Three Sets of 1861 Printer’s Proofs Together Realize More Than $100,000

Posted on 10/23/2019

A set of front and back proofs of a $5,000 Interest Bearing Note realized $41,665 in a GreatCollections sale.

Paper Money Guaranty® (PMG®)-certified printer’s proofs of three 1861 Interest Bearing Notes realized over $100,000 combined in a GreatCollections sale that ended October 20, 2019.

They were led by front and back proofs of a Fr. 211 $5,000 Interest Bearing Note. Graded PMG 63 Choice Uncirculated, the proofs were printed by The American Bank Note Co. of New York to test the note’s design before it went into full production. The front and back proofs are mounted on a single piece of card stock.

These front and back printer's proofs of an 1861 $5,000 US Interest Bearing Note graded PMG 63 Choice Uncirculated realized $41,665.
The front is above; the back is below.
Click images to enlarge.

The two other front and back sets of 1861 Interest Bearing Notes printer’s proofs offered by GreatCollections also realized significant sums in the auction. They were:

Interest Bearing Notes weren’t intended to be circulated. Before the country had a permanent central bank, the US Treasury issued these notes to raise cash when the country was dealing with financial stress of the Civil War.

The proofs for the three Interest Bearing Notes each have five coupons attached. On notes that were issued, these coupons were redeemable with interest at six-month intervals. The notes themselves would be redeemed for the sixth interval.

This 1861 $50 Interest Bearing Note printer’s proof, graded PMG 64 Choice Uncirculated, realized $37,687.
Click image to enlarge.

This 1861 $100 Interest Bearing Note printer’s proof, graded PMG 62 Uncirculated, realized $24,244.
Click image to enlarge.

Another set of printer's proofs for an 1861 banknote, a $5 Demand Note, Fr. 3, graded PMG 63 Choice Uncirculated, realized $7,031.

This printer's proof for an 1861 $5 Demand Note graded PMG 63 Choice Uncirculated realized $7,031.
Click image to enlarge.

The 1861 Demand Notes, considered the first US paper money, also were issued by the US government to help cover the enormous cost of the Civil War. They also were the first notes to be known as “greenbacks.”

All prices realized include buyer’s premium.


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