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World Notes Lead Recent Sale Results
By Bill Brandimore, Bank Note Reporter
July 23, 2013

This article was originally printed in Bank Note Reporter.
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Things were interesting at the International Paper Money Show at Memphis. Various dealers I spoke with were pleased with the event and the level of activity. Prices for large-size type seem stronger while prices for small-size were a bit mixed. Federal Reserve Notes seemed up and down. Some pretty nice notes went below expectations. It also seems that raw notes are much less attractive than they used to be. Any notes with apparent or net grade tags sold well below their otherwise stated grade. I would say prices for these were perhaps one-third less than grades without those negative comments. Notes that were identified as repaired were discounted even more heavily. Colonial net and apparent graded notes are given less of a discount as these might have been repaired back in the day and were not meant to deceive, but just to hold notes together so they could be spent.

World currency continues to enthrall bidders and the presence of dealers from around the world at Memphis underscored that interest. As usual, Queen Elizabeth II, British and French colonial in particular and South American notes seemed strongest. Dealer Keith Bauman said he sold almost no U.S. notes but was overwhelmed at times by world buyers. Canadian dealer Don Olmstead also seemed extremely busy at his table.

The Fractional portion of the Lyn Knight auction seemed lackluster, with a really nice Tete-Beche 25-cent 5th Issue proof pair failing to sell and an exquisite 50-cent Specimen Type 2 Spinner back bringing only about $2,900 on a $4,000 to $6,000 estimate, which seemed appropriate to me.

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I got an email from one reader who felt small-size was down as so many lots in session 5 of the Internet auction failed to sell. Better small-size were doing all right with a Gem 66 $1 1928E Silver Certificate fetching $3,730 with buyer’s premium and a 1928 $1 Red Seal in VG 10 realized $2,250 during session 2 of the live auction.

In large-size a beautiful Educational $1 sheet, serial numbers 5, 6, 7 and 8, was hammered down at $46,000, even with a 53 apparent grade. A $2 Windom Silver Certificate, KL126/F245, realized $20,750. Indian Chiefs and Buffaloes were a bit stronger and $500 and $1,000 notes continued a bit flat except for scarce districts.

A Triple signature $20 Silver Certificate, KL572/F308, in raw fine condition sold for $24,100, while a $100 Monroe Silver Certificate, KL842/F344, in Very Fine 35 PPQ sold for $57,500, a bit more than its $54,625 price in June of 2007.

I continue to hold small-size notes in high esteem. I think small-size type notes are worth looking into. World War II issues in particular are a lot of fun. The brown and yellow seal colors set them apart and they are historic. Block sets offer an interesting challenge, and for the most part, these notes remain affordable. Federal Reserve Notes offer a real challenge when working on early district sets, especially in the star area.

Large-size type will always remain favorites. Collect them by broad type or look into signature combinations. I see lots of interest in Black Eagle 1899 Silver Certificates, with 13 varieties to choose from. Some numbers are better than others, so there are cherry-picking opportunities in this issue.

As always, email me with your questions and comments at

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