Featured Note of the Month: November 2018

Posted on 11/14/2018

US note features the journey of the Pilgrims to the New World, an event that contributed to the creation of America's Thanksgiving Day.

1914 US $5 Federal Reserve Note, front
PMG graded Gem Uncirculated 65 EPQ
Click image to enlarge.

1914 US $5 Federal Reserve Note, back
PMG graded Gem Uncirculated 65 EPQ
Click image to enlarge.

Country: USA
Catalog Number: 847a
Date: 1914
Denomination: $5
Varieties: 847b and 847c have the same signatures and seal, but there are minor variations in the location and size of the district overprint. This note has large letters and numerals at the top right and bottom left; by contrast, the b-variety has smaller district letters and numerals in three corners, and the c-variety has the district overprints positioned more toward the center of the note.

What makes it special? This large-size note is one of the precursors to the $5 Federal Reserve Notes still in circulation today, but the design has changed quite a bit since its issue in 1914. While the front of the note shows the standard portrait of President Lincoln, the back has a scene from a much earlier time in US history. On the back right side of the note, there is an image of the Pilgrims landing at Plymouth Rock in 1620, with the iconic Mayflower ship in the background. The left side shows a group of Pilgrims standing on the ship's deck, pointing at the New World—excited, no doubt, to be off the ship after two months at sea.

Why is it interesting now? On the fourth Thursday of November, Americans celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday, which commemorates the first harvest feast of the original Pilgrims who came to America in 1620, as well as their gratitude toward the Native American people who made that harvest—and the Pilgrims’ survival—possible. To honor this occasion, Americans celebrate by eating an excessive amount of food and watching sports on television, among other things. Happy Turkey Day, everyone!

Did you know? Abraham Lincoln, whose portrait graces the front of this note, had a part to play in the establishment of a Thanksgiving holiday (albeit two centuries later). President Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a federal holiday in 1863 and was also the person who standardized the holiday in late November.

Total graded by PMG: 218 notes

PMG median grade: The median grade for these notes is 45.

PMG highest graded: 66 EPQ

Sales highlights: Graded notes are available in the $200-$400 range, depending on the condition.

PMG Registry: The 1914 Blue Seal $5 Complete Set with Stars in the PMG Registry is the place to go for notes like this one.

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