Registry Set Showcase: The Beautiful $5 Type Set

A challenging and serious pursuit for collectors, these $5 notes exhibit great beauty and artistry.

A significant percentage of currency collectors first became attracted to collecting simply because of the beauty of the designs on large size US currency. Everyone agrees that the quality and artistry of the steel plate engraving of historic US currency is exceptional. While this continues to be true of the notes that currently circulate, large size currency issued prior to 1928 offered a larger canvas for currency engravers. They took full advantage by creating intricate, allegorical vignettes and bold, expressive portraits.

A very natural way to pursue collecting large size notes, therefore, is to buy one example of each design. The PMG Registry accommodates this approach to collecting by offering Large Size Denomination Type Sets. These Sets require one example of every design type for a particular denomination, and include all note categories. For example, the $5 Large Size Type Notes requires 22 different notes, including everything from a Demand Note to a Federal Reserve Bank Note to a National Gold Bank Note.

This $5 Set includes designs that attracted many collectors to the field. It requires an example of the 1869 $5 Legal Tender note, represented by a single Friedberg number, Fr. 64. This note is the so-called “$5 Rainbow Note.” It shows the first appearance of the popular woodchopper vignette alongside bright blue and green shading as well as a large red seal, features that make the notes of this series the most colorful notes of their era. Also required for this Set is an example of the 1896 $5 Silver Certificate, better known as the “$5 Educational.” This note is often considered to be the most beautiful piece of US currency every issued. Since this is a Type Set, any Educational $5 is accepted, so Friedberg 268, 269 or 270 are all eligible, although the slightly scarcer Fr. 270 will be awarded more points.

The inclusion of such popular notes contributes to the overall popularity of this category. Currently 44 different collectors have Sets registered. The challenge of the Set is readily apparent; not a single Set is complete. The most complete Set is zakmars fivers at 72%, or including 16 of the 22 required notes. Zakmar has included images of 13 of his notes, allowing the diversity and beauty of these notes to be seen.

The leading Set in the category belongs to drpete’s. pete’s-fives has an impressive Registry score total of 57,330 and holds first place by over 13,000 Registry points. Although the Set contains only 14 of the required 22 notes (63% complete), each note grades PMG 64 EPQ or better. The Educational $5 is a superb gem PMG 67 EPQ, valued at a whopping 7,543 Registry points. Wow!

Type Sets allow collectors to follow a focused path without demanding acute specialization. But the PMG Registry has defined these Sets rigorously, requiring sub-design types with modest variations. This makes them very challenging and a serious pursuit. While perhaps initially drawn simply to the beauty of these notes, a collector who desires to build one of these Sets is committing himself or herself to a multi-year quest. And the question still remains: will there ever be a 100% complete Set in the $5 Large Size Type category?

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