Stack’s Bowers Bass Collection Auction Sets Record for Set of Bank Notes

The Harry W. Bass, Jr. Collection of Educational bank notes and proposed issues of this series was sold in Chicago as part of the official auction for the American Numismatic Association. Included in the sale were uncut sheets beginning with serial #1 of the $1, $2, and $5 of this popular series.

The set sold for a record $1.265 million to currency expert Don Kagin. See the sale of these historic notes as well as hear comments from the buyer and the sellers.

Stack’s Bowers Bass Collection Auction Sets Record for Set of Bank Notes



Stack’s Bowers Bass Collection Auction Sets Record for Set of Bank Notes

Copyright © August, 2011

American Numismatic Association – World’s Fair of Money
August 15-20 2011
Chicago, Illinois

According to Chris Napolitano, president of Stack’s Bowers Galleries, “Our ANA Auction represents a true numismatic landmark, shattering records in a wide array of categories, and continues to solidify Stack’s Bowers as one of the pre-eminent numismatic auctioneers in the coin industry.” The Stack’s Bowers Galleries team of professionals, which is unsurpassed in the numismatic industry, is dedicated to bringing to market the best and most desirable coins and currency offered anywhere. “Truly great coins and currency will always be in demand,” continued Napolitano, “and will continue to bring record prices when they cross the auction block.”

“The most important U.S. paper money lot ever offered!”

At this year’s World’s Fair of Money Stack’s Bowers Galleries presented the Harry W. Bass Jr. currency holdings showcasing the development of the popular “Educational Notes,” a long time favorite among collectors.

Harry was best known for his collection of rare and unique early gold coins from 1795-1834 by date, denomination and die variety. Along the way he also assembled important holdings of patterns, paper money, and more, ranking him as one of the most important collectors and scholars numismatics has ever known.

The Bass offering consists of several dozen essays, proofs and other unissued denominations, all of extreme rarity and some even unique. This series illustrates the development of the beautifully designed “Educational Notes” and culminates in an intricately bound set of three uncut sheets—with serially numbered notes 1, 2, 3, and 4 of the 1896 $1, $2 and $5 notes.

Included are documents pedigreeing the set back to the time of issue. These important notes had been on display in the Harry W. Bass Jr. multimedia gallery at the ANA headquarters in Colorado Springs for several years.

Q. David Bowers, chairman emeritus and author of The Whitman Encyclopedia of United States Paper Money, commented: “In my opinion this lot is the most important lot ever offered at auction in the entire history of collecting American paper money!”

Indeed, the $1, $2 and $5 Silver Certificates of 1896 are generally recognized as the apex of artistry in United States currency. The opportunity to acquire the first sheets printed has never before occurred at auction, and may never again. “This set will automatically rank the buyer at the forefront of American paper money collectors,” Bowers continued. “Indeed, these sheets would make a fantastic museum display all by themselves.”

Lot #5055. Large Size. 1896. Silver Certificates. Bound Presentation Set of the First Educational Uncut Sheets. $1, $2, and $5. Fr-224, 247, and 268. PMG Photo Proof Certificates Realized $1.265,000

“But that is not all,” commented Chris Napolitano, president of Stack’s Bowers Galleries. “Hundreds of other important notes were offered, including Gold Certificates, Treasury or Coin Notes, Legal Tender Notes, Federal Reserve Notes, and others, large and small. National Bank Notes were a prime attraction as well, including a marvelous selection of $1 ‘aces,’ rare locations, a serial No. 1 $5 National Gold Bank of D.O. Mills & Co. note, and other highlights, plus a large selection of popular and affordable issues—literally something for everyone.”

Stacks produced a special separate catalog for the Harry W. Bass Jr. Collection Part V under the watchful eye of Q. David Bowers and Stacks Bowers expert team, in addition to the spectacularly illustrated and authoritative regular catalog of important notes from all series. Certainly this event and sale will be long remembered in the world of currency collecting. Christine Karstedt, vice president stated “The first four parts of the Bass Collection, sold by the firm beginning in 1999, have realized over $37 million, ranking the cabinet as one of the most valuable ever to cross the block.”

“We are thrilled to add our PMG expertise to the presentation of one of the most significant currency holdings of our time. Indeed, the certification experience will be always remembered by our staff. The Harry W. Bass Jr. Educational Series is unique and absolutely definitive—the first sheets printed of the three denominations plus essays and proofs, an incredible display the likes which has no equal in the field of American paper money. It has never been equaled by any auction presentation in numismatic history” stated Steve Eichenbaum, CEO of Paper Money Guaranty.

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