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Category: Banknotes

Anyone have Change for $1 Million Dollars ?

Two Germans were caught in an Austria mountain town with 500 million dollars in counterfeit banknotes. It’s one of the biggest hauls of counterfeit dollars in Europe. But the culprits say they thought the 1 million dollar bills were real. Below is the article published in DER SPIEGEL Online.


He dreamed of living the life of a millionaire — with a villa in the woods and an Aston Martin V12, preferably in Quantum Silver, in the garage. Once a moderately successful provincial attorney, he had decided that he was no longer willing to simply look on while others made their fortunes with major business deals.

But his dreams of that villa, that Aston Martin and all the other trappings of wealth have vanished into thin air. Ralf Hölzen, 46, a tall, slender man with graying hair is sitting in a café frequented by retirees in the town of Goch in western Germany. On his plates sits a slice of Black Forest cake and he is removing the canned cream from atop his coffee. Once again Hölzen is living with his parents, only two blocks from the café.

At the end of January, Hölzen will face trial in a district court in Feldkirch, in Austria’s Vorarlberg region. Austrian prosecutors have filed charges against him and his accomplice, Dietmar B., 52, for attempted fraud and possession of counterfeit banknotes. (more…)

Stack’s January 26th – 27th Americana Sale to Feature Paper Money

stacks_vermont_half_crownOn Tuesday, January 26, all eyes in the paper money world will be focused on the first day of Stack’s New York Americana Sale. Held at the firm’s auction gallery at 110 West 57th Street, the sale (which continues with coins, tokens, and medals, through Wednesday), will commence with over 500 lots of paper.

Obsolete notes come to the fore, highlighted by major rarities, extensive proof notes, Haxby SENC and unlisted issues, and more. In addition there will be many popular and highly affordable lots—something for everyone in the field of paper money.

Among these are some highly interesting and very rare Hawaiian issues including a set of the Lahainaluna Seminary Money, and notes of New York, Maryland, and Massachusetts that include many items off the market for a long time.

Early American paper money includes Continental Currency as well as issues of the various colonies and states. Of all of the colonial issues, none is more prized than that of Vermont, which actually was not a state until 1791. A newly discovered Vermont half a crown will cause the temperature to rise in the auction room as it crosses the block. Any Vermont paper money is extremely rare, and this particular note is especially so. Lot 2559 Vermont Half Crown

Interesting fiscal paper follows, combining history and rarity, and the same can be said for a nice offering of lottery tickets. A small but interesting selection of federal notes then follows, including multiple “Bison” notes, a “Lazy Deuce,” a rare Colorado National and more. (more…)

Heritage’s Official Currency Auction at FUN to Include 4800 Lots

Heritage Auctions, the official auctioneer of the Florida United Numismatists (FUN) Show, will conduct a 4800+ lot Currency Signature Auction, Jan. 7-11, 2010 at the Orange County Convention Center, 9400 Universal Blvd., Orlando, FL. The Convention Center is also the site of the FUN show, as well as the location for lot viewing for the CAA auction and the other Heritage auctions at the event.

Fr1132-KOf the 4800+ lots, 1300 will be part of the non-floor session to close online on Monday January 11, 2010 starting at 12pm CST.

The four day auction will commence on Thursday evening, Jan. 7 at 6 p.m., with an array of Colonial Currency, Obsolete Bank Notes, Confederate Currency, and Canadian and World Currency.

The Colonial Currency offering is again significant with major rarities including, a Vermont February 1781 2s6d PCGS Apparent Very Fine 30.

fractional_curr_stripIn Obsolete Currency, collectors will have an opportunity to bid on collections from Alabama, Arkansas, and Maryland, each the finest offerings for their respective states in many years, including a Little Rock, AR- State of Arkansas $5 Oct. 27, 1877 Cr. UNL Rothert UNL, a likely unique Cahawba, AL- State of Alabama $50 April 19, 1821 Cr. UNL Rosene UNL, and from Maryland, Cumberland, MD- Cumberland City Bank $5 G2 Shank 30.4.3P Proof.

Finally, Canadian and World currency will be highlighted by, the French text BC-4 $2 1935 PMG Gem Uncirculated 65 EPQ, a BC-11 $25 1935 PCGS Very Choice New 64PPQ, and a chartered bank note rarity, Halifax, NS- The Bank of Nova Scotia $100 1929 Ch # 550-28-40.

The Cocoa Beach Collection anchors the second session and is the largest and finest offering of Fractional Currency since the Thomas O’Mara Collection was offered by Heritage in 2005. Many of the notes have pedigrees tracing them to the O’Mara and Milt Friedberg Collections.

Of the Fractional rarities in Session Three collectors have the opportunity to bid on, a Fr. 1241 10¢ First Issue Vertical Strip of Four PMG Choice Uncirculated 64 EPQ, another uncut strip, Fr. 1280 25¢ First Issue Vertical Strip of Four PMG Gem Uncirculated 66 EPQ, Negative Essay Denomination Set in Blue Milton 2E5R.2c, 2E10R.5c, 2E25R.1b, 2E50R.1e PMG 64, 62, 64 and 65 EPQ, and a stunning Fr. 1296 25¢ Third Issue PMG Superb Gem Unc 67 EPQ stand out.

The Cocoa Beach Collection also features three beautiful shields, including a very rare and very high grade pink shield, Fractional Currency Shield, With Pink Background. This session also includes a nice sampling of Encased Postage and Military Payment Certificates. (more…)

Bonhams to Hold First Coin Auction on December 3rd in New York

Collectors are eagerly awaiting the first sale of rare and exceptional Coins and Banknotes to be presented by Bonhams New York. Taking place on December 3rd, the sale consists of over 400 lots ranging from 1692 to the early 21st Century.

bonhams_120309_saleAmongst the most coveted lots will be an exceptionally rare 1796 $10 AU50 NGC . Bright green-gold with warm honey and orange highlights, the coin’s intense mint bloom glows broadly in the fields and within the protected design areas. The obverse is of the Turban Head type with stars to both sides. The reverse motif, also used on the contemporary half eagle, depicts the national bird solidly perched on a branch of palm, holding aloft a victory wreath without any olives or berries. The die work is excellent being BD-1, Breen-6832, Bass-3174, Taraszka-6, R.4, the only known die pairing for the year. From the earliest years of the regularly issued coinage of the United States which started in 1796, this highly important and elusive issue is estimated at $65,000-75,000.

Another lot certain to lure collectors is a 1915-S $50 Panama-Pacific Round. Considered one of the most desirable of Classic Era commemorative coins, it was originally issued to be sold at the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition held in San Francisco. Due to the fact that most people could not or did not want to spend $50 for a collectible coin during the WWI period, many remained unsold. However, by the 1920s demand for the $50 pieces increased and has continued to grow. Featuring the helmeted head of Minerva on the obverse and an owl on the reverse, both sides are bathed in shimmering velvet bloom. Close examination of the surfaces yields the presence of an amazingly limited number of defects. This is the largest official coin produced by the United States Mint, and its rarity is a great accident of fate, as most of the unsold pieces were melted down. Estimated at $50,000-60,000 the rarity and importance of this issue, as well as the beautiful quality, make it an extraordinary collecting opportunity.

ANA Debuts Online Gallery of the Bebee Collection of Paper Money

The American Numismatic Association Bebee Collection of paper money, one of the finest collections of United States paper money ever assembled, is available to view in an exciting new online image gallery. The collection, consisting of more than 800 notes, was donated to the ANA by Aubrey and Adeline Bebee in 1988.

ana_bebee_collectionTo view the Bebee Collection online gallery, go to (select “Visit the Money Museum,” then select “The ANA Bebee Collection of U.S. Paper Money/View the Collection”) or go to Additional educational information, including introductions explaining the cross-referenced components of the notes, will be added in the coming months.

The gallery is the work of longtime ANA members John Nebel and Susie Nulty. The collection was scanned seven years ago using the highest quality scanner, enabling minute details to be shown. The original files have been reduced to a practical size for web viewing, but small details are shown in high resolution through pop-up windows.

The notes are cross-referenced by portraits, Friedberg numbers, date, denomination, territory or state, and vignettes. There are special sections for error notes and outstanding specimens, and an introduction by Arthur L. Friedberg, renowned paper money expert and author of A Guide to United States Paper Money.

“It’s rewarding to work on such an interesting and worthwhile project,” said Nulty. “John and I tried to design a site that is easy to navigate and includes several cross-referencing options. Our hope is that fellow ANA members enjoy the gallery and it becomes a great research tool for anyone interested in U.S. paper money.”

Aubrey (ANA Life Member 110) and Adeline (Life Member 4570) Bebee were among the most prominent numismatic collectors of the 20th century, and were ardent supporters of the ANA. Aubrey began assembling his world-class collection of U.S. paper money in 1941. The Bebees also donated an 1804 dollar (Idler/Bebee specimen) and 1913 Liberty Head nickel (McDermott/Bebee specimen) to the ANA Edward C. Rochette Money Museum, along with several other prominent pieces. The Beebes received the Farran Zerbe Memorial Award in 1988 and the Lifetime Achievement Award in 1992; Aubrey received the Medal of Merit in 1968. Aubrey Bebee passed away in 1992 and Adeline passed away in 1998.


Ponterio & Associates Offers Extensive Selection of World Banknotes Auction This November in Baltimore

Ponterio & Associates, a division of Bowers and Merena Auctions, will bring 1,250 lots of world paper money to Baltimore, Md., as part Bowers and Merena’s Official Auction of the Whitman Coin and Collectibles Baltimore Expo scheduled for November 10-14, 2009. The auction will take place at the Baltimore Convention Center and includes an impressive world catalog presented in four sessions.

bm_bank_persiaCurrency highlights include more notes from the popular “East Bay Collection” set to cross the auction block. One of the notable countries with an impressive variety is Iran, which will be illustrated by many Imperial Bank of Persia issues, always sure to garner considerable attention. One of the highlights of the Iranian notes is a 20 Tomans 1925 Pick-15 in a strikingly original Very Fine grade.

More impressive notes will be displayed from countries of the British Commonwealth with a lovely selection of Straits Settlements highlighted by a Pick 12a Fifty Dollar note in an attractive Fine grade. Other countries of interest offering a pleasing assortment of scarce to rare notes includes Brazil, Canada, China, Columbia, Costa Rica, Danzig, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Russia, and Scotland. In addition, several other scarce to rare notes will be offered which include many stunning issued and specimen pieces from tough locations and issuing authorities.

Superb Set of Australian Banknotes sold by Spinks for £350,000

spink_aus_notes_092309_1lbOn September 29th, Spink held a sale in London of A Superb Set Of The 1913 – 1914 Commonwealth of Australia Banknotes.

The notes were found in a chest of drawers in the North Yorkshire home of an elderly man when his home was being cleard out for an estate sale. He had been unaware of their existence until he was told by the auctioneer who was clearing his house, that a windfall might be coming his way.

Recognising that these notes were a rare find indeed, an astute Rodney Tennant of Tennants of Leyburn asked London coins and banknote specialists Spink to sell the six notes – all with early serial numbers and all marked Cancelled.

Spink offered them (in the separate catalogue) as lot number one of their banknotes sale of September 28. They did not quite make their £400,000-450,000 estimate, but the vendor’s family was delighted to learn that they had sold to an Australian private collector at £350,000.

Background from the Catalog:

From May 1913, the first distinctive Commonwealth of Australia banknotes were issued. They were controversial in that no portrait of the reigning monarch, King George V, was included in the design. It was also feared that the release of a ten-shilling denomination (reportedly the first by any government within the British Empire) would spread diseases from the lower to middle and upper classes. Specimen notes were prepared from regular note stocks by perforating them horizontally with the word ‘CANCELLED’. Such notes were taken at random from the print runs as required, so many bear relatively high serial numbers. It wasn’t until the issuance of the 1923 series bearing George V’s effigy that low numbers were reserved for specimen notes.

Stack’s Philadelphia Americana Coin and Currency Auction To be Highlight of New Whitman Coin Show

Stacks Philadelphia Americana Sale, Part I, will be featuring American currency (Part II, with coins, medals, and tokens is in a separate catalogue). On September 23 and 24 all eyes in the world of paper money will be focused on one of the greatest sales ever held by Stack’s.

stacks_americana_mass_schilThis is the inaugural show held by Whitman in Philadelphia. As of today, the September gathering is already a success! Or at least there is every indication of such. A “sold out” notice has been posted by one recommended hotel near the Convention Center, and rooms are going fast at the others. Word has spread, and it seems that this paper money sale will be a gathering of eagles-with just about everyone in this specialty in attendance, or represented by an agent, or bidding in real time on the Internet.

Beyond Part I and Part II of the Americana Sale, Stack’s expect that the exposition itself will be a great drawing card. Hundreds of dealers will be on hand, and some great programs will be presented. Among these will be Dave Bowers’ telling of “Famous Numismatists I Have Met-from B. Max Mehl to Date.” You are cordially invited to attend. Similar to the spectacularly successful Whitman shows in Baltimore, the Philadelphia event is very conveniently located. Draw a 500-mile circle around the city and you will probably encompass 70% or more of the numismatists in America.


Great Collectors, Great Collections

Beginning the sale is the Chester L. Krause Collection of Wisconsin Obsolete Currency, Part I. Chet, as he is known, founded Numismatic News in 1952. In time, his business acumen, energy, and enthusiasm combined to grow what became Krause Publications, with dozens of different magazines, reference books, and price guides, all based in Iola, Wisconsin. Several important texts bear his name on the cover, including the Standard Catalog of World Coins, used all over the globe, and, relevant to our present offering, Wisconsin Obsolete Bank Notes and Scrip. (more…)

Rarities In All Specialties Highlight Long Beach Currency Auction

Heritage to Present 3400+ Lot Signature® Currency event, Sept. 9-13

One of the largest offerings of Continental currency and Colonial paper money to be auctioned off in decades will highlight the Official Currency Auction of the September 2009 Long Beach Coin, Stamp & Collectibles Expoconducted by Heritage-Currency Auctions of America, Sept. 9-13, at the Long Beach Convention Center, 100 S. Pine Avenue, Long Beach, CA 90802. The auction will consist of four floor sessions along with one online-only session. The lot viewing will take place in Room 104A and the auction itself will be held in Room 103C.

Seguin, TX - $100 1882 Brown Back Fr. 528“We have four fine collections anchoring this auction,” said Dustin Johnston, Currency Consignment Director at Heritage, “all of which, taken together, offer an excellent survey of American Currency from the Colonial era through current Federal Issues. We’re quite excited to offer these great examples.”

The Midnight Ride Collection includes an extensive quantity and variety of Colonial material, including many rare pieces. Numerous scarce and seldom seen Texas Nationals are included in the Lone Star Collection, while the notes in the Kim Fisher Collection include a wide variety of material. The small size holdings in particular include many finest known, only known and highest serial number known examples. Many of the Mexican Specimen notes being offered from the Giana Lynn Samantha Rose Collection are unlisted in the Krause price guide.

Session One, Wednesday evening, Sept. 9 at 6 p.m. PST, consists of 981 lots of Colonial material and features the aforementioned Midnight Ride Collection, an important assemblage of Continental Currency and Colonial Notes and one of the largest collections of Colonial material ever offered at auction.

“The Continental set is complete, and many of the Colonial notes are rarely seen at auction,” said Johnson. “All of the notes have been third-party graded, with a large number of finest knowns represented. Included in the collection are a number of notes from the popular North Carolina April 2, 1776 Issue, an Issue with 56 different varieties, the largest number of varieties seen in any issue of American paper money.”

Desirable, Appealing Ancients and World Coins & Paper Money in Official ANA Auction

A wide selection of rare ancient and world coins will be offered in Bowers and Merena’s Official Auction of the American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money® at the Los Angeles Convention Center and online, August 2 – 8, 2009. Ponterio & Associates, Inc., a division of Bowers and Merena, will present the world sessions on Saturday, August 8.

One of the many highlights among the over 1,300 lots of desirable and appealing world coins is a Japanese undated (1860 – 1862) Manen oban (10 Ryo, 112.26 gms) with security edge (Fr. 7; JNDA-09-11; C24a2) in Extremely Fine condition.

“This is a beautiful specimen,” said Richard Ponterio, executive vice president of Bowers and Merena. “This Manen oban is the only type that was produced using machinery. Prior to this type obans were hand made. The use of obans halted shortly after the time of Commandore Perry forcing Japan to open its trade with the west in the mid 1800s.” (

Two other marquee coins in the ANA auction are a rare Year 3 (1911) “Long Whisker Dragon” Tientsin Mint China Pattern Dollar (L&M-28; Kann-223; KM-Pn-304), graded NGC AU-58, and a Macedonia Mende silver Tetradrachm (16.88 gms) ca. 425 B.C.

“This was struck from the same dies as described in the Noe-ANS Monogram #27 of 1926, “The Mende (Kaliandra) Hoard #70. It has a well struck reverse and nice metal quality with full border on the obverse. It depicts Dionysos ‘Bacchus’ the god of wine and grapes holding a cup of wine while reclining on a donkey,” explained Ponterio. (more…)

1870 $100 National Gold Note Highlights Currency in Official ANA Auction

More than 500 U.S. and world bank notes will be offered in the Official Auction of the American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money® conducted by Bowers and Merena Auctions at the Los Angeles Convention Center and online, August 2 – 8, 2009.

One of the many highlights is an 1870 $100 Gold National Bank Note, San Francisco Charter #1741, The First National Gold Bank (Fr. 1162), graded PMG Fine 12 Net (restorations).

“This classic rarity is one of only eight notes of this type in private hands, and one of three of this Friedberg number. Those others are in strong hands and not likely to become available in the foreseeable future. In fact, only three examples have been offered for public sale in the last decade and the latest example, nearly identical to this one, sold for $258,700 in 2007,” said Steve Deeds, President of Bowers and Merena (

“With collectors holding tightly to the others, we’re not sure when there will be another opportunity to acquire such a rare and elusive note.”

Three other 1870 National Gold Bank Charter #1741 notes are also being offered, $5 (Fr. 1136) PMG VF 30, $10 (Fr. 1142) PCGS Apparent VF 30, and $20 (Fr. 1172) PMG Very Good 10 Net. (more…)


Extraordinary Panama 50 Pesos Note Realizes Over $37,000

IRVINE, Calif. – Ponterio & Associates, Inc., a division of Bowers and Merena Auctions, returned to Chicago to present the Official Auction of the Chicago International Coin Fair (C.I.C.F.), April 23-25, 2009, at the Crowne Plaza Chicago O’Hare in Rosemont, Ill. The auction realized a total of $1,510,300 offering close to 3,000 lots of coins and currency from around the world, including lots from Russia, China, Mexico, Cuba, Australia, Latin America, and more.

The spotlight was surely on lot 438, PANAMA, Banco de Panama, 50 Pesos, (ND) circa 1869, P-S725, which realized $37,375. Listed as Very Fine with a catalog estimate of $3,000 to $4,000, this lot realized well above that as a result of spirited floor bidding from some enthusiastic collectors. One of a handful of important Panama-related items in the auction, this rare 50 Pesos note with a very low serial number of “0010” is one that few collectors will ever have the opportunity to see.

Clearly one of the most distinct items in the auction was lot 3044, a large Korean wedding ceremonial chatelaine, circa 1800s, with 17 attached strings containing amulets and coins with silk and cloth stringers. Chatelaines were given to brides on their wedding day, adorned with amulets for protection and coins for good luck. The strings contain 129 pieces total consisting of amulets, 1 Mun coins, 5 Mun coins and 100 Mun coins, some of which are seed coins. The item is very rare and in a very nice state of preservation. Spirited bidding brought well above the $500 to $1,000 catalog estimate, realizing an impressive $23,000 from a Korean buyer who intends to return the chatelaine to its home country. (more…)

Newly discovered Serial # 1 Bicentennial $2 Star Note at CSNS Auction

Gift from grandmother to grandson could bring $20,000+

DALLAS, TX – The only serial #1 star note from the Bicentennial $2 series known to exist in private hands will be offered by Heritage Currency Auctions of America in its Central States auction, May 1, at Cincinnati’s Duke Energy Downtown Convention Center.

The newly surfaced note had been hidden away by its owner since 1976, when it was obtained – along with the serial #2 San Francisco District $2 star, which accompanies it in this sale – by the consignor’s grandmother from a Bank of America branch in Oakland, Calif. She went in with the express purpose of obtaining a couple of the newly issued $2 Bicentennial notes for her grandson’s budding coin and currency collection.

The notes were placed in an envelope and forgotten until more than three decades later when that same grandson, for whom they were purchased in the first place, discovered the envelope. Now these pristine notes are going to be offered to the general public and the level of curiosity from the collecting world is expected to be high.

Each of the two notes has one light storage fold, acquired over the years, a minor exception in both instances. Otherwise each note is as pristine and undisturbed as the day they were pulled from the pack of bills at the Bank of America in the Bay area. Each piece is graded Choice About Uncirculated 58 EPQ (Exceptional Paper Quality) by PMG. The pre-sale estimate for the serial number 1 example is $20,000-$30,000 – which could prove to be quite conservative – as only one collector in the world will be able to boast of owning a serial number 1 Bicentennial star deuce when the hammer falls on this lot.

To see the rest of the lots in this auction, read detailed descriptions and download enlargeable hi-res images, go online to

Newly uncovered 1915 $5 note at Heritage CSNS

Exciting paper money discovery features unknown stamped signature pairing

1915 $5 Fed Reserve Note FR-788a

The interests of rare U.S. currency collectors, and numismatists across the spectrum, have been piqued by Heritage Auction Galleries with the announcement of the discovery of a previously unseen significant rarity in the form of a 1915 $5 Federal Reserve Bank Note type. The newly listed Fr. 788a $5 1915 FRBN will serve as one of the anchors of Heritage’s 2009 CSNS Signature CAA Auction, in Cincinnati, May 1.

The Houston B. Teehee/John Burke signature combination on the note features the previously unknown stamped signature pairing of M.W. Bell as Secretary and Joseph A. McCord as governor.

“This is the first note ever reported with that combination,” said Greg Rohan, President of Heritage, “and the fact that a new Friedberg number has been created adds to the overall appeal of this note, which is already a beauty without the added value of this ‘new’ pairing.”

Highlights of the upcoming Champion Hong Kong Auction April 1, 2009

Following six very successful auctions last season, Champion’s first sale for 2009 will be held April 1st at the Sheraton Hong Kong Hotel & Towers 3F Tang I , 20 Nathan Road, one block from the April Hong Kong Coin Show, being held at the Holiday Inn Golden Mile.

The lots in this sale can be viewed in the printed catalog and at Champion’s website: the catalog and the website listing appear in English and Chinese. Champion is the only auction house in the world to publish a fully bilingual catalog. Bidders may bid by phone or email or through a live auction website.

Although paper money highlights this Champion sale, there are many rare and interesting coins in the sale. One of the most important coins is the 1884 Kirin Half Tael silver coin (Kann 917; Lin 505), with 1987 ANACS Certificate, in choice uncirculated condition, estimated at $10,000. This coin is from a set of experimental coins which were soon discontinued and melted.

A newly discovered variety of the 1901 Kiangnan Dragon Dollar, which has a dragon with 6 claws instead of 5, appears in the sale, estimated at $8,000. Another recently discovered coin in this sale is a Kwangtung pattern 1 cash, without center hole, probably made in 1890, NGC SP62, estimated at $1,000.

Another key coin in this auction is the 1867 Hong Kong-Shanghai Tael with rays (Kann 912), rated Proof 65 by NGC, expected to bring $70,000 to $100,000. Most of the important coins in this sale have been certified by NGC , including a 1904 Hupeh Tael (Kann 933) NGC MS63, estimate $6,000, and a 1907 Tientsin Mint silver dollar with wave design border (Kann 212), MS63, estimated at $4,000. A seldom seen 1936 silver pattern dollar, with Sun Yat Sen and ancient spade coin design (Kann 635), NGC MS62 is also offered here, NGC MS62, estimated at $6,000. (more…)

Jim Fitzgerald to Head Spink Smythe Auctions

As part of its international expansion in collectibles auctions, Spink Smythe of Dallas, Texas, New York City and London, England has hired Jim Fitzgerald as Senior Vice President of Auctions.

Jim Fitzgerald“We are delighted to add such a knowledgeable and well-respected numismatist to lead the Spink Smythe team. We are extremely proud of our past and look forward to continued success in the future with our new, truly global presence,” said Tracy L. Shreve, Chief Operating Officer of Spink USA.

The former Director of Currency Auctions at Heritage Auction Galleries, Fitzgerald also has extensive management experience in the travel and hotel industry. He started collecting coins as a child when his grandfather helped him fill Whitman folders with Lincoln cents found in circulation. In addition to coins, he collects small-size U.S. notes, Texas obsoletes, Confederate and National Bank Notes.

He has presented educational seminars for the Texas Numismatic Association (TNA) and the Tarrant County Historical Society, and recently served as Chairman of the TNA Convention in his hometown of Fort Worth. He and his wife, Sheli, have a son born this past December.

“I’m very excited about this opportunity with Spink Smythe, and look forward to blending two distinguished names both firmly established in their fields into the marketplace,” said Fitzgerald.

“Emphasizing a boutique, more personalized service to our clients is the main goal here at Spink Smythe. In these uncertain economic times people want to know their collection is important and that it will be sold with the same care and dedication that they have given it over the years,” he said.

In January, Spink Smythe launched its Collector’s Series Sales that will feature coins, banknotes, antique stocks and bonds, autographs, ephemera, photographs and tokens and medals.

“Under the Spink banner, Spink Smythe now offers a truly global experience for both buyers and sellers. Additionally, Spink Smythe is pleased to offer the world’s leading online bidding platform, This innovative and easy to use system offers real time bidding featuring audio and streaming video so that bidders may participate as though they were on the auction floor,” explained Shreve. (more…)

FUN Currency Tops $6 Million in Heritage’s $52 Million Auction

FR-817b $10 1915 Federal Reserve Bank NoteDallas, TX – The Official Currency Auction of the FUN 2009 Convention in Orlando, presented by Heritage Auction Galleries, has posted prices realized exceeding $6.1 million. This was part of a weeklong series of Heritage auctions that also realized $52 million in U.S. rare coins sold at FUN, and $7 million in ancient and world coins sold at NYINC. Nearly three thousand bidders participated in the 5,575 lot currency auction, and just below half of them were successful.

Altogether, Heritage offered more than 19,000 lots at the FUN & NYINC venues. Overall, 87% of the FUN lots found new owners. All lots are currently posted at for post-auction research. The totals are expected to further increase as Post Auction Buys continue. FUN 2009 was Heritage’s – and the numismatic industry’s – third most valuable auction

“We were pleased with our FUN 2009 results,” noted Allen Mincho. “With all of the dislocations in the national economy, we were pleased that demand for rare currency was only off a little from the 2008 highs – and at that, many notes sold at FUN for record prices. We think this is a very positive start for 2009, as the currency collector community responded with real strength for notes that they desired. FUN was also Heritage’s first auction to extensively feature our new Video Lot Descriptions; the reception of bidders and consignors has been most gratifying. We invite you to visit and see for yourself. We also saw many clients participating – and winning – through our HERITAGE Live! online bidding system.”

Heritage is currently accepting consignments for their Central States Numismatic Society Convention auction; for more information, call Heritage’s currency consignor hotline at 800-872-6467 ext. 1001.

Click here for Greg Rohan’s videotaped comments on the FUN auctions and show.

Featured FUN rarities include:

Lot 15430: Fr. 817b $10 1915 Federal Reserve Bank Note PMG Choice About Unc 58 EPQ. Realized $126,500.

In November 2008, Chad Hawk, a grader at PMG, discovered a previously unknown Federal Reserve Bank Note variety – hand-signed by the Kansas City officials, instead of engraved signatures and rubber-stamped signatures. (more…)

Heritage Presents 5200 Lot Currency Auction at Florida United Numismatists Show, Orlando Florida

1905 $20 Gold Certificate FR-1180Heritage is the official auctioneer of the Florida United Numismatists Show, and will conduct a 5200+ Lot Currency Signature Auction on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday January 8-10, 2009 at the Orange County Convention Center, 9400 Universal Blvd., Orlando Florida. The Convention Center is also the site of the Florida United Numismatists Show, as well as the location for lot viewing for the CAA auction as well as other Heritage auctions. Nearly 1400 of the lots will be included as part of the Non-Floor Session.

On Thursday evening, Heritage will begin with 750 lots consisting of Colonial Notes, Fractional Currency, Obsoletes, Canadian, Confederate and others. Some of the highlights include, a selection scarce Colonials that have never been offered before. The best pieces have been graded by PMG and it includes a Maryland May 10, 1781 2s6d, an issue that Heritage-CAA has never previously handled, and a Vermont February 1781 1s. The Obsoletes section is highlighted by large offerings from Virginia and Wisconsin. A small, but quality offering of California and Nevada pieces includes a Sacramento – California and Salt Lake Mail Line $10, a San Francisco – Amador Canal & Mining Co. $1, and a handful of notes from the California Panic of 1907. The Tarheel Collection of Postal Notes is the largest collection of its kind to ever be offered and will also be included in Wednesday night’s session. In addition to Serial Number One notes, the collection includes notes from Tucson, Arizona; Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts; and Twin Bridges Montana. The Canadian selection is larger than usual and includes a BC-11 $25 1935 PMG Gem Uncirculated 65 EPQ, and a BC-28 $1000 1937 PMG Choice Uncirculated 64 EPQ. (more…)

PMG Discovers New Friedberg Variety

New Friedberg 817b Discovery Note Paper Money Guaranty (PMG) is thrilled to announce that it has discovered a new variety of the 1915 10 Dollar Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank Note, which has been given the Friedberg number 817b. The Friedberg number refers to Arthur L. and Ira S. Friedberg’s Paper Money of the United States, the authoritative reference of US currency. The discovery note features hand-signed signatures rather than the engraved or stamped signatures seen on previously known varieties and is graded About Uncirculated 58 EPQ. It will be included in an upcoming Heritage Auction Galleries sale.

Chad Hawk, a grader at PMG, discovered the note. Chad commented, “This discovery is very special to me. I’ve been blessed to see some of the world’s finest notes, but this will stick with me forever.”

On its potential impact, Chad noted, “This discovery is important because it will encourage collectors to keep looking, because discovery notes are out there, waiting to be discovered. If more notes of this type surface, we may be able to find out why they began signing and hand-stamping the signatures in the first place. As Federal Reserve Bank Notes were among the first transitions from Nationals to Federal Reserve Notes, this discovery could help us understand more about the transition from signed notes to engraved plates.”

Federal Reserve Bank Notes came into existence with the creation of the Federal Reserve System. Two separate issues were issued: the series of 1915 and the series of 1918, and they are avidly collected and studied. The 1915 10 Dollar Notes from the Kansas City issuing bank carried the signatures of Teehee & Burke (Register and Treasurer of the US) and Cross & Miller (Cashier and Governor of the Federal Reserve Bank in Kansas City).

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Bowers and Merena Auctions, America’s leading rare coin and currency auction house, conducted an auction of exceptional international banknotes in New York City on October 27-28, 2008, compiled of two premier collections, “The East Bay Collection of International Banknotes” and “The Eduard Kann Chinese Banknote Collection.” Consisting of more than 2,100 total lots, the auction realized $1,119,585. It was held at the Hilton Times Square, with live auction simulcasts in Hong Kong and Germany. The auction was spearheaded by Bowers and Merena in conjunction with sister companies John Bull Auctions, Ltd., of Hong Kong, and Heinrich Köhler Auktionshaus of Germany.

“This auction put Bowers and Merena on the map for world currency,” said Ron Gillio, Numismatic Acquisition Coordinator and World Coin and Currency specialist for Bowers and Merena Auctions. “It is virtually unprecedented to have two collections of this caliber in one auction, with banknotes not seen on the market for many years. We traveled the world viewing these notes and the interest among collectors was major. And the really great news for collectors is that there is much more ‘East Bay Collection’ to come in future Bowers and Merena auctions.”

“The East Bay Collection” is believed to be the largest collection of international banknotes ever to come to market. Assembled over the course of 40 years by a private collector in Northern California, it consists of more than 30,000 notes representative of over 150 countries. The collection debuted in the October auction with Chinese and related Asian banknotes and Russian and European banknotes, and the next installment of “East Bay” notes is scheduled for Bowers and Merena’s Official Auction of the Baltimore Coin and Currency Convention in March 2009. The “East Bay Collection” was secured by Gillio, who called it “the most comprehensive collection I’ve ever known.”

“The Eduard Kann Chinese Banknote Collection” was the exceptional collection of the world’s leading authority on Chinese coins and the Chinese monetary system, consisting of more than 500 banknotes. “Kann is very well respected among collectors and several of the Kann lots were sold for well above estimate,” Gillio noted. (more…)

Spectrum Launches World Currency Division

David Leong(Irvine, California) — Spectrum Numismatics International of Irvine, California again is expanding its operations with the opening of a World Currency Division.

“We have hired long-time paper money collector and dealer, David Leong of New Hampshire, to be our World Currency Trader. His three decades of extensive experience and knowledge will be a tremendous benefit to collectors as we launch our World Currency Division,” said Peter A. Treglia, Director, Spectrum Currency.

Leong is a contributor to the respected reference books, Standard Catalog of World Paper Money and Standard Guide to Small-Size U.S. Paper Money.

He’s a member of the Professional Currency Dealers Association, lifetime member of the International Bank Note Society and President of the Currency Club of New England. Leong is the founder of PaperM, a company that specializes in world bank notes.

He earned a Bachelors of Science in Electrical Engineers from Case Western Reserve University and a Masters of Science in Statistics from the University of New Hampshire.

Spectrum Currency buys and sells large type, small type, national, fractional, Confederate, obsolete, error, fancy serial number notes, and now world currency.

For additional information, contact Peter A. Treglia, of Spectrum Currency at 888-828-2646, or e-mail

Artist vs Central Bank

artist Romeo MananquilCelebrated visual artist Romeo Mananquil, who migrated to Canada two decades ago, has an ax to grind with the central bank, for which he designed (together with two other Filipino artists) a series of banknotes and coins during the 1980s.

Our sources say Mananquil (who is identified with the flora and fauna coin series) was upset after recently finding out that his design for the now-demonetized P5 note—the green one that depicts Emilio Aguinaldo hoisting the Philippine flag in Kawit, Cavite—was used by the central bank, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, or BSP, for the P100,000 centennial notes printed in 1999—allegedly without his consent and with some alteration.

Only 1,000 of these notes were issued in 1998 to commemorate the Centennial of Independence from more than 300 years of Spanish colonial rule. The notes were intended for collectors. The initial offering price was 180,000 Piso ($4175), substantially higher than the face value.

100,000 Pisp bankNote - PhilippinesThe 100,000 Piso note, measuring 356mm x 216mm (about the size of a legal page), is accredited by the Guinness World Records as the world’s largest legal tender note in terms of size.

Mananquil has sent his lawyers to assert his legal rights over the artwork, lamenting its “economic exploitation.”

Its lawyers argue that the central bank is considered as a co-owner of the artwork and therefore has the right to use it with or without the artist’s permission.

The artist’s lawyers recently wrote the Monetary Board, the policymaking body of the BSP, to appeal his case. Will this debate over intellectual property rights erupt into a courtroom battle?

£1,000,000 Bank of England Note to be Sold by Spink’s

Famous Bank of England Number Eight £1,000,000 noteSpink has announced the sale of the famous Number Eight £1,000,000 note. It is believed that only two notes of this high denomination exist in the world today, the other numbered 000007.

The million pound note was issued in connection with the Marshall Aid Plan after World War II and was intended for internal use as ‘records of movement,’ for a period of six weeks only. It is believed that nine examples were produced and only two, Numbers Seven and Eight, survived.

The two notes were given as mementoes to the respective U.S. and U.K. Treasury Secretaries. The Number Seven was first sold in 1977 and is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as being the highest denomination note in private hands.

The 8-inch-wide green banknote, numbered 000008, was issued by the Bank of England on Aug. 30, 1948, in connection with the Marshall Aid Plan in the aftermath of World War II. It bears the signature of E. E. Bridges in the lower right hand corner and is cancelled over the signature and stamped 6 October 1948, Bank of England.  Spink’s  said the defunct note, entered for sale by the U.K.-based banknote collector Bill Parkinson, may fetch 35,000 pounds to 40,000 pounds at its Oct. 1 sale of world banknotes.

“This is the highest denomination of banknote we’ve ever sold,” said Barnaby Faull, director of banknotes at Spink. “There are hyperinflation Weimar-period notes for 10 billion marks, but they would only have bought a cup of coffee.” (more…)

Bowers and Merena to Present The East Bay & Rduard Kann Collections of Chinese, Russian and World Banknotes in October

Auction Features Two Outstanding Collections, “The East Bay Collection of International Banknotes” and “The Eduard Kann Chinese Banknote Collection”

Russo-Asiatic Bank. 1913, 100 Gold Fen=10 Chyon. P-S483IRVINE, Calif. – Bowers and Merena Auctions, America’s leading rare coin and currency auction house, will conduct an auction of exceptional international banknotes in New York City on October 27-28, 2008, with lot viewing at the auction site October 25-28. The auction is compiled of two premier collections, “The East Bay Collection of International Banknotes” and “The Eduard Kann Chinese Banknote Collection,”consisting of more than 2,000 total lots. It will be held at the Hilton Times Square, with live auction simulcasts at the John Bull Auctions offices in Quarry Bay, Hong Kong, and the Heinrich Köhler Auktionshaus offices in Wiesbaden, Germany. Pre-auction lot viewing will be available in multiple locations around the world, including California, Germany and Hong Kong, as well as at the Maastricht Paper Money Show in the Netherlands, the PCDA Paper Money Convention in St. Louis, Mo., and prior to the auction in New York. The auction will be spearheaded by Bowers and Merena in conjunction with sister companies John Bull Auctions, Ltd., of Hong Kong, and Heinrich Köhler Auktionshaus of Germany. Complete lot viewing and auction schedules are available at

“The East Bay Collection” is believed to be the largest collection of international banknotes ever to come to market. Assembled over the course of 40 years by a private collector in Northern California, it consists of more than 30,000 notes representative of over 150 countries. The entire collection will be auctioned over the coming year in multiple auctions around the world, debuting in this October auction with Chinese and related Asian banknotes and Russian and European banknotes.

“The East Bay Collection” was secured by Ronald J. Gillio, numismatic acquisition coordinator for Bowers and Merena Auctions and world coin and banknote specialist. “The scope of this collection is absolutely wonderful in both quantity and quality, and without question the most comprehensive collection I’ve ever known,” said Gillio. “The Russia and China sections constitute by far the strongest groupings of the collection,” he added. There are approximately 2,800 Chinese banknotes and 2,500 Russian banknotes included in the collection. (more…)

Important Hawaii Proofs in Long Beach Auction

Hawaii Proof banknotesIn the upcoming September Long Beach auction, Heritage Currency will be offering a complete paper money proof design collection for both the Kingdom and the Republic of Hawaii.

This is the largest offering of Hawaii proofs since the 1990 auction of the ABNCo archives. Proofs are the only realistic way to collect notes from this exotic locale as issued notes are unpriced in the Standard Catalog of World Paper Money.

These proofs were originally housed in the same printer’s binder and thus they share many characteristics. They have been printed on India paper, cut down to the size of the design, and mounted on a 9 by 11 inch card stock-like, type-written dated binder page. In all but a couple of cases, the issued stub is present. The face and back proofs are mounted on the same binder page except in two instances. The binder page also has behind it an interleaved page that was manufactured at the Crane & Co. paper mill in Dalton, Massachusetts.

The face vignettes are for the most part ranching, commercial sailing, and railroading with the occasional Hawaii specific vignette. Each face proof has from two to four punch cancels as is normal for proof notes. The punch cancels are only through the India paper and not the card stock. Also, the faces have the denomination in both English and Hawaiian.

Each back proof carries the Hawaiian Coat of Arms which includes two men in feathered cloaks and helmets flanking the shield. They are said to be the twins Kameeiamoku and Kamanawa, who helped Kamehameha I unify the islands in 1810. The motto “Ua mau ke ea o ka aina i ka pono” (“The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness”) is written on a sash under the scene. Two slightly different versions of the Coat of Arms are depicted depending if the note was printed during the monarchy or later during the republic era.

All in all, these are historical and important notes that exhibit some of the finest of the engraver’s art. Also, do not let the abundance of Hawaiian riches in this auction fool you in to believing that these notes are commonly available. These notes have been off the market for over a generation and it might be that long again before another opportunity arises.

Heritage Presents 6000 Lot Currency Auction at September Long Beach Coin, Stamp & Collectible Exposition

Bay Shore, NY - $10 1902 Date Back Fr. 619Heritage Auction Galleries, the official auctioneer of the Long Beach Coin, Stamp & Collectible Expo, will conduct a 6,000+ lot Currency Signature® Auction on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, September 17-19, 2008 at the Long Beach Convention Center, 100 South Pine Ave., Long Beach, California. The Convention Center is also the site of the Long Beach Coin, Stamp & Collectible Show, as well as the location for lot viewing for all Heritage auctions. Nearly 2,000 of the lots will be included as part of the online session.”The auction is anchored by the impressive $5mm+ Jupiter Collection and the Dr. Edward and Joanne Dauer Collection of Demand Notes,” said Dustin Johnston, Consignment Director for Dallas-based Heritage. “Other notable collections include offerings from the Albert Rollins Collection, The Norman Collection, The Sandpoint Collection of Idaho Nationals, and another installment from the Collection of a Louisiana Gentleman.”

Fr. 2407 $500 1928 Gold Certificate Finest Known“Wednesday evening’s session will open with more than 300 Colonials anchored by the Collection of a Louisiana Gentleman,” Johnston said, “and will then continue on move to a selection of more than 400 Obsoletes, including a complete denomination set of PMG graded Kirtland Safety Society Mormon Notes, and many high grade Proofs. Confederate Notes, MPC’s, Canadian Currency, Encased Postage, and Fractional Currency will round out the evening. Perhaps the most important highlight of this session is one of Canada’s most coveted rarities, a newly discovered DC-19 1911 $500 ‘Queen Mary’ graded Very Fine 20 by PMG.”

Johnston continued, “Session Two, which kicks off early Thursday evening, will feature over 800 National Banks Notes, including some of the most exciting discovery notes of the year. The Fr. 399 1865 $5 Original Ch. 2130 First NB Red Oak, IA Serial Number One with Black Charter Numbers, a Fr. 618 1902 $10 Date Back Ch. (P) 9512 The Peoples NB National City, CA Serial Number One, and a Fr. 616 1902 $10 Date Back Ch. (S) 7740 Claiborne NB of Tazewell, TN, will all be offered to collectors for the first time. The Tazewell note is the first reported note from this locale, and the Black Charter Number, Serial Number One note is the only Black Charter serial number one example known to exist.” (more…)

“Queen Mary” $500 1911 is One of Only Three Known to Exist

Canadian $500 1911 Queen Mary NoteHeritage Auction Galleries will offer one of the rarest Canadian notes ever printed, the “Queen Mary” $500 1911, in their upcoming Long Beach Currency Signature Auction, to be held September 17-19, 2008.

“This is an amazing note, one of the classic rarities in Canadian currency,” said Michael Moczalla, Consignment Director for Dallas-based Heritage Auction Galleries. “Until the discovery of this particular piece, there were only two examples known to exist in private hands. In fact, this type and denomination is so rare that it is even lacking in the official Bank of Canada collection!”

“The specimen we’re offering in our Long Beach auction has been graded PMG Very Fine 20 with mention of minor restorations, which, although present, are exceedingly difficult to detect,” Moczalla said. “Its existence represents a true miracle of survival, attesting to the fact that these high denomination pieces were actually used in commerce. If this were a United States issue, recognized as only the third example known for the design type, it would easily be a million dollar note.”

“Canadian notes have been growing steadily in popularity and, given the performance of the Flynn Collection – which was part of our record-setting Central States auction held earlier this year – the market for true Canadian rarities is beginning to generate prices which are now standard south of the border. The current Charlton catalog places a value on this note in this grade of $250,000 Canadian. Our best guess here is that this ‘Queen Mary’ note will bring a solid six figure price, but if two or more determined bidders decide they have to own it, our estimate will likely be conservative in the extreme.”

To view all the lots in the upcoming auction, please visit

The First $2 Note Ever Printed

Heritage Auction Galleries will offer the very first $2 note ever printed by the U. S. Government in their upcoming Long Beach Currency Signature Auction, to be held September 17-19, 2008.

The First $2 BanknoteThis first of a kind, Serial Number One note is a true miracle of survival, and has obviously spent countless hours, days and years traveling throughout our systems of commerce. Referencing the 2005 Memphis catalog by Smythe, this note has now had four owners in the past one hundred years, two of whom have owned it for approximately seventy of those years.

It can originally be pedigreed to ANA Member #187 Abe Hepner, who owned the note for the first half of the 20th Century. He sold the note in the 1950’s. The note was exhibited by the second owner at the 1971 and 1972 ANA Conventions, as well as the 1973 Greater Eastern Numismatic Association show, then quietly resided within the collection of an unnamed third owner, who eventually offered the note in Smythe’s 2005 sale.

The note was catalogued and graded raw as a Very Good. PCGS has now encapsulated the note, and has agreed with the original assessment.

The face of the note bears a portrait of Alexander Hamilton, with a double Serial #1 and plate position A, designating that this is the top note from the first sheet printed, as there were four notes to a sheet, with letters as plate positions running from top to bottom.

“Due to an inability to pay its debts in gold or silver during the Civil War, the U. S. Congress authorized the printing of a new series of paper notes, called Legal Tenders, in denominations of $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50, $100, $500, and $1000” said Jim Fitzgerald, Consignment Director for Heritage. “Initially resisted by the people, who were accustomed to the established gold and silver coinage, the Legal Tender Act of 1862 firmly established the paper money as a legitimate form of currency in the United States.” (more…)