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HomeAuctionsRenowned Ibrahim Salem Collection of U.S. Banknotes Comes to Heritage Auctions

Renowned Ibrahim Salem Collection of U.S. Banknotes Comes to Heritage Auctions

Notes at May 6-7 Central States event reflect collector’s focus on Type rarity and fancy serial numbers


A rare and coveted $5,000 FRN from one of the world’s top collections of U.S. banknotes could bring $175,000 USD or more when it is sold in Heritage Auctions’ Central States US Currency Signature Auction May 4-7.

Renowned Ibrahim Salem Collection of U.S. Banknotes Comes to Heritage Auctions

This extraordinary Fr. 2221-K $5,000 1934 Federal Reserve Note. PMG Choice Uncirculated 64 is from the Ibrahim Salem Collection of United States Banknotes, a trove of 226 lots that will be among the most intriguing in the sale. His collection will be offered in a Floor Session on Platinum Night that begins at 7:30 (Central time) Friday, May 6, and in a Floor Session that begins at 5 p.m. (Central) Saturday, May 7.

Salem is widely regarded as one of the most dedicated of all banknote collectors, who aggressively sought notes from all countries and regions around the globe; this sale includes an incredible offering of some of the desirable U.S. banknotes in his collection. Salem chased notes with rare serial numbers, and some of the notes offered in this sale feature Serial Number 1, or special serial numbers.

“Ibrahim Salem is one of the world’s most prominent banknote collectors,” Heritage Auctions Vice President of Currency Dustin Johnston said. “He has built some of the finest collections for many different countries. His United States banknotes include many of the country’s rarest and most important types.”

Attrition rates for $5,000 FRNs were much higher than the $10,000s, in part because of the preservation of so many very nice $10,000 notes in the Binion hoard. Some of the nicest $5,000s – including the 1934 note offered here – come from a little run of Dallas notes discovered nearly two decades ago. While they were nearly consecutive by serial number, the range in eye appeal and technical aspects makes this example among the most captivating.

Only 70 examples of the “Rainbow $50” are enumerated in the Track & Price Census, a dozen of which are held in museums or Federal Reserve Banks. Tracks & Price lists just six specimens with higher grades than the Fr. 151 $50 1869 Legal Tender PMG About Uncirculated 55 (estimate: $150,000+) offered here, and Heritage Auctions has offered just one Fr. 151 with a higher third-party grade (and none equal); it was a PCGS 58PPQ and it realized $176,250 in January 2013. This is only the second time that the current note with serial number Y405621 has been offered at auction since the August 1983 ANA. The other appearance occurred in April 2016 at our Central States auction and it realized $223,250. It has been owned by our consignor since then and his name can be added to the illustrious provenance of this note – a history of previous owners that included famed paper money collectors/dealers George Blake, William A. Philpott, and Bob Medlar.

A lightly circulated Fr. 2231-A $10,000 1934 Federal Reserve Note. PMG About Uncirculated 55 (estimate: $120,000+) was largely unknown to the collecting community until shortly before it sold at Heritage Auctions in January 2017 for $141,000. This note likely was kept as part of a bank’s vault cash so that $10,000 of the vault cash could be counted quickly.

An extremely rare Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – $50 Original Fr. 440a The Third National Bank Ch. # 291 PMG Very Fine 25 (estimate: $50,000+) is one of just 28 Original Series $50 Notes from all banks across the country combined when National Gold Bank Notes are omitted. A couple of examples reside in institutional collections. This note, which Heritage Auctions sold in its 2018 FUN auction for $50,400, is one of just two known from Pennsylvania.

An exceptionally scarce Cincinnati, Ohio – $100 Original Fr. 452b The First National Bank Ch. # 24 PMG Choice Fine 15 (estimate: $50,000+) is one of just 34 Original Series hundreds from all states and banks combined, not counting the seven reported $100 National Gold Bank Notes. The offered note is one of the only $100 Original Series examples known from any of the First 100 Charter banks. Recognition of the rarity of these high denomination First Charters has boosted auction results significantly in recent years. PMG lists its illustrious pedigree on its back label; the lineage of this note can be traced to the famed Grinnell holdings, and then to Amon Carter, Jr. and Don C. Kelly.

Other top lots from the Ibrahim Salem Collection include, but are not limited to:

For images and information on all lots in the auction, visit HA.com/3587.

Heritage Auctions
Heritage Auctionshttps://www.ha.com/
Heritage Auction Galleries is one of the world's largest collectibles auctioneers. Besides offering rare and valuable U.S. and world coins and currency, Heritage offers ancient coins, exonumia, antiques, comic books, sports memorabilia, and many other collectibles. The firm is based in Dallas, Texas.

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