The auction, being held on a weekday with a rare 1 p.m. start, will also feature an important single-owner postcard collection that could serve as an instant online business or form the basis of a dealer’s show stock; an outstanding single-owner stamp collection from Germany; and a complete set of Morgan silver dollars (to be sold as one lot), all high-grade including rare proofs.
But the undisputed highlight of the auction will be the $1,000 National Bank Note, which carries a pre-sale estimate of $80,000-$120,000. The Fr. 465 original series face, printed on India paper and mounted on card stock, is dated March 1st, 1864, and is hole-punch canceled. The image, a Chittenden Spinner from the Forth National Bank of the City of New York, is virtually flawless.
Writing in the esteemed trade publication Bank Note Reporter, Peter Huntoon said of the note, “Needless to say, this is a stellar discovery of the first magnitude. Proofs of otherwise non-collectible type notes have come into their own in recent years as sophisticated, high-power collectors have come to realize that issued notes of certain types like this are unobtainable.”
At the Heritage Florida United Numismatics auction event held in January, a $1,000 series of an 1891 Silver Certificate uniface face proof sold for $82,250 (including the buyer’s premium). But a few months later, at the April Central States show (in an auction also hosted by Heritage) the only known copy of an 1891 $1,000 note, once owned by Amon Carter, sold for $2.585 million.
So, while grading the note in the upcoming auction was easy (PCGS gave it a tip-top Choice New 63 grade), estimating it was a bit more difficult. “We have assigned what we believe to be a very modest estimate for this extremely rare proof,” said Philip Weiss of Philip Weiss Auctions. “It’ll probably end up bringing somewhere between the two selling prices at those recent sales.”
It is known that one other example of the original series $1,000 proof exists, because it is clearly pictured on page 13 of the second edition of United States Paper Money, Old Series, 1861-1923 (published by Limpert’s in 1955). In that proof, however, the lower right corner is badly eroded and there’s a sizable hole between the Capitol dome and the right border. The Weiss note, by contrast, is perfect.
But where is that other specimen? Nobody knows. Limpert’s recorded it (without any attribution, by the way), but its whereabouts has been lost to time. A rumor that the note had found its way into the Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution proved to be false. Even they don’t own an example. That leaves the note in the Weiss sale all alone, which could spark a fierce bidding war.
It’s worth pointing out that there is another piece of fractional currency in the upcoming auction (albeit not as rare). It’s a fourth issue 25-cent U.S. face proof fractional, showing a portrait bust of George Washington. It is estimated to sell for $8,000-$12,000. Between the two proofs and the complete set of Morgan dollars, collectors of coins and currency will have much to bid on.
“I don’t like to gloat, but once again we – not a traditional stamp and coin auction house – scooped the big boys who I know would have loved to secure these items,” Mr. Weiss said. “We’ve set multiple records in these categories in the past, with inverts for example, but now, with the $1,000 note, we have what could be the highlight finds of paper currency in decades.”
The single-owner postcard collection (to be offered “en bloc” as one unit), contains thousands of cards. It is especially strong with complete sets from renowned British publisher Raphael Tuck. Also in the vast collection are artist-signed cards, expositions and fairs cards, Halloween cards and more. “This is absolutely the finest postcard collection we’ve ever offered,” Mr. Weiss said.
Stamps in the auction will pique the interest of philatelists, both seasoned and novice. The many estate collections and better country collections will feature Canadian high-value Jubilee, RW#4, RW#10, RW#11, plate blocks of six, early covers, U.S.#6 on cover with certificate, Zeppelin covers and more. Coins will include antique coins, gold and silver coins, proof sets and more.
For those buyers unable to attend the auction in person, internet bidding will be facilitated by Proxibid.com. Phone and absentee bids will also be accepted. Previews will be held on Monday, May 26, from noon to 5 p.m.; Tuesday and Wednesday, May 27-28, from noon to 8 p.m.; and Thursday, May 29, the date of sale, from 10:30 a.m. until the first gavel falls at 1:30 p.m. (EDT).
Philip Weiss Auctions is always accepting quality consignments for future auctions. To consign a single item, an estate or a collection, you may call them at (516) 594-0731; or, you can send an e-mail to Philip Weiss at Phil@WeissAuctions.com. For more information about Philip Weiss Auctions and the upcoming Thursday, May 29th auction, log on to www.WeissAuctions.com.