Certificate
One impressive note from the sale is lot 20343, a Fr. 1178 1882 $20 Gold Certificate graded by PCGS Banknote as Superb Gem Uncirculated 68 PPQ.
This 1882 $20 Gold Certificate, an incredible condition rarity, displays nearly perfect centering with boardwalk margins framing its grandiose design. The sharply printed inks contrast starkly against the creamy white paper. The orange printed back, for which this series is so well known, is vivid and striking. This design ranks #95 in 100 Greatest American Currency Notes by Q. David Bowers and David M. Sundman.
The face depicts the recently martyred (1881) President James Garfield, while the back shows an eagle clutching a lightning bolt, with two cable-laying ships in the distance, titled Ocean Telegraph, and engraved by George D. Baldwin. The inscription “GOLD COIN” is in the “shingle”-style lettering layout. Gold coins, absent from commerce since the waning days of December 1861, achieved parity with Legal Tender and other paper on December 17, 1878. Accordingly, the Series of 1882 Gold Certificates could be exchanged at par.
The orange-gold color on the notes tended to fade. Today, notes with bright backs are worth more than those with faded color, regardless of the grade. The orange back design remains exceptionally attractive on this example This is an exceedingly rare class of currency, and surviving examples are greatly treasured. PMG’s population report lists two graded at the Superb Gem 67 EPQ level, with none graded finer. PCGS Banknote reports just one at this grade level, with none graded finer.
Exceedingly Rare La Grange, GA $5 Brown Back
Stack’s Bowers is offering two special collections this sale: one is of serial number errors from the “Mismacthed Serial Number Collection”, and the other is consecutive cut sheets from the “This Buck Stopped Here Collection”. We will also be offering notable sections featuring Large Size notes and Nationals.
Highlighting the latter section is this La Grange, Georgia $5 1882 Brown Back from the First National Bank (Charter 3093) in PCGS Banknote Choice Very Fine 35 Details.
This note should turn quite a few heads when it crosses the auction block. Two national banks issued currency in La Grange: The La Grange NB (Charter 7762), which offers 26 Large Size notes to collectors, and the First National Bank (Charter 3093), with just two notes available. No auction results are listed in Track & Price, nor are any notes listed in their census. The National Bank Note Census records a single note in their census, which is just 12 digits away from this serial number. No auction records are listed in the National Bank Note Census either, making this the first reported public offering of this Georgia charter.
The First National Bank of La Grange was chartered on December 20, 1883, and issued $5 Brown Backs only. Just 1,829 sheets were issued. The Bank would issue $36,580 before being liquidated on December 1, 1891. Just $245 was reported outstanding in 1910. Given the number of notes issued, and its serial number towards the end of the reported number range, it can be assumed that this note was saved by a sentimental bank employee, most likely around the time of liquidation.
The note is quite appealing; dark-penned bank officers’ signatures remain fully legible while the paper is bright. The design on the reverse, from which the series takes its name, offers exceptional appeal. This note is sure to be hotly contested by National collectors, and we would not be surprised if our high estimate is met or exceeded. PCGS Banknote comments “Minor Restorations.”
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We are currently taking consignments for our November Showcase Auction as well as our monthly auctions. To consign your U.S. paper money and world paper money to a future sale, contact a consignment specialist at 800-458-4646 or visit StacksBowers.com. For more information on viewing lots or for assistance in registering to bid, email your inquiry to [email protected].