MARKET REMAINS STRONG
HERITAGE CSNS SIGNATURE SALE APPROACHES
... across the market
By Kevin Foley
The most significant upcoming rare currency auction will be held as an official part of the Central States Numismatic Society’s 74th Anniversary Convention, April 24-27 at the Schaumburg, IL Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center. Continuing to reflect the strengthening of the market for the scarcest and rarest collectable paper money, Heritage will include a Platinum Night session among the no less than five separate sessions of currency offerings at CSNS. Their seven session coin Signature Sale will feature a Platinum Night presentation that will include the Walton specimen 1913 Liberty Head Nickel. Heritage first included a paper money Platinum Night session – a long standing feature of their coin sales – in their January, 2013 Florida United Numismatists auction. The Schaumburg edition will include a $1,000 1890 Treasury Note, known as the “Grand Watermelon”, as well as a $1,000 1891 Treasury Note. The fact that the company is continuing that promotional format indicates a high degree of confidence on the part of management that this marketplace segment is strengthening.
April will also feature a significant world and ancient auction offering in Rosemont, IL at the Chicago International Coin Fair conducted by Heritage 4/18-4/29, making northern Illinois the focus of considerable numismatic interest over the last two weeks of the month. We’ll comment on the Heritage CSNS results next month.
The mid-March Whitman Coin and Collectibles Baltimore Expo was the site of an important Stack’s Bowers auction presentation that included a roughly 1,000 lot offering of rare currency. Sell-through rates for the various specialty areas represented were: Colonial and Continental, 96%; Obsolete, 99%; Small Size Type, 78%; Errors, 100%; Large Size Type, 94% and Nationals, 99%. The strong sell-through rate for Nationals is especially noteworthy, given the fact that the high degree of geographic specialization in that field typically results in a comparatively small population of Bidders contending over any given lot, unlike the other collecting areas, where a broader marketplace exists.
An important Obsolete offering in Baltimore saw strong results for rarities and color Proof Notes. A $1,000 color Proof from Philadelphia’s Bank of North America, for example, sold for $29,375, just shy of double the low end of its estimate. Topping the low end of its estimate by 50%+ was a Bank of Rhode Island color Proof $100. The majority of the items in the Baltimore Obsolete offering by Stack’s Bowers sold within the four figure range.
LARGE SIZE TYPE NOTES
The small but high quality offering of Large Size Type by Stack’s Bowers in Baltimore demonstrated the value of a few extra points in an increasingly certified grade conscious marketplace. A Fr. 250 $2 1899 Silver Certificate bearing Serial B11 and certified as PCGS 67PPQ sold for $9,400, while a scarcer Fr. 254 of the same design type bearing Serial H14 and enhanced by the scarce Napier-Thompson signature combination was able to generate only $5,288 based on its less impressive grade applied by PMG of 64EPQ. A $5 1896 Fr. 268 Silver Certificate “Educational Note” certified as PCGS 67PPQ was estimated at $35,000-$45,000, but sold for $49,938. With Large Type certified as “67” or higher, whatever uncertainty exists as to an ultimate realization is generally on the high rather than low side.
SMALL SIZE TYPE NOTES
While not enjoying as high a sell-through rate as other portions of the Baltimore auction, the Small Size Type section included an unusually broad offering of low and fancy serial numbers, especially Serial Number One items. One of the strongest performers was a Fr. 1700 1933 $10 Silver Certificate with Serial A00000111A. Certified as PCGS 64PPQ, it was estimated at $20,000-$25,000 and just topped the high end of its estimate, selling for $25,850. Selling for a shade below the low end of its estimate, but nonetheless demonstrating that considerable resources are available to be deployed in this collecting area, was a Fr. 2221-B 1934 $5,000 FRN bearing Serial B00000003A, selling for $70,500. This section included a considerable run of Serial Number One Small Size. While most sold
in the range of $4,000-$5,500+, there were also a few breakout results. A Fr. 2008-H 1934C $10 FRN in PCGS 58PPQ sold for $9,400, while a Fr. 2127-BH 2001 $50 FRN went for $11,163. Overall, the results in the extensive selection of low and fancy serials tended to confirm that continuing strength and buyer interest is a firmly established pattern here.
Fractional Currency remains a quality and scarcity conscious marketplace. The overall supply of more pedestrian material here continues to outstrip demand, with the result that achieving a satisfactory percentage of theoretical value can be a daunting task for ordinary items, if they can be sold at all. Especially well centered items sell strongly, particularly if that attribute is accompanied by scarcity of either the underlying overall design type or the particular Friedberg number within a Type.
NATIONAL BANK NOTES
An interesting offering in Baltimore was five lots of partial packs of what is one of the Florida 1929 Series Type Notes, $20 Type II Notes issued by the American NB of Pensacola. Containing 46-50 Notes each and described as basically the same, the five packs sold for $282, $228, $233, $208 and $345 per Note respectively, demonstrating that buyers tend to see things through different eyes and often apply their own varying subjective criteria in evaluating potential purchases. One of the rarities in this section was a $100 1875 issued by the National Lafayette Bank of Cincinnati, graded “Extremely Fine 45 Apparent. Paper Toned. Overprint Faded. Repaired Splits”. Despite its considerable infirmities and every indication that it had at one time been considerably inferior in overall appearance, it handily topped its $15,000-$25,000 estimate, selling for $32,900. Buyers of rarities tend to be far more accepting of artificial Note enhancement and frank disclosure of restorative intervention to approve appearances than are buyers of items where value depends primarily on condition rather than scarcity.
As noted above, segments of the Obsolete market, especially colored Proofs, display strong demand. Collectable stocks and bonds, with the exception of issues of the federal government, remain quite weak.
Reprinted from the No. 4 APRIL 2013 issue of the Currency Dealer Newsletter
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reproduced without express permission from CDN publications. ©2013 CDN Inc.