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Memphis Yields Good Food/Stories
By Bill Brandimore, Bank Note Reporter
July 24, 2013

This article was originally printed in Bank Note Reporter.
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I had a great time in Memphis. Satisfying my stomach runs a close second to finding great notes. So I enjoyed dinner the first night at a classic diner named Gus’s.

My guide to this epicurean delight was Scott Lindquist. Myles Fenske, my traveling companion, and I were also in the company of Scott’s charming and petite wife Nang, Rick Stelzer of Sarasota, Fla. (formerly from South Dakota), and another of my North Dakota friends, Glen Jorde. The chicken was great and the white-tile diner walls and homey atmosphere only added to the experience.

One of the my joys at Memphis is the stories that accompany the notes. The highlight of this year’s Memphis experience, however, was tarnished by my poor instincts as a reporter. I had an enjoyable chat about Philippine notes with a reader, who showed me a show stopper “story” note. It was an ordinary Victory issue five-peso note, but on the back was typed a message I will paraphrase: “Got this in 1946 in Manila for a first salute to a new Lieutenant.”

Here my instincts failed me. Not only did I fail to copy down the inscription, I also failed to write down the name of my new Iowa friend who showed me the note. When I told my MPC Fest friends about the note, they asked, “Who has it? Can we get a scan for our Gram newsletter?” So, if you’re reading this, dear friend, please send me a scan so the military collectors can see this great note, and tell me your name again so I can give you fair credit for saving this great note. I really enjoyed it.

I also had a nice chat with reader Jack Jones on why I had 1966 Red Seal $100s priced higher than the 1966As. The simple answer is because I was wrong. I have amended prices for this issue of the price guide.

Thanks for bringing this to my attention. Sometimes, with 40,000 prices, mistakes are made.

Jack and I also discussed grading a bit and enjoyed discovering that both of us felt the 58 grade was our favorite, as you get a great note for a great price.

In general, action at Memphis was fairly good on moderate attendance. The nice thing about attendance at shows like Memphis and CPMX is that all the attendees are currency collectors, and generally not tire kickers.

In my wanderings I talked with a number of dealers who were quite pleased with the show. I talked briefly with Pierre Fricke, who was selling his specialty, Confederate notes, and he was also pleased with the show.

Likewise, the always dapper John Markis told me he thought the customers at Memphis were always the very best, as they knew what they were looking for and they bought what they found.

Robert Horowitz had a good crowd at his table and he showed me a lot of 1928 FRN stars. Unfortunately, there were none that I needed.

Don Olmstead, a very popular Canadian dealer, was also so busy I had a hard time just getting a chance to visit.

In addition to lots of great educational programs, a number of clubs held meetings. I enjoyed the MPC Fest meeting as there was lots of show-and-tell action, including an interesting Mennonite World War II-era savings bond stamp. The Mennonites didn’t buy war bonds, as their religion precluded the support of war in general. To keep their kids from feeling left out at the school sale of war bond stamps, however, they had some bond stamps made up for use by their children. Fred Schwan had heard of this but had not seen any examples. He finally found one recently, and shared it with the Fest group.

We had a brief Fractional Currency Board meeting Saturday and swore in new president, Rob Kravitz, and vice president Benny Bolin. We also decided to renew an old tradition and have a dinner together next year. That’s one of the great things about the Memphis show, there’s always next year to look forward to.

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On another tack, sometimes I learn interesting things paging through some of the old books in my library. It was a rainy day, so I was looking through the 1977 (sixth) edition of The Standard Handbook of Modern United States Paper Money, by Chuck O’Donnell. I wanted to see if I could find anything extra out about the 1935D $1 Silver Certificate star of the D block. I knew it was printed in sheets of 18, as opposed to the normal sheets of 12.

What I found with additional browsing was that the BEP went to sheets of 32 with the introduction of the new high-speed rotary intaglio printing presses custom built by Thomas De La Rue & Co., Ltd., London for the 1957 series. These notes were printed in a dry process. Furthermore, while the new dry-printed 1957 notes were being manufactured, the BEP continued making wet-process notes of the 1935H series.

Apparently the BEP wanted to get its money’s worth out of the old presses, or merely run both wet and dry systems until it had met certain quotas. This explains the puzzlement I felt trying to figure out how we continued with the 1935 series notes while printing 1957 examples.

Thus, as you look for originality of surfaces on all 1935 issues, you need to look for the waviness of wet printing. One dollar 1957 Silver Certificates and Federal Reserve Notes will not display this feature, as they were dry printed.

Getting back to last month’s conversation with Scott Lindquist, Scott told me:

“One of the biggest advantages for the newer, or any collector with computer and Internet skills, is the myriad of Internet searches you can launch to keep you up to date on the market. The auction archives are ever growing on dozens of websites and mostly free for the accessing. Fifteen years ago the dealers had the edge as they were privy to the market pulse and there was very little in the way of any ‘free’ information even an intermediate collector could access. Now the tables are turned and you have as much information at your fingertips as any dealer and most of it is free.

“I once checked my local dealer’s honesty by selling back a coin I purchased as a 12-year-old young numismatist. It was quite disappointing but useful to discover the gem BU I had just paid $50 for a month before was suddenly a slider AU worth $2. The argument that ensued spurred me on to become a dealer. Did he rip me off? I sure thought so, but it gave me the resolve to treat customers as I would wish to be treated. Quite simply, if a dealer sold a note to you as one grade he should be willing to buy it back at the same grade, provided grading standards have not changed.”

I’ll have a little more from Scott next month. Until then, email me with your questions or comments at billbrandimore@charter.net.



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