Unique 1896 Silver Certificate “Educational” Set To Cross The Block

Posted on 7/2/2014

The first sheets for the series. Serial numbers 1-4, $1, $2, $5 PMG About Uncirculated 55 America’s Most Famous and Most Ornate Designs Ex Harry W. Bass, Jr.

IRVINE, Calif. — Stack’s Bowers Galleries will showcase the “Educational Note” sheets pedigreed to The Harry W. Bass, Jr. Collection in its official auction with the American Numismatic Association’s World’s Fair of Money. The group comprises three original sheets: the 1896 Silver Certificate “Educational Notes” of the $1, $2, and $5, each with serial numbers 1 to 4. The firm auctioned the group several years ago for the Harry W. Bass, Jr. Foundation, and is honored to present it once again on behalf of its new owner.

The face designs are perhaps the most ornate in the entire series of American paper money. They include the $1 History Instructing Youth, the $2 Science Presenting Steam and Electricity to Industry and Commerce, and the $5 Electricity Presenting Light to the World. The backs are very ornate as well. Each design ranks high in the best-selling book The 100 Greatest American Currency Notes (Whitman Publishing, LLC.) by Q. David Bowers and David M. Sundman.

The bound folio accompanying the notes is titled UNITED STATES PROOF BANK NOTES ISSUED 1896. It includes a typewritten, three-page letter of description and presentation by Claude M. Johnson, head of the Bureau of Printing and Engraving, who had the forethought to purchase the original sheets for himself, and thus, saved them for posterity. Each of the three separate bank note sheets contain four subjects of the represented denomination with serial numbers 1 to 4. The sheets have been professionally removed from the book, graded AU-55 and encapsulated by Paper Money Guaranty (PMG) to protect and preserve quality.

This set was considered by Bass to be one of the highlights of his currency collection. While the archives of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing probably contain many unusual specimens, die proofs, essays and other rarities, usually with no serial numbers or a string of serial numbers, such unusual items rarely are available to collectors. This particular item falls into an even more intriguing category, as the banknotes were produced for regular circulation and are the very first serially numbered. From the content of Johnson’s letter, it is clear that he understood very well the significance of the pieces he owned. The sheets have become much more than the first of the Educationals — they are a monument of history, design and the developmental process. Easily one of the most sought after American paper currency items ever offered for public auction sale, this set will be a highlight of any great paper money collection. The illustrious provenance and pedigree chain will have as its new member, the successful bidder when the hammer falls.

The notes will be on display at several upcoming conventions, including the Stack’s Bowers Galleries Official Auction of the Whitman Coin & Collectibles Baltimore Expo, and the Stack’s Bowers Galleries Official Auction of the ANA World’s Fair of Money. For more information, please contact Stack’s Bowers Galleries at 800.458.4646 (West Coast), 800.566.2580 (East Coast), or visit StacksBowers.com.

About Stack’s Bowers Galleries
Stack’s Bowers Galleries conducts live, Internet and specialized auctions of rare U.S. and world coins and currency and ancient coins, as well as direct sales through retail and wholesale channels. The company’s 80-year legacy includes the cataloging and sale of many of the most valuable United States coin and currency collections to ever cross an auction block — The John J. Ford, Jr. Collection, The Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. Collection, The Harry W. Bass, Jr. Collection, The Norweb Collection, The Cardinal Collection and The Battle Born Collection — to name just a few. World coin and currency collections include The Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. Collection of World Gold Coins, The Kroisos Collection, The Alicia and Sidney Belzberg Collection, The Wa She Wong Collection, The Guia Collection, The Thos. H. Law Collection, and The Robert O. Ebert Collection.

The company is headquartered in Irvine, California, with offices in New York, Wolfeboro, Hong Kong, China, and Paris. Stack’s Bowers Galleries is an Official Auctioneer for several important numismatic conventions, including American Numismatic Association events, the New York International Numismatic Convention, the Professional Numismatists Guild New York Invitational, the Whitman Coin & Collectibles Spring, Summer and Winter Expos, and its April and August Hong Kong Auctions.

This is a guest article. The thoughts and opinions in the piece are those of their author and are not necessarily the thoughts of the Certified Collectibles Group.

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