As I have written in the first three Greensheet issues of this year, the collectible currency market is enjoying tremendous performance and price appreciation. While this is obviously very positive for sellers, most dealers report a severe shortage of supply. This difficulty of sourcing inventory or select pieces for customer want lists shows how scarce certain areas of U.S. currency actually are. There has been an expansion of the buyer base and this expansion has absorbed a significant amount of material in a relatively short period of time. Long ago, a major collection or accumulation would be bought and dispersed by a dealer or group of dealers partnering up. Now, virtually all major collections go to public auction, so dealers are forced to compete with collectors to acquire material, making auction prices realized a blend of wholesale and retail levels. Collectors who build meaningful holdings are being rewarded by this process. A great example of how challenging it is to predict the full market value of a unique collection in today’s market is the results of the Zeitmann Brothers Collection.
This collection was sold by Ira & Larry Goldberg Auctioneers on
February 14th as part of their Pre-Long Beach Sale. The collection was the
first 82 lots of the sale and featured exclusively Small Size notes
featuring fancy serial numbers. While an esoteric subject, fancy serial
numbers on currency have been sought by collectors for many years. However,
there is always the question of how much demand there actually is and what
lengths collectors are willing to go to buy such notes. Needless to say the
Zeitmann Collection exceeded all expectations. For the 82 lots, the
Goldberg low estimate was $322,350 and the high estimate was $581,500. The
final total prices realized came in at $649,704, 12% higher than the high
estimate. All lots sold and none of the lots sold for below low estimate.
The first lot I will highlight is the Zeitmann Series 1928 $1 Silver Certificate (Fr.-1600) with a solid serial number of F88888888A, certified CU63 PPQ by PMG. Any “eight-eights” notes are extremely popular and bring premiums over solid serials of lower numbers, partially due the significance of the number eight in Asian cultures. This note, which was once in the collection of John Whitney Walter, sold for a record $22,200. The next highlight is lot 27, a Series 1969D $1 Federal Reserve Note (Fr.-1907A) that features the serial number A99999999A. As stated by the auction catalog, solid nine notes among Small Size FRN are very rare despite the huge numbers that have been printed since 1963. There are only 14 known at present. This example is graded CU64 PPQ by PCGS Currency and sold for a stunning $40,200. Two other solid nine serial numbered notes were part of the Zeitmann Collection, and they achieved similar outstanding prices. Lot 38 was a rollover pair of $5 FRNs from Series 1950A: the first note with a F99999999A serial and the second with a F00000001B serial (both Fr.-1962F) which brought an even $60,000. Lot 56 comprised of a pair of $20 FRNs from Series 1974, that similar to lot 38, featured notes with serial numbers of D99999999B and D00000001C. This pair sold for $63,000. There were a handful of Large Size notes in the Zeitmann Collection, and a featured lot was a nine-note set of Series 1917 $1 Legal Tenders with serial numbers of M11A to M99A with all the matching double digits in between. These 1917 Legal Tenders have been very popular in the market in general, and this special set brought $22,200. In all the current market is a perfect environment in which to sell an outstanding collection such as this.
Author: Patrick Ian Perez