Ultra-high denominations come together at Heritage's CSNS Currency Auction

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Ultra-high denominations come together at Heritage's CSNS Currency Auction
Fr. 2231-A $10,000 1934 Federal Reserve Note. PMG Gem Uncirculated 65 EPQ.

DALLAS, TX.- One of the first rules of trophy hunting: Bigger is better.

Under that context, the most serious collectors of American currency will swarm to Heritage’s CSNS Currency Signature® Auction May 7-10 — a massive event teeming with more than 2,100 lots, including arguably the finest assemblage of ultra-high-denomination notes ever to reach the auction block. As many as 15 or more banknotes that will be offered in this auction are expected to bring six-figure results.

In numismatic circles, anything larger than $100 is considered a “high-denomination” note. The “ultra” qualifier is reserved for the über-elusive $5,000 and $10,000 trophies — a half a dozen of which will be available in this extraordinary event.

“These ultra-high-denomination banknotes are incredibly popular and very tightly held,” says Dustin Johnston, Vice President of Currency at Heritage Auctions. “The fact that this auction has six such notes makes it an incredible event. But within that group are a $5,000 and a $10,000, each carrying a 65 grade.

“It has been a couple of decades since an example of both the $5,000 and $10,000 were available in such a high grade in one auction event.”

The Fr. 2231-A $10,000 1934 Federal Reserve Note. PMG Gem Uncirculated 65 EPQ in this auction is the finest New York District note graded by PMG. This example, with serial number A00000172A, is making its first appearance ever at public auction. The PMG Population Report shows that for all of the small size $10,000 FRN Friedberg numbers, PMG has graded just two notes equal and only three examples higher (the three higher graded pieces all grade 66 EPQ). The last Fr. 2231-A offered at Heritage graded PMG 64 EPQ and sold for $480,000 to finish atop the September 2023 Long Beach auction.

The auction includes a second Fr. 2231-A $10,000 1934 Federal Reserve Note — this one PMG Choice Uncirculated 64 EPQ. It is a rarely seen high grade, where strictly original notes are rare. Fewer than 25% of $5,000s and $10,000s are still fully original, or without any restorations.

The other ultra-high-denomination note carrying the lofty 65 grade is a Fr. 2221-J $5,000 1934 Federal Reserve Note. PMG Gem Uncirculated 65 EPQ that is one of just seven serial numbers listed in Track & Price for Fr. 2221-J; of those, only two have earned the EPQ or PPQ grade modifier. The PMG Population Report lists just four examples, included the beauty offered here, which has earned both their highest grade for the Friedberg number and the all-important EPQ grade modifier, and boasts a spectacularly low serial number: 00000020. PMG has graded only five examples equal and none higher.

The auction offers three other examples of the Fr. 2221 $5,000:

• A Fr. 2221-B $5,000 1934 Federal Reserve Note. PMG Choice Uncirculated 63 EPQ

• A Fr. 2221-E $5,000 1934 Federal Reserve Note. PMG About Uncirculated 55

• A Fr. 2221-G $5,000 1934 Federal Reserve Note. PCGS Choice About New 58PPQ

These magnificent notes are unquestionable trophies, but hardly the only prizes available in this event. A San Juan, PR - $10 1902 Red Seal Fr. 613 The First National Bank of Porto Rico Ch. # (S)6484 PMG Very Fine 25 is a tropical treasure. Hailing from Charter No. 6484, The First National Bank of Porto Rico at San Juan, this 1902 Series Red Seal marks the first time in nearly 30 years that a Red Seal from the Island of Puerto Rico has crossed the auction block, and only the second time since 1980. According to the National Currency Foundation Census, the count of surviving examples from this charter now stands at just 14, of which the note offered here represents one of the nicer examples, as most of them fall below the Very Fine grade range. The signatures are of Cashier William B. Hamilton and President Andrés Crosas. Only 2,400 sheets of the $10-$10-$10-$20 sheets were issued, out of the 15,000 total notes issued across all types and denominations.

The auction features selections from some extraordinary collections, including the Golden State Collection — a 150-lot trove that includes an example of one of the most popular designs in the hobby: a Fr. 377 $100 1890 Treasury Note PMG Very Fine 30, which as a design type is known as a “watermelon note” because of the shape of the zeroes on the reverse.

The Golden State Collection represents one of the finest offerings ever of Large Size Legal Tender Notes, Silver Certificates and Treasury Notes. Most are finest known, or finest offered in years. It is capped by the Fr. 187j $1,000 1880 Legal Tender PMG Choice Very Fine 35 that is tied for the finest known example and the finest offered at auction in more than a decade. This 19th-century high denomination was one of the last notes needed to complete the Golden State Collection.

Other highlights from the Golden State Collection include, but are not limited to:

• A Fr. 2407 $500 1928 Gold Certificate. PMG Choice Uncirculated 64 EPQ

• A Fr. 376 $50 1891 Treasury Note PMG Very Fine 20

• A Fr. 2408 $1,000 1928 Gold Certificate. PMG Choice Uncirculated 63

• A Fr. 355 $2 1890 Treasury Note PMG Gem Uncirculated 66 EPQthat is tied for the finest known at PMG for the type

• A Fr. 315 $20 1886 Silver Certificate PMG About Uncirculated 55that is tied for the finest known 1886 “Closed Back” $20 silver certificate

Another collection in the auction is the The Highland Park Collection of Small Size US Currency - Part 2 - Federal Reserve and Emergency Banknotes. The first part of the Highland Park Collection of Small Size US Currency was sold in Heritage’s FUN Currency Signature® Auction in January 2024. The offering follows the first, chock full of finest known notes, and in some cases, the finest ever offered at auction.

Highlights in the collection include, but are not limited to:

• A The finest ever offered at auction Fr. 2301* $5 1934 Mule Hawaii Federal Reserve Star Note. PMG Gem Uncirculated 65 EPQ

• A rare Fr. 2308* $10 1934 Mule North Africa Silver Certificate Star. PMG Very Fine 25 EPQ

• A Fr. 2201-K* $500 1934 Federal Reserve Star Note. PCGS Banknote Extremely Fine 40 Details

On a lighter and no less incredible note, the Willamette Collection Part IV is the first installment of a great many “odd denominations.”

“In the United States, we have had a consistent number of denominations used in commerce for nearly 150 years. One of our most common colloquially used idioms is, ‘phony as a $3 bill.’ They existed, as well as denominations like 3/90¢, 44¢, $9, $13, $3,000 and more,” says Johnston. “The Willamette offering is the most complete grouping ever assembled and will be offered in this auction and a special Showcase Auction in August.”

Some of the top lots from the collection include, but are not limited to:

• A Philadelphia, PA- Bank of the United States (3rd), Payable in New York $3,000 Post Note Dec. 15, 1840 G104 PMG About Uncirculated 55 that was payable 12 months after date

• A A New York, NY- Phenix Bank (of the City of New York) $13 18__ G112 Proof PMG About Uncirculated 53once called so rare as to be virtually uncollectible

• A Pennsylvania Bank of North America August 6, 1789 $3/90 (3 Pence) Haxby G16 PMG Choice Uncirculated 63

• A The only Brooklyn, NY- Atlantic Bank $11 18__ G12 Proof PMG About Uncirculated 55, with a provenance that goes all the way back to the institutional Western Reserve Historical Society collection auctions over two decades ago, ever offered at Heritage Auctions

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