From the Winter 2008 PMG eNewsletter

World’s Only Complete Set of Rainbow Notes Will Be Displayed at FUN

A complete set of all nine denominations of 1869 Legal Tender Notes will be on display at the FUN Show. This series of notes is especially colorful, printed on partially blue toned paper with an abundance of red and blue fibers and a large red Treasury Seal. Collectors affectionately refer to them as “Rainbow Notes.” Two of the notes on display are each unique in private hands and have not been seen publicly in over 50 years.

Currency dealer Sergio Sanchez arranged the display by borrowing notes from a group of anonymous collectors. He had a custom-built 6’ x 5’ two-sided fashioned for the display to enable easy viewing of both sides of the notes. Sanchez notes that “this is the only set in private hands, the only set possible to assemble, making the display a very rare opportunity to see these notes…. [We arranged this display] to give people something really special to see.”

Each of the nine notes on display has been certified by Paper Money Guaranty (PMG).

$1   Fr. 18   PMG CU67EPQ
$2   Fr. 42   PMG CU65EPQ
$5   Fr. 64   PMG CU66EPQ
$10   Fr. 96   PMG CU67EPQ
$20   Fr. 127   PMG CU67EPQ
$50   Fr. 151   PMG AU50
$100   Fr. 168   PMG XF40EPQ
$500   Fr. 184   PMG AU53EPQ
$1,000   Fr. 186f   PMG AU53
click image to enlarge
click image to enlarge

All Rainbow Notes inspire enthusiasts, but the higher denomination issues are very rare. PMG has certified only 11 examples of the 1869 Legal Tender $50, and a mere three examples of the 1869 Legal Tender $100 Fr. 168. The $100 on display is the finest certified to date. The $500 and $1,000 notes are unique in private hands.

The $500 note, which collectors have nicknamed the “Quincy” note, owing to its portrait of John Quincy Adams, is most inspiring of all. “The ‘Quincy’ note is my favorite,” comments Sanchez, “There’s nothing like it.” Its design is unique to this note, as the vignette was not repurposed for use on other issues. All 1869 Legal Tender $500 notes were reportedly withdrawn from circulation because of the appearance of counterfeits.

The $500 and $1,000 notes on display once belonged to famed collector Amon Carter, who acquired them in 1952 and 1953. It traded hands privately to its present owner after Carter’s death, and, until this exhibit, only a dozen or so people have seen it in person (including its presentation to PMG for certification). Collectors visiting the FUN show are strongly encouraged to visit the exhibit area to examine these notes, which for many will be a one-in-a-lifetime opportunity.