Harry W. Bass, Jr. Collection

Part I

May 7-9, 1999

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SESSION ONE

Friday Evening, May 7, 6:00 PM Sharp

United States Currency: Lots 1-295

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United States Currency

The Bass Collection Currency

The paper money in the Harry Bass Collection is, in a word, incredible. Nearly all of the notes are important, several are unique. Each and every one is significant. Off the market for many years (some for upward of two generations), the present offering will forever stand as a landmark in the paper money field.

Harry Bass had the opportunity to select notes from two of the greatest collections ever formed, that of Robert A. Schermerhorn and that of William A. Philpott, Jr. By one of those interesting coincidences of numismatic history, both of these gentlemen lived in Dallas.

In addition, Harry bought other choice notes here and there, using his sharp eye, keen sense of discrimination, and his awareness of market history and availability to acquire pieces that would be recognized later for their true rarity and desirability. It is only in the past 10 to 20 years that the collecting of currency has changed from a niche to a very important, indeed major segment of American numismatics. The evolution is overdue and is justified, as currency notes are every bit as interesting and historical as are rare coins. We expect that as years go by, the Society of Paper Money Collectors, The Bank Note Reporter, various dealers and auctioneers, and a wide community of enthusiasts will combine their efforts and talents to further increase the popularity of these notes. Meanwhile, the pedigree, "From the Bass Collection" will endure and will make any and all notes in this sale very special from a numismatic viewpoint.

The following commentary relates to the collection and appreciation of federal paper money over the years. Information concerning the notes themselves and their significance in American commerce will be found under the category headings and individual descriptions of the Bass Collection currency.

Numismatists and Paper Money: The 19th Century

The collecting of United States coins began to be a popular pastime in a significant way in 1857, when the old copper ly large cent was discontinued and the new, small copper-nickel Flying Eagle cent took its place. All of a sudden (really, it happened within the space of just a few months) hundreds of citizens desired to pluck one coin of each different date from circulation. In practice, most were able to build a set dating back to about 1816, except for the very elusive 1823. Earlier dates beginning in 1793, while not unknown, were few and far between, and when seen they were apt to be worn nearly smooth. Thus, in the late 1850s the field of professional numismatics took form, with John K. Curtis of New York City being the first dealer of prominence, soon joined by Augustus B. Sage, Edward Cogan, Alfred Robinson, W. Elliot Woodward, and a dozen or so others. By the middle years of the Civil War in the 1860s, rare coins were a dynamic area of collecting interest.

Not so with United States currency.

In the 1860s, when changes to the American currency system were occurring at an almost mind-boggling rate, there was virtually no interest in collecting such paper money, although, in time, some numismatists began to save Postage Currency and Fractional Currency notes. So far as the writer knows, not a single collector aspired to save a crisp new Demand Note, or an Interest Bearing Note, or a Legal Tender note when such currency first appeared in the channels of commerce. Regarding National Bank notes, while some bank officials may have saved notes as souvenirs now and then, there was absolutely no numismatic interest. And, if during the First Charter period of the 1860s some collector had wanted to form a set of one each of every note-issuing bank of a particular state, there was no source of information available. No one had the slightest clue, other than seeing a note in person, as to whether a given bank issued notes and, if so, in what denominations.

Reflective of the general lack of interest in the numismatic sector concerning currency, even as late as 1894-by which time the collecting of coins had reached a high order of sophistication-a popular book published by J.W. Scott & Co., a guide viewed as essential to numismatists, did not include federal issues, except for Fractional Currency. The reference is to Scott's Standard Paper Money Catalogue, which, in keeping with 19th-century tradition, also had a long subtitle, Including Colonial and Continental Notes, Old Bank Bills, Issues by Merchants, Corporations, Etc., Confederate Bills, U.S. Fractional Currency, and with the further sub-sub titles, Illustrated, Fourth Edition; carefully revised and corrected, all attainable specimens being marked with the price at which they can be obtained from the publishers, no mention was made of Legal Tender notes, Demand notes, or anything else. Even the section relating to Fractional Currency occupied just 2-1/2 pages. In fairness to the Scott Standard Paper Money Catalogue, quite a bit of space was devoted to obsolete paper money, including 6-1/2 pages to private and other notes issued within the state of Virginia.

The masterpiece of research by John W. Adams, United States Numismatic Literature, Volume I, Nineteenth Century Auction Catalogues, describes the great publications of that era, describing each by the categories it contained, including large cents, half cents, colonials, and other disciplines, among which is U.S. paper money. Within each classification, a catalogue with high quality material for a specialist in that area would be given an "A," one with medium content a "B," and one of at least modest significance a "C." The master cataloguer of the early part of the period, W. Elliot Woodward, whose publications are so highly desired today, was active from 1860 to 1890. Not one of his catalogues had even a mention of paper money in Adams' evaluation, not even a gentleman's C. Ditto for the entire corpus of Chapman brothers catalogues from the 1870s to the 1920s! In fact, only a few stray mentions of currency are given in Adams' entire text. To put it another way, a reference library of 19th century auction catalogues containing significant federal currency notes, face values from $1 upward, could be carried in one hand!

Numismatists and Paper Money: 1901-1952

A decade or two later, in the early 20th century, interest in large-size federal notes remained negligible. Farran Zerbe, in his traveling exhibition, Money of the World (which later became the Chase Bank Money Museum and, still later, was dispersed with most things going to the Smithsonian Institution), was one of the few interested in the subject. However, much of his display was focused upon obsolete notes, not federal issues. A giant in the field of paper money was David C. Wismer, of Hatfield, PA, whose series on paper money spanned about a decade in The Numismatist. Again, his interest was in obsolete currency issued by banks prior to the 1860s, not in federal notes.

An early entrant to federal currency was George H. Blake, who in 1908-it was about time-published the first listing of United States paper currency. The circulation was not wide, and interest languished, although from then through the 1930s a number of specialists were drawn into the field. In the 1930s, Blake was tapped by the heirs of Virgil M. Brand-his brothers Horace and Armin-to appraise Brand's holdings of currency. Blake then offered the appraisal price less 10% to buy it. Horace was warm to the idea, but Armin was not, and later the notes were marketed through B. Max Mehl. Meanwhile, larger denomination notes had been spent (read this and weep; the same thing happened to many of Brand's high-denomination gold coins).

Albert A. Grinnell, who was born in New York, became a principal of Grinnell Brothers Music Stores in Detroit-a chain which sold music boxes, phonographs, player pianos, and much more-simply loved paper money, and formed a truly immense collection. He seems to have been particularly active from about 1911 through the Depression years of the 1930s, when with virtually no competition he acquired many National Bank notes and, with only a few other collectors in the field, bought many Legal Tender and Coin notes, Silver Certificates, and other items.

In June 1943, B. Max Mehl sold some coins and other items from the Grinnell cabinet, somewhat misleadingly indicating that this was the most extensive collection of United States currency, which it was, but Mehl was not selling it! There must have been a disagreement between Grinnell and Mehl, for the main paper money collection was consigned to Barney Bluestone, a Syracuse, NY, dealer who had been a coin dealer since about 1926 and a second-tier coin auctioneer since 1931. Bluestone did indeed handle many fine items in his own time, but his catalogues were not particularly memorable, and only the most dedicated scholar is apt to know much about him today. Sold in a series of seven sales from 1944 through 1946, the Grinnell Collection auctions attracted only about a half dozen active bidders at each event. William Donlon later recalled that the only buyers on hand were F.C.C. Boyd, Harley Freeman, James Wade, Richard Safflin, and Herman K. Crofoot, in addition to Donlon himself. Of course, these names were in themselves a formidable line-up.

In this instance, it is probably correct to say that the Grinnell Collection is more famous in retrospect-it has achieved legendary status among modern scholars-than it was during the time of the sale itself. And, its status in history is certainly justified. Today we can only reflect upon the treasures that were offered, playing to an audience that numbered just a handful of bidders. Today in 1999 we can only read and, perhaps, weep at what the Grinnell Collection contained, this being but a sample: 35 National Gold Bank notes, one $100 "Watermelon" Coin Note of 1890 and two $1,000 "Grand Watermelon" Coin Notes, 3,300 National Bank Notes (including 750 from Grinnell's home state of New York and 260 from his adopted state of Michigan), and 43 examples of major currency errors, including two sheets of notes with $10 faces and $5 backs which, offered in the final sale, realized $3,550 each, or probably as much as a 1913 Libertrobabty Hed nickel would have been worth at the time!

In the meantime, Colonel E.H.R. Green, who began collecting coins in the World War I era, and who at one time owned all five known 1913 Liberty Head nickels (and, well-known in the philatelic field, all 100 of the known 1918 24¢ inverted air mail stamps), also became a serious collector of currency. However, he made the mistake-as a number of others did-of storing many (but not all) of his notes in transparent cellulose acetate holders (the same sort of material that was used in the early days for motion picture film). These holders chemically reacted with the notes, and made them brittle. As a result, when his estate was evaluated after his death on June 8, 1936, it was found that many prized notes-including great rarities-had literally crumbled to fragments, chips, and dust. It took eight armored trucks to move all of the valuables in his estate to a vault in the Chase Bank, New York City, for safekeeping. Eric P. Newman, a law student in St. Louis, desired to obtain a St. Louis Refunding Certificate issued in the 1860s, and wrote to the Chase Bank to see if he could buy the Green specimen. He was advised that this was not possible, but it was possible to buy a group of currency in which the St. Louis rarity would be included! This opened the door to many purchases, which were originated by Newman and from which many coins and notes were then sold through Burdette G. Johnson, St. Louis dealer. (This is from a recollection given by Newman at a testimonial dinner tendered for him at the Explorers' Club, New York City, by the American Numismatic Society, October 25, 1996). Johnson was in the right place at the right time in the 1930s, for earlier in the decade he was one of two appraisers (Henry Chapman was the other) of the Virgil M. Brand estate.

In Chicago, cosmetics baron Alden Scott Boyer formed a large and impressive collection of federal money through the $100 denomination, then circa 1932 sold it to B. Max Mehl, who in turn sold it to James M. Wade of New York City, assistant cashier of the Chase Bank. In 1956, the Wade Collection was bought en bloc by Aubrey and Adeline Bebee; many notes from this holding are now in the ANA Museum. In a related numismatic context (as Woodin is mentioned many times in the pattern offering in the present catalogue), after William H. Woodin's widow died in 1941, Wade brokered hundreds of Woodin's pattern coins in a transaction with F.C.C. Boyd.

T. James Clarke, a paper box manufacturer in Jamestown, New York, gathered many fine 1861 and later federal notes as part of his display which ranged from colonial days onward.

The 1940s and 1950s brought a new wave of enthusiasts. In New Jersey William T. Anton, Sr., exhibited many scarce and rare notes and was justifiably proud of them. Bill Donlon, who was in the amusement business in Utica, was another aficionado, later publishing a book on this subject. Louis S. Werner, the New York dealer, typically had some interesting notes in stock.

Perhaps spurred by the backwater of the Grinnell Collection and the availability of notes on the market, more and more dealers added such to their offerings. Meanwhile, Texas became a focal point of interest with Amon G. Carter, Jr., in Fort Worth, sparing no effort to put together a tremendous holding, perhaps to continue the family numismatic traditions without duplicating what his father had done (rare coins). In time, the Carter Collection became known as the finest of its kind. In Dallas, Robert F. Schermerhorn and W.A. Philpott, Jr., both of whom will be discussed later in the present introduction, were central to the specialty. In Texas, Tom Bain was also early in the currency game as were, by the end of the 1950s, Bob Medlar, John N. Rowe III, and Mike Brownlee.

THE Book (1953)

The sea change in the hobby occurred in 1953 with the publication by Robert Friedberg of Paper Money of the United States. For the first time in a popularly circulated work, notes were arranged in order by legislative authorization (Demand Notes, Legal Tender Notes, Cond Not�ompouerest Treasury Notes, etc.) and within those series by years and signature combinations. Values were given. Illustrations were provided by those active in the field at the time, including Schermerhorn and Philpott, certain of the same notes later going into the Bass Collection and being offered in the present catalogue.

The Friedberg book was immediately accepted, and subsequent editions were published at intervals, typically of three or four years. Bob Friedberg was a numismatic dynamo from the 1930s onward and worked with his brother, Jack, in the management of the Coin and Currency Institute, Inc., published several other books and, most absorptive of his time, operated leased coin shops or boutiques in 41 department stores. Another of his trade styles was the Capitol Coin Company, operated in the 1940s, which was a supplier to King Farouk of Egypt. At the time, Farouk was the god from whom all blessings flowed, money-wise, and to have the king as a client was tantamount to having a good business year. His foremost supplier was Hans M.F. Schulman, but a handful of other dealers got their share, including Friedberg.

Writers and Researchers

The Paper Money of the United States book opened the floodgates to a riptide of interest, and after 1953 the hobby of currency collecting became widely recognized. There was a lot of work to do, as reflected by Robert H. Lloyd, who in January 1934, in an article, "Collecting Paper Money," rued such listings as "$1 bill, red seal, Unc." The type of note, signature combination, date of issue, and other information was not provided! Lloyd reminded prospective cataloguers that: "Signature combinations are of major importance and run throughout the series. Comparatively few issues are found with only one set of signatures, while some issues have a dozen or so." He further stated that currency should be described as "United States Note," "Silver Certificate," or in some other appropriate manner. Numismatics was still in the antediluvian era, perhaps further forward than in the days of Woodward and the Chapman brothers, but hardly with any degree of sophistication.

Then came changes. Over the years, especially since the 1950s, much attention has been paid to federal paper money. Students such as Douglas B. Ball, D.O. Barrett, Colin R. Bruce III, Elvira Clain-Stefanelli, Courtney Coffing, James J. Curto, Grover Criswell, Herman K. Crofoot (for whom F.E. Spinner items were a specialty), Richard Doty, Jack Fisher, Dennis Forgue, Martin Gengerke (who kept a data base on many varieties of notes), Nathan H. Goldstein, Ted R. Hammer, Gene Hessler, Dr. John Hickman, William R. Higgins, Jr., Carroll E. Hilliard, Richard T. Hoober, Peter Huntoon, Charles M. Johnson, Don C. Kelly, Theodore Kemm, Chet Krause, Frank A. Limpert (whose notable work, United States Paper Money Old Series, 1861-1923, was published in 1948), Robert H. Lloyd, William Logan, Clifford Mishler, Thomas F. Morris, Dwight L. Musser, Ed Neuce, Eric P. Newman, Dean Oakes, Charles O'Donnell, Leonard M. Owen, J. Roy Pennell, Jr., Robert V. Polito, J.E. Ralph (of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing), Robert M. Ramsey, Wayte Raymond, Matt Rothert (collector and author who in 1955-1957 was responsible for having IN GOD WE TRUST added to currency), Fred Schwan, Neil Shafer, Austin M. Sheheen, Arlie R. Slabaugh, Glenn Smedley, Steve Taylor, Louis Van Belkum, George W. Wait, Gerome Walton, M.O. Warns, Bob Wilhite, and others-and this is just a short list of writers and researchers on the subject from the formative years through the 1970s-each helped to spread the word.

To the preceding group can be added many fine dealers who took up paper money as a specialty, collectors who mounted displays and exhibits, and organizers of shows and conventions. Today's auction catalogues are a far cry from what Robert H. Lloyd observed in the 1930s, and often they contain excellent illustrations, rarity information, and other useful data.

In Recent Decades

At the American Numismatic Association Convention in Atlanta in August 1961, local dealer Blaise Dantone hosted a party at his fine home. This clashed with a scheduled get-together of currency enthusiasts who had hoped to meet the same evening to lay the ground work for a special interest group. Dantone invited the currency people to come to the festivities, and among the clinking of glasses, laughter, and other good times, the Society of Paper Money Collectors was formed. A steering committee composed of H.R. (Hank) Biecuik, chairman, Dr. Julian Blanchard, James J. Curto, Eric P. Newman and Glenn B. Smedley, was charged to launch the group, which it did.

Since that time, the SOPMC and its aptly named journal, Paper Money, has served as a focal point for research articles, advertisements, news and gossip, and other information relating to the hobby. A periodical, The Bank Note Reporter, was launched by Grover Criswell in January 1973 and has served the hobby well. Harry Jones, who advertised in the very first issue, is still prominent as a dealer today.

In 1974, the first edition of Gene Hessler's Comprehensive Catalog of United States Paper Money was published and contained much historical information not readily found elsewhere; ditto for his related book, United States Essay, Proof, and Specimen Notes. Beginning in the 1970s, The Currency Dealer Newsletter has served to furnish monthly price quotations, especially on "type" notes. It was perhaps a logical jump from that point to the staging of specialized conventions (especially the International Paper Money Show held in Memphis), devoted to paper money, and the formation in 1985 of the Professional Currency Dealers Association (PCDA). Meanwhile, Krause Publications of Iola, Wisconsin, put out regular editions of its guide, Standard Catalog of U.S. Paper Money. The PCDA quickly became the paper money equivalent of the longer-established (since 1955) Professional Numismatists Guild and has done much to advance interest in the field, including the publication of informative brochures.

Perhaps the most recent step in the evolution of the hobby has been the formation by Jesse Lipka of the Currency Grading and Authentication Service.

Still unresolved is what to call a paper money collector. Syngraphist has been suggested as has notaphilist and scripophilist. Years ago in the 1950s the informal term was rag picker, but that is not heard much these days.

While a complete library of significant 19th-century federal paper money auction catalogues could be carried in one hand, today it would take a large box, and two hands to carry it, to cover just the catalogues of the past 25 years. How far we have come! What a fine heritage we all have to draw upon!

Relative to the Bass Collection of currency, some expanded comments are given below concerning two especially important collectors of years ago: Robert F. Schermerhorn and William A. Philpott, Jr.

The Schermerhorn Collection

After the passing of Robert F. Schermerhorn, who also lived in the Highland Park area of Dallas, Harry Bass had an early opportunity to acquire notes from his estate. Included were many prime rarities and a few pieces unique as to their variety or preservation. Some of these notes were later used by Robert Friedberg when he created his book, United States Paper Money, which in time would become the standard work in the paper money field.

Bob Schermerhorn was born in Chicago, later moved to Minneapolis, and in 1929 graduated from Princeton University. Perhaps while there he absorbed some of the aura of the Garrett family of numismatists, who had close ties to Princeton. Or, alternatively, he may have been a collector at birth, for some say that certain chromosomes affect the passion for rare numismatic items. One thing is certain: Once a collector, always a collector. In his time, Schermerhorn acquired many items from A to Z, and we mention just two delicacies: a gem MCMVII Ultra High Relief $20 bought from the William H. Woodin estate via Abe Kosoff for $3,000 in the early 1940s, and an 1849-C Open Wreath gold dollar he acquired about the same time. The writer (QDB) recalls talking with Bob Schermerhorn about his 1849-C gold dollar in the mid-1950s, and a few minutes later receiving a telephone call from his friend and neighbor in Dallas, Mr. Reynolds, who also had a specimen of this rarity! This was remarkable, as only three or four pieces were known to exist at that time.

In the 1930s, Robert F. Schermerhorn lived in Big Spring, Texas, where he served as mayor, perhaps a reflection of his ambition and energy. Circa 1940 he moved again, to Dallas, where he lived until his passing on August 28, 1957.

Schermerhorn was a "wheeler-dealer" in the old Texas fashion, and achieved success in several fields including in the challenging field of independent oil exploration and discovery. He dipped his toe into professional numismatics, and was the backer of the Dallas Stamp & Coin Company, by that time having quite a bit of experience in the field. In early 1954, he joined other Americans (Abe Kosoff, Sol Kaplan, Ambassador and Mrs. R. Henry Norweb, Hans M.F. Schulman, John J. Pittman, James P. Randall, Paul Wittlin, Gaston DiBello, and Maurice Storck) who attended the King Farouk "Palace Collection" auction in Cairo, Egypt, conducted by Sotheby's from their London office. At that time his business specialty was choice and rare United States gold coins, while his personal specialty was United States paper money.

With a liberal budget and an eye for quality, Schermerhorn cherrypicked many currency offerings of the 1940s and 1950s, securing for himself many prizes. At the 1956 American Numismatic Convention held in Chicago-the largest ANA show up to that time-Schermerhorn carried away the Best of Show Award by displaying many of the same notes that were later sold to Harry Bass and which are offered in the pages to follow. Also displayed were plate proofs of the Series of 1896 "Educational Notes," which at present have been retained by the Harry W. Bass, Jr. Research Foundation and which will be featured in the sylloge of the Foundation's holdings to be published in the year 2000.

Notes from the Philpott Collection

Certain currency items in the Bass Collection are from the collection of William A. Philpott, Jr., directly as well as via notes Philpott sold to Schermerhorn. From the 1940s to the 1960s, Philpott, who for 50 years served as secretary of the Texas Bankers Association. His forte was currency research, and over a long period of time he published many important articles on the subject. For example, the August 1959 issue of The Numismatist contained "Signatures on U.S. Paper Currency," by Philpott, which discussed various Register-Treasurer signature combinations and proposed a scale for rarity. According to the author, Speelman-White was most common on notes, while the rarest two were Rosecrans-Morgan and Jones-Woods.

Philpott, who was born in 1885 and moved to Dallas in 1914 after serving a stint as a newspaper reporter and editor in San Antonio, was a genial fellow, and in time became well-liked at the roundtable of Dallas-area numismatists, perhaps sharing honors with Brad Mills as co-host. Now and again he would drive to Fort Worth and visit B. Max Mehl, a lifetime friend. Mehl sold some of Philpott's coins and duplicates in 1946.

Philpott was perhaps the first collector to place extreme importance on the grade of a note. In advertisements he placed in The Numismatist in the 1950s, in which he parceled out many items from his collection, great emphasis was placed on this aspect. He was also keenly aware of grade vs. availability, and if, for example, a well-circulated note was the only one of its kind or seemed to be impossibly rare, he would acquire it if possible, and cherish it dearly. As Philpott was one of the first numismatists to be aware of the rarity of National Bank notes, he took advantage of many opportunities that would never be repeated. In the present offering, most of the Texas notes from National Banks were once in the Philpott Collection.

Harry Bass acquired many Philpott notes, some directly, others via Schermerhorn. Philpott's currency exhibit took away the Best of Show Award at the 1953 ANA Convention, which that year was held in Dallas. He died on October 10, 1971, and in 1974 was elected to the ANA Hall of Fame.

The Bass Collection: A Reiteration

The present offering of the Bass Collection of federal currency from 1861 onward brings to the present generation of numismatists many notes that have been off the market for a generation or more, with some never before appearing in a public auction sale.

Today in 1999 the interest in American paper money is at an all-time high. There is an atmosphere of enthusiasm, a great deal of energy, and an ever-widening base of individual collectors and enthusiasts. It is a good time to collect currency. It is hoped that the present catalogue will enhance your enjoyment of this branch of numismatics, and that success will attend your efforts to acquire special notes of interest.

Harry Bass enjoyed collecting these notes, and we have enjoyed presenting them to you. An effort has been made not only to present these notes in fine numismatic style, but also with accompanying annotations and historical information that may be of interest.

Credits: John Pack was the lead cataloguer of the notes and furnished nearly all of the descriptions. The editor (QDB) added introductory material and certain numismatic and historical information. Currency Grading and Authentication, Inc., assigned grades to most notes and encased those in a protective Mylar envelope (which, if desired, can be removed by successful bidders; meanwhile, the CGA grades and envelopes give a third-party opinion as to condition, and, equally important, protect the notes from handling or smudging); CGA (Jesse Lipka, president) provided supplementary research information as well. Photography was by Douglas Plasencia. The entire Bowers and Merena organization helped with research and facilitation.


Demand Notes

Introduction

As a class, Demand Notes are very rare. Some varieties, such as the early issues with handwritten "for the," are exceedingly rare. Of these, Robert Friedberg, in Paper Money of the United States, wrote: "Today, only a few survive and they are of the highest rarity and greatest historical interest." Not even the greatest currency collections are apt to include even a single example with handwritten "for the." The Bass Collection includes several, including a unique Cincinnati note! Moreover, the Bass Collection includes 17 Demand Notes, plus several Proof notes. In contrast, the Albert A. Grinnell Collection had only 14 Demand Notes. Further, the Bass Collection has four notes with "for the" handwritten; Grinnell had only two.

The Demand Notes were payable at five different federal depositories, those located at New York City, Philadelphia, Boston, Cincinnati, and St. Louis. Only a few notes were sent to the latter two locations, the result that notes with these imprints are scarcely heard of today. The Bass Collection has several, all of which are fabulous rarities.

In the modern era relatively little about Demand Notes has appeared in catalogues, due primarily to the lack of any reason for devoting space to them: notes are not available, except occasionally.

Thus, the following historical information may be of interest:

The Money Problem (1861-1862)

During the Civil War, the incredible costs associated with the conflict made it impossible for the floating supply of gold and silver coins to sustain the demands of the military and commerce. As Demand Notes entered circulation, "hard money"-gold and silver coins-was perceived to be more valuable in comparison to paper money. On December 28, 1861, the federal government and banks in New York City stopped paying out gold coins, after which such coins sold at a premium in terms of paper money. In early 1862, payment of silver coins was suspended as well. That left the little copper-nickel Flying Eagle and Indian cents as the only metallic representatives of Uncle Sam in the channels of commerce. In the second week of July 1862, these disappeared as well. The government continued the suspension of specie (minted gold and silver coins) until the 1870s.

The summer of 1862 saw a vast outpouring of coinage substitutes, including printed cardboard tickets, federal postage stamps inside of small printed envelopes giving the value on the front along with a merchant's advertisement, encased postage stamps (in brass frames fronted by mica; patented by John Gault), and, especially, cent-sized copper (mostly ) tokens bearing advertisements and political slogans. Soon, these were supplemented by federal Postage Currency notes (1862) which in turn were replaced with Fractional Currency notes (beginning in 1863).

In the meantime, many United States silver and gold coins fled to other countries, and in Canada, American silver coins were a glut! The tiny island of Zanzibar off the east coast of Africa was awash in United States gold coins in 1862-3, a little-known fact. In the 1860s, various relative values were attached to federal paper money issues, silver coins, and gold coins. Silver and gold, which did not circulate, could be bought from specie and bullion dealers in larger cities, always at a sharp premium in terms of paper money. At one time it took over $250 in federal paper money to buy $100 face value in gold coins.

Meanwhile, during the Civil War the Treasury Department continued its issuance of various types of paper money, with the 1861 Demand Notes being the earliest major entry.

Demand Notes (1861-1862)

The Act of July 17, 1861 (authorizing denominations not less than $10), supplemented on August 5, 1861 (allowing the $5 denomination), provided for the issuance of $50,000,000 in Demand Notes (as they came to be called), augmented by an additional $10,000,000 on February 12, 1862. The $50,000,000 was part of a $250,000,000 loan, mostly in the form of bonds, authorized by Congress to help finance the Union effort in the Civil War. These Demand Notes were, in effect, loans that were in smaller denominations so as to be sold far and wide in the North.

These notes were intended for use at par to pay any and all obligations, including customs duties on imported merchandise. The reverse of each note was printed in green ink, quickly giving rise to the popular term greenback, although this was more widely applied to the later Legal Tender notes issued in far greater quantities. Although it was not stated on the notes, they were exchangeable at par with gold coins, for reasons given later in the present account.

Characteristics of the Notes

Unlike nearly all other types of currency, Demand Notes did not include the Treasury Seal or the names of the treasurer of the United States (secretary of the Treasury) and the register of the Treasury. Instead, others signed "for the" treasurer of the United States and "for the" register. On very early notes, the words "for the" were written in hand; soon thereafter, the inscription was added to the printing plates. Denominations were but three: $5, $10, and $20. The face of each bore the engraved inscription, "Aug. 10, 1861" (on the $5) and, in full, "August 10, 1861," on the two higher values. It is presumed that this is the day scheduled for the initial release of the notes. The designs, quantities of notes printed, and the depositories designated are as follows (figures, taken from Gene Hessler's U.S. Paper Money, are incomplete and do not total the $60,000,000 worth of such notes eventually issued):

$5 Demand Notes of 1861

The face of this note depicts, on the left, Thomas Crawford's statue of Freedom (from atop the Capitol dome), engraved on steel by Owen G. Hanks. At the right is the portrait of Alexander Hamilton engraved after a painting by Archibald Robinson. These and all other Demand Notes were printed on contract by the American Bank Note Company, New York City.

$5 Boston: 1,340,000 printed.

$5 Cincinnati: 44,000

$5 New York City: 1,500,000.

$5 Philadelphia: 1,400,000

$5 St. Louis: 76,000

Total printed: 4,360,000; face value $2,180,000

$10 Demand Notes of 1861

The $10 notes have three illustrative vignettes, as compared to two on the $5 and just one on the $20. The face of this note, on the left, depicts the portrait of Lincoln, facing right, an engraving by Frederick Girsch from a photograph taken by C.S. German. At the top center is an eagle with a shield, a vignette brought to the American Bank Note Co. in 1858 by one of its founding firms, Toppan, Carpenter, & Co. At the right is the figure of an artist, standing, holding a rectangular easel.

$10 Boston: 660,000

$10: Cincinnati: 75,000

$10 New York City: 640,000

$10 Philadelphia: 580,000

$10 St. Louis: 48,000

Total printed: 2,003,000; face value $20,030,000

$20 Demand Notes of 1861

The face of this note is highlighted by a central vignette depicting the personification, America, engraved by Albert Jones.

$20 Boston: 300,000

$20: Cincinnati: 25,000

$20 New York City: 320,000

$20 Philadelphia: 240,000

$20 St. Louis: 25,000

Total printed: 910,000 notes; face value $18,200,000.

Grand total of $5, $10, and $20 denominations: 7,273,000 printed; face value $40,410,000.

Additional notes were issued, not delineated above, to the total authorization of $60,000,000.

Demand Notes Issued

The first Demand Notes were paid out in August 1861. The very first notes were used to pay government salaries in Washington. Soon thereafter, notes were given to Union soldiers, defense contractors, and others to whom the government was obligated. Merchants and commercial interests in the larger eastern cities were very skeptical of these new, unfamiliar notes and in many instances declined to receive them (the Confederacy had its own remedy for such people; see below). Railroads would not accept them, and various banks in New York City united in their opposition of the paper. This played some havoc with government employees and soldiers.

A circular letter was sent by the Treasury Department to the assistant U.S. treasurers in Boston, New York City, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, and St. Louis, directing them to redeem Demand Notes in gold coin, if requested. This seemed to settle the situation, and from then until December 28, 1861, Demand Notes and gold $5, $10, and $20 pieces had equivalent values. This circular letter was to become very important after December 28, 1861.

On September 3, 1861, General Winfield Scott issued a related circular to Army troops, noting in part, that:

"The Treasury Department, to meet future payments to the troops, is about to supply, besides coin, Treasury Notes in five, 10, and 20 dollars, as good as gold in all banks and Government offices throughout the United States, and most convenient for transmission by mail from the officers and men to their families at home."

The Demand Notes continued to be paid out into circulation, and by December 1, 1861, some $24,550,325 had been distributed. By the time that specie payments were suspended, December 28th, the amount was $33,460,000. By April 1, 1862, the entire $60,000,000 worth had been printed and issued, according to historian John Jay Knox, but the above-listed figures of denominations and issuance come to just slightly over $40,000,000.

After December 28, 1861, there was some delay when Demand Notes were presented for redemption in gold, although such exchange was eventually made based upon the Treasury Department circular sent out in late summer 1861.

An unanticipated result (and little known numismatic fact today) was that after December 28, 1861, Demand Notes became highly prized, and after Legal Tender notes were issued (in April 1862, and not redeemable in gold or usable at par for customs duties), Demand Notes sold for a sharp premium, especially after the coin-hoarding panic of July 1862. Almost immediately after the Legal Tender notes were circulated, the Treasury Department began retiring as many Demand Notes as it could, these in addition to those it exchanged for gold coins in the first few months of 1862. Within a year after they were issued, Demand Notes were rare.

The following are selected dates and the value that $100 in Demand Notes sold for in relation to the new Legal Tender notes (adapted from Hunt's Merchants' Magazine):

1862, March 1: $102.50

1862, June 7: $104.12

1862, July 5: $109.88

1862, August 2: $115.25

1862, September 6: $119.25

1862, October 4: $123.00

1863, February 7: $157.88

1863, April 4: $155.25.

Redemption of Demand Notes took place quickly, and the following table indicates that the original issue of $60,000,000 face value was 99% retired by July 1, 1865! Selected fiscal years (the Treasury and its various branches, including the mints, operated on a fiscal year July 1 to the following June 30) showing the amount of Demand Notes outstanding:

1862, July 1: $53,040,000

1863, July 1: $3,351,019

1864, July 1: $780,999

1865, July 1: $472,603

1866, July 1: $272,162

1867, July 1: $208,432

1868, July 1: $141,723

1869, July 1: $123,739

1870, July 1: $106,256

1875, July 1: $70,107

1880, July 1: $60,535

1885, January (sic; half-year): $58,240.

It can be seen from the above, that redemptions after 1880 averaged less than $500 per year. Later, the Treasury Department wrote many notes off its books. Today, only a few hundred such notes exist, mainly of the $5 denomination.

The Confederate States of America

While the depreciation of paper money was an annoyance to citizens in the North, the inhabitants of the South had even more difficult times. Confederate paper money traded (in terms of Union paper money) at a 5% discount when first issued, but soon dropped in value to the point at which it took $10 in C.S.A. paper money to buy a $1 Union note, then $20, then $50, and finally several hundred dollars difference in ratio. Some very interesting stories were related about federal paper money being sent to Union prisoners held at one or another of the Confederate prison camps; these notes were readily bartered to guards.

The Union's finances were bolstered by tens of millions of dollars arriving yearly from San Francisco, the entrepôt for gold commerce. The Confederacy had no counterpart, although some small amounts of the precious metal continued to be mined in the hills of Georgia and North Carolina. On the international markets, the Union could display metallic strength, while the Confederacy dealt mainly with hopes and promises. In 1991, Douglas B. Ball's master work, Financial Failure and Confederate Defeat, was published and gives much valuable information in this regard.

It is worth mentioning that few if any Demand Notes were sent to Europe, for the financial interests there were primarily affianced to the Confederate States of America (which was able to float bonds in England and which sent large quantities of paper currency there). Nor did government banks in other foreign countries want these notes or any others of the era, as paper to them was precarious in value; they demanded gold or silver coins (silver being the metal of choice in China, gold mostly elsewhere). Regarding the situation in Europe, Congressman James G. Blaine of Maine was to later write:

"Confederate bonds were more popular in England than the bonds of the United States. The world's treasuries were closed against us. The banks of Europe, with the Rothschilds in the lead, would not touch our securities. The united clientage included the investors of Great Britain and the Continent, and a popular loan could not be effected without their aid and cooperation. We were engaged, therefore, in a three-fold contest, a military one with the Confederacy, a diplomatic and moral one with the governments of England and France, a financial one with the money power of Europe.

Although neither England nor France became an open military ally of the Confederacy, they provided much help for the "lost cause," England building and France sheltering the C.S.S. Alabama, the most notorious raider of the Civil War, being but one of many examples.

Meanwhile, the Confederacy was issuing its own paper money, $1,000,000 authorized on March 9, 1861, and $20,000,000 on May 16 of the same year, enforcing their circulation by stating that not to receive these at par was tantamount to treason and was punishable by death! The Union did not resort to such extremes. However, threats of capital punishment or otherwise, paper notes of both sides soon achieved their own market values in terms of silver and gold coins. Confederate paper money maintained more or less a stable status in 1861, but after the unexpected military loss at Fort Donelson in February 1862, the value and reputation of the notes and related bonds plummeted, and after that time Confederate paper spiraled downward like a falling autumn leaf.

The Bass Collection (Summary)

The historical and the numismatic record indicates that Demand Notes were rare within a few years of their original issuance. The incredible effort by Albert A. Grinnell over a long period of years, with little numismatic competition, yielded him fewer Demand Notes than we offer here. In addition, some beautiful and rare Proof notes highlight the various designs.

 


 

Quality $5 Demand Note

Series of 1861

Payable at New York

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1     $5 Friedberg-1. Demand Note. Series of 1861. Payable at New York. Serial: 43319. Extremely Fine-40 (CGA). The margins are quite close as expected, though none interfere with the design borders. Sharp edges and excellent color. The body of the note retains much of its original crispness. A small pinhole is noted near the center of the bottom margin. Though more available than many of the notes to follow, $5 Demand Notes become very scarce at higher grade levels. The advanced type collector is here faced with an opportunity which seldom occurs at public auction.

From the Robert F. Schermerhorn Collection.

 

Extremely Rare $5 Demand Note

Series of 1861

"For the" Handwritten

Payable at New York

 
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2     $5 F-1a. Demand Note. Series of 1861. Payable at New York. Serial: 969. Extremely Fine-45 (CGA). Erratically cut from the original sheet, the top margin into the design border slightly. Lightly creased with small corner folds. Bright and attractive. Of exceptional quality and one of the finest known examples. Important as the very rare variety with "For the" handwritten, though prohibitively rare when considering the excellent quality of the note. The latest edition of Martin Gengerke's census, United States Paper Money Records, reports the existence of a mere eight examples. This specimen is nothing less than a treasure deserving a place in the collection of a true connoisseur where it will undoubtedly remain a great highlight.

The earliest face plates used to print Demand Notes of 1861 were engraved with the intention of being signed personally by the Treasurer of the United States and the Register of the Treasury. Apparently there was a great oversight on the part of the person or persons who approved the engraved plates, as it clearly would not be possible for the Treasurer and Register to personally sign the hundreds of thousands of notes that would be issued. In place of their original signatures, it was devised that Treasury Department clerks would be authorized to sign for these officers. Due to the wording of the early plates it was necessary for the clerks to hand write "For the" before the printed titles so that the notes read correctly. It was quickly realized that significant time was being lost in handwriting these extra words, thus the plates were re-engraved. Only the earliest Demand Notes are found with "For the" handwritten. These are all extremely rare and recognized as highlights of the Demand Note series.

From the Robert F. Schermerhorn Collection.

 

Unusual Demand Note Proof

Back Design

The First "Greenback"

 
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3     $5 Demand Note. Uniface Proof of back design. Type of F-1. Series of 1861. Crisp Uncirculated. Listed in the Gene Hessler reference, though without an attribution number. Printed on thin India paper and mounted on heavy card. The bold green printing is exceptionally bright. Nice even margins all around. Some disturbances are noted at the corners, the lower right being most significantly impaired by light roughness of the paper and two short tears. A lovely specimen depicting the back design for the $5 Demand Notes to its finest advantage.

Prepared by the American Bank Note Company, as were all of the Demand Notes. Proofs are known of each type of Demand Note, as reported in Gene Hessler's U.S. Essay, Proof and Specimen Notes. For those bidders who may not be familiar with the reference, it is highly recommended reading for any advanced collector of United States currency. Included is detailed information on the title subjects, with many illustrations of these pieces, as well as reproductions of original artists' sketches for designs. Here, indeed, is a unique look at the historical and artistic beginnings of federal currency issues.

From the Robert F. Schermerhorn Collection.

 

Desirable $5 Demand Note

Series of 1861

Payable at Philadelphia

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4     $5 F-2. Demand Note. Series of 1861. Payable at Philadelphia. Serial: 73106. Very Fine-35 (CGA). A few light creases through the body are noted, as are some tiny pinholes at the center. Still the note retains much of its original crispness and the colors remain bright. Very attractive overall. Another of the more available Demand Notes, but again a very desirable note in the grade found here. Only a small handful of survivors grade higher.

From the Robert F. Schermerhorn Collection.

 

High-Grade $5 Demand Note

Series of 1861

Payable at Boston

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5     $5 F-3. Demand Note. Series of 1861. Payable at Boston. Serial: 14617. Very Fine-35 (CGA). Much of the original crispness remains, and at no point is the margin tight enough to interfere with the design. Near perfect centering is an additional bonus. The color remains bright, and overall the note is attractive enough to be considered a higher grade. Many Demand Notes saw heavy circulation, with the result that the vast majority of the survivors in all denominations are well used. Only a precious few of these notes (probably fewer than five) grade higher than this specimen. A high-quality type note worthy of careful consideration.

From the Robert F. Schermerhorn Collection.

 

Extremely Rare $5 Demand Note

Series of 1861

Payable at Cincinnati

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6     $5 F-4. Demand Note. Series of 1861. Payable at Cincinnati. Serial: 4961. Good-4. Restored (CGA). Heavily worn. Though appearing upon first glance to be VG, close inspection reveals a long edge split which is restored on the back. A couple of tiny chinks out of the margin are also noted. The margins are mostly into the design on the face, and only slightly so on the back. The Martin Gengerke census reports just five surviving examples. Clearly a great rarity among Demand Notes, it is very doubtful if many more could exist. Collectors with a serious interest in this type are advised to not let the condition be a hindrance. Another example may not be available for many years to come.

Cincinnati and numismatics: In the annals of Civil War numismatics, Cincinnati, on the north bank of the Ohio River, was one of the most active American cities. Its location as a federal depository in connection with various notes and obligations, including the Demand Note offered here, is of course important. However, it was prominent in other contexts as well.

For many years it had served as a financial center for trade on the Ohio River, the upriver counterpart to St. Louis, Missouri (on the connecting Mississippi River). Several different counterfeit detector journals were published there. Examples include the Western Counterfeit Detector and Bank Note Table (under the supervision of H.H. Goodman & Co., exchange brokers, 1840), and the Cincinnati Safety Fund Bank Note Reporter (Langdon, Hawes & Co., circa 1856-1860).

In the general period 1862-1864, Cincinnati was the largest manufacturing center for Civil War tokens. The shops of Stanton, Murdock, Lanphear, and others turned out tens of millions of such pieces to the extent of thousands of different varieties. In addition, the highly interesting WEALTH OF THE SOUTH tokens, from dies by Benjamin True, struck by John Stanton, were sold in the South in 1860 and in the same year were part of an illustrious series of political tokens by the same issuer.

A numismatic sidelight is provided by the Great Western Sanitary Fair opened in Cincinnati in Greenwood Hall on December 21, 1863, and closed on January 9, 1864. Donations valued at $235,406.62 were received during this period and, after a two-week exhibition period, sold through various venues, including a modest amount of numismatic material through an auction conducted on March 15, 1864, by S.G. Hubbard, who did business from rooms upstairs at 21 West Fifth Street, between Main and Walnut swtreets.

President of the fair was Major General William S. Rosecrans, who after his defeat at Chickamauga, was relegated to less strategic duties (in 1864 he would also serve as president of the Mississippi Valley Sanitary Fair in St. Louis; still later he served with the Treasury, with his signature appearing on currency). A copy of the slim little catalogue published for this event was in Sale I of the Harry W. Bass, Jr. Library, conducted last year by George F. Kolbe, and the successful bidder for it was your editor (QDB); previously, the only copy seen had been that in the Massachusetts Historical Society Library (although the catalogue is best described as hard to find if you want one, not necessarily valuable when located).

This was a wonderful numismatic event. Significantly, the two most prominent makers of Civil War tokens-William K. Lanphear and John Stanton-each consigned (donated) tokens to the sale! Moreover, Hon. Salmon P. Chase, Secretary of the Treasury, contributed Mint medals and other items. From far-off Philadelphia, Robert Coulton Davis sent items that would be described from Lot 652 to 657. Benjamin True seems to have sent some of his campaign tokens from the 1860 contest, although the source of these was not identified. From his office located in the Marble Block, Hartford, Connecticut, specie broker, banker, rare coin dealer, and medal-issuer Alfred S. Robinson dispatched a parcel of tokens bearing his advertisement. Other individuals contributed such varied items as an 1855 pattern Flying Eagle cent, several Lincoln medals, George H. Lovett's "I AM READY" medal, and "four Secesh medals" (Confederate medals, not otherwise described, but certainly interesting and, today in 1999, rare). Among the others donating numismatic items to the auction included C.F. Adae (Cincinnati), M. Jamieson (Batavia, OH), S.J. Broadwell (Cincinnati), and W.A. Dallas (Owensville, OH), these names not being recognized today by your editor as being prominent collectors of that long-ago era. Perhaps tracking them down would be a project for members of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.

Among other items, Maj. General William Tecumseh Sherman, later to gain fame (or infamy) with his march through Georgia and the burning of Atlanta, contributed a "Confederate Treasury Note, fifty dollars, new issue." James Ross Snowden, the most numismatically enlightened person ever to occupy the post of Mint director (1853-1861) up to this point in time, generously sent along a copy of his master work, A Description of the Medals of Washington, of National and Miscellaneous Medals.

The committee assisting S.G. Hubbard in the conducting of the sale consisted of T.C. Day (chairman), Geo. McLaughlin, Samuel B. Warren, Joseph Zanoni, Thomas Cleneay, and Noah B. Wells. Zanoni was an issuer of Civil War store cards (his name is stated as ZANONE on the die). Thomas Cleneay was a very well-known numismatist with specialties in many areas including tokens. The name of Robert Downing, another well-known Cincinnati numismatist of the time (but who later in life took a leaf from the morality guide used by J. Ledyard Hodge), and who issued tokens, is not found among accounts of this sale; perhaps he was busy doing something else.

A few years later, Robert Mercer would become an important numismatist in Cincinnati. Fast forward to the 1930s and early 1940s and we have many more names including "pirate" Thomas G. Melish and dealer Sol Kaplan.

From the Robert F. Schermerhorn Collection.

 

Rare $5 Demand Note Proof

Face Design

Payable at Cincinnati

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7     $5 Demand Note. Uniface Proof of face design. Type of F-4. Hessler-4/242D. Series of 1861. Payable at Cincinnati. Serial: 00000. Crisp Uncirculated. Nearly as made with the lower right corner having suffered slight damage to the corner of the India paper. The card is not affected. Bold green and black printing on India paper, mounted on card. The serial number is in bright red ink. Two holes are punched in each of the areas where the signatures are found on normal notes. Similar to the illustration in Hessler's reference, but this does not appear to be the same note.

Owen G. Hanks is credited with the engraving of Freedom as she appears on this note. The original statue, designed by Thomas Crawford, can be found atop the United States Capitol building in Washington D.C. Crawford also designed the bronze entry doors of the Capitol as well as the U.S. Senate pediment. Expanded comments concerning Crawford and the statue are found in Bowers' Commemorative Coins of the United States: A Complete Encyclopedia.

From NASCA's Brookdale Public Auction Sale, November 1979, Lot 1416.

 

Quality $5 Demand Note

Series of 1861

Payable at St. Louis

Possibly the Finest Known


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8     $5 F-5. Demand Note. Series of 1861. Payable at St. Louis. Serial: 26466. Very Fine-35 (CGA). Five vertical creases through the body of the note and a very short and inconspicuous edge tear are all that keep this from the Crisp Uncirculated category. Only one center crease is really heavy enough to see without close inspection, the others are very light. A lovely note retaining nearly all of its original crispness. The margins are tight as usual, but all are complete. Light foxing at the top left corner is noted for accuracy.

The Harry Bass Foundation inventory indicates that only eight specimens are known. Updated census information compiled by Martin Gengerke indicates nine specimens. This type, payable at St. Louis, is one of the rarest of the $5 Demand Notes (not including of course those with "For the" handwritten). Other federal depositories in New York, Philadelphia, and Boston were situated in greater population centers and more of these notes are available today. The pieces payable in Cincinnati and St. Louis are very rare. An important rarity and an opportunity to acquire what appears to easily be one of the finest known examples, if not the very finest.

From the Robert F. Schermerhorn Collection.

 

Quality $10 Demand Note

Series of 1861

Payable at New York

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9     $10 F-6. Demand Note. Series of 1861. Payable at New York. Serial: 42004. Fine-12. Repaired (CGA). Once called VF as indicated in the Gengerke census, a tear at the top right corner of the face, and a small area of edge repair visible on the back dictate a slightly lower grade by today's more conservative standards. A few tiny pinholes are also noted at the center. The margins are complete and the appearance is nice for the grade. Moderately circulated, but remaining very respectable in the context of $10 Demand Notes. Highly sought after at this grade level, as most examples have seen heavy circulation in the channels of commerce.

From the Robert F. Schermerhorn Collection.

 

Extremely Rare $10 Demand Note

Series of 1861

"For the" Handwritten

Payable at New York


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10     $10 F-6a. Demand Note. Series of 1861. Payable at New York. Serial: 27927. Very Fine-35 (CGA). A scattering of tiny pinholes is noted through the body of the note. These, and two light rust marks from a staple, are all that keep this note from being classified as AU. The paper shows some slight aging, but aesthetically it remains quite pleasing with good color. The paper retains the nearly full crispness of an Uncirculated note, three light vertical creases being the only disturbances. Decent margins round out the package with only that of the right face tight enough to interfere with the design border.

This is the extremely rare subvariety with "For the" handwritten; a note almost never encountered in any grade. In fact, the current census reports the existence of merely five specimens, of which this is clearly one of the two finest. One of these five is permanently impounded in the ANA Museum in Colorado Springs leaving only four available to the present generation of collectors. An offering of exceedingly great importance.

From the Robert F. Schermerhorn Collection.

 

Interesting $10 Demand Note Proof

Back Design

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11     $10 Demand Note. Uniface Proof of back design. Type of F-6. Hessler-Fd 2. Series of 1861. Choice Crisp Uncirculated. Bold light green ink on India paper, mounted on card. Nearly as made with slight wrinkling noted at all four corners. A beautiful Proof of this remarkable "greenback" design.

From the Robert F. Schermerhorn Collection.

 

Scarce Series of 1861 $10 Demand Note

Payable at Philadelphia

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12     $10 F-7. Demand Note. Series of 1861. Payable at Philadelphia. Serial: 69035. Fine-15 (CGA). Moderately circulated with the only problems of note being a couple of light brown stains in the margins and visible only on the back. Well centered with only the slightest roughness in the margins. Another Demand Note combining scarcity and respectable quality.

From the Robert F. Schermerhorn Collection.

 

Choice $10 Demand Note

Series of 1861

Payable at Boston

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13     $10 F-8. Demand Note. Series of 1861. Payable at Boston. Serial: 40321. Very Fine-35 (CGA). The ink colors remain bright and the paper retains significant body. A single tiny pinhole is noted near the top edge of the note. An attractive example though printed slightly out of register on the back side. According to census information, only a small handful grade as high or higher than this specimen, the majority are Fine or below. These are seldom offered and always attract many interested buyers, a number that seems to be continuously swelling, an undeniable symptom of a very healthy currency market.

From the Robert F. Schermerhorn Collection.

 

Unique $10 Demand Note

Series of 1861

"For the" Handwritten

Payable at Cincinnati


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14     $10 F-9a. Demand Note. Series of 1861. Payable at Cincinnati. Serial: 10070. Very Fine-30 (CGA). Variety with "For the" handwritten. Relatively well centered with full margins all around the back. The face margins are very tight and just touch the design borders in places. Bright and attractive without any visible problems worthy of note. All notes of this series and denomination are considered scarce and collectible in any grade.

This note, payable at Cincinnati, would be recognized as an extreme rarity even as the standard variety. The present specimen, with "For the" handwritten, is identified in Friedberg as unique, a fact verified by Gengerke's census. An incredibly important offering which might be termed a historical event. Certain to inspire many serious collectors, and rightfully so, as this may well prove to be a singular opportunity for the present generation. In the years since it was acquired by Robert Schermerhorn a generation of collectors has come and gone without having seen this note on the open market!

From the Robert F. Schermerhorn Collection.

 

Exceedingly Rare $10 Demand Note

Series of 1861

Payable at St. Louis

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15     $10 F-10. Demand Note. Series of 1861. Payable at St. Louis. Serial: 35202. Very Good-8. Tape Repaired (CGA). Sharpness and body of a Fine note, but with heavy edge roughness. A tear at the right end of the face, and a missing corner tip have been repaired on the back.

An extremely rare variety payable at St. Louis, even more so than its $5 counterpart offered in Lot 8. The census reports the known survival of a mere four notes. The Friedberg reference prints no value for this issue, not surprising, as in this market it seems very unlikely that any printed number would remain accurate for very long. Any Demand Note payable at St. Louis, regardless of grade, is highly desirable and worthy of careful consideration.

From the Robert F. Schermerhorn Collection.

 

Famous $20 Demand Note

Series of 1861

Payable at New York

A Classic Rarity

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16     $20 F-11. Demand Note. Series of 1861. Payable at New York. Serial: 74206. Good-6. Repaired (CGA). The paper retains enough body to qualify for VG, but two repaired tears are evident on the back. The lower right corner has just the tip missing which does not interfere with the design. A staple puncture is also noted toward the left end. In spite of the mentioned defects, this note is very rare, desirable, and significantly more valuable than the $5 and $10 Demand Notes. This note is one of a scant seven specimens reported in the census!

From the Robert F. Schermerhorn Collection.

 

Unique $20 Demand Note

Series of 1861

"For the" Handwritten

Payable at New York

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17     $20 F-11a. Demand Note. Series of 1861. Payable at New York. Serial: 7216. Good-6. Damaged (CGA). Variety with "For the" handwritten. Body of a VG or perhaps Fine note, though extensive edge repairs are visible around the back margins. The lower right corner, relative to the face, is missing.

Regardless of its problems, this note is listed in the Friedberg reference as unique, making it the only known $20 Demand Note with "For the" handwritten, as none are reported for any of the other three depositories. The appearance of this note at public auction is thus nothing short of a landmark occurrence. One of the most exciting, most important, and most desirable notes in the Bass Collection.

From the Robert F. Schermerhorn Collection.

 

Intriguing $20 Demand Note Proof

Back Design

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18     $20 Demand Note. Uniface Proof of back design. Type of F-11. Hessler-Fd 3. Series of 1861. Crisp Uncirculated. Slight paper disturbances are noted at the corners, mostly just light wrinkles though the top left corner does exhibit a short tear. Printed in bright green on India paper and mounted on card. Bright and fresh as are the other Demand Note Proofs offered above. The $20 is additionally important as the rarest denomination in the series.

From the Robert F. Schermerhorn Collection.

 

Very Rare $20 Demand Note

Series of 1861

Payable at Philadelphia

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19     $20 F-12. Demand Note. Series of 1861. Payable at Philadelphia. Serial: 19056. Very Good/Fine-10 (CGA). Generally aesthetically pleasing, though some areas of light roughness are noted in the margins. Pinholes are also visible under proper light, but these seem to be more rule than exception for circulated Demand Notes. The Gengerke census reports just six examples, although from the aspect of market availability this is somewhat misleading as two of these are permanently impounded in museums. Thus only four examples are available to the collecting community. The present specimen has been off the market for some time.

From the Robert F. Schermerhorn Collection.

 

Exceedingly Rare $20 Demand Note

Series of 1861

Payable at Boston

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20     $20 F-13. Demand Note. Series of 1861. Payable at Boston. Serial: 79388. Very Good-8. Repaired (CGA). Evenly worn and showing some light soiling as is common at the grade level. A few stray pinholes are noted as is some edge roughness that has been repaired. A satisfying example for the issue. The current census information lists only four specimens extant. The Harry Bass Foundation inventory indicates that five are known; perhaps Mr. Bass knew something that we don't. In either case this is clearly another great rarity that, according to available information, may not exist any finer than this.

From the Robert F. Schermerhorn Collection.

 

Unique $20 Demand Note

Series of 1861

Payable at Cincinnati

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21     $20 F-14. Demand Note. Series of 1861. Payable at Cincinnati. Serial: 20447. Very Good/Fine-10. Repaired (CGA). Well circulated with a few splits and small tears, each of which has been repaired. The note is still pleasing, even considering the problems. One must wonder if any of this is meaningful, as the Friedberg reference lists this specimen as unique, as do the notes of the Harry Bass Foundation. These claims are verified by the updated Gengerke census. Where will a collector find another example? An offering that represents yet another important opportunity deserving careful consideration. The present Demand Note will be a highlight of any collection it graces.

From the Robert F. Schermerhorn Collection.