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American Bank Note Printing Plates for Obsoletes
By Stacks

Historic printing press plates used in the process of producing multi-subject 19th century “obsolete” paper money for ten different banks will be offered in a public auction conducted on July 27 and 28, 2008 in Baltimore, Maryland by Stack’s (www.Stacks.com) of New York City and Wolfeboro, New Hampshire. The unique, intricately engraved plates are from the legendary archives of the American Bank Note Company.

The number of subjects per plate range from two to eight, and the denominations range from five cents to $100. They are consigned to the auction by Archival Collectibles of Far Hills, New Jersey, which acquired the huge American Bank Note Company archives in 2005.

“We recently discovered these particular multi-subject, obsolete bank note plates among the thousands of one-of-kind, engravings in the archives. One plate was still in its original wax-sealed wrappers, apparently unseen for 149 years,” said Steve Blum, president of Archival Collectibles.

“It’s exciting to look at these original pieces of numismatic history that were so skillfully handcrafted more than a century ago.”

The plates and the denominations of the notes in the upcoming Stack’s auction are:

The Uncas Bank in Norwich, Connecticut, $3 and $10;

The Commercial Bank of Kentucky in Paducah, Kentucky, $5, $5, $10 and $20;

The Bank of Dakota in Dakota City, Nebraska, $1, $1, $2, $5;

The Hernando Rail Road and Banking Company of Mississippi, $50 and $100;

The Freeman’s Bank in Washington, DC, $2 and $5;

The Planter’s and Mechanics Bank in Charleston, South Carolina, $10, $10, $10 and $10;

Honesdale Bank in the Borough of Honesdale, Pennsylvania, 5˘, 5˘, 5˘, 10˘, 10˘, 25˘, 25˘, and 50˘.

A dual-use printing plate with dies for two different banks, South Berwick Bank in South Berwick, Maine and the Mercantile Bank in Bangor Maine, $1, $1, $2, and $3; and

The Minnesota Valley Bank in New Ulm, Minnesota, $1, $2, $3, $5. The plates were discovered double wrapped with their original red wax seals still intact on both the inner and outer paper wrappers, apparently unopened since 1859, according to cataloger John M. Pack of Stack’s.

Now located near Philadelphia in Trevose, Pennsylvania, American Bank Note Company was formed in 1858 in New York City by a consolidation of eight leading bank note engravers and printers. Over the years, the firm acquired other companies and their archives.

The July auction also includes engraved plates and rollers used for printing various documents with portraits of famous people, such as Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Kennedy and Confederacy President Davis.

There also are engravings of historical events such as the landings of Columbus and the Pilgrims; images of landmark structures including Independence Hall, the Brooklyn Bridge, Stone Mountain and the U.S. Capitol Building as it appeared in the 1850’s; plates for printing 19th century “obsolete” paper money for private banks; and printing plates for admission tickets to national political party conventions: Republican 1892 in Minneapolis, 1920 Chicago, 1924 Cleveland, 1928 Kansas City, 1936 Cleveland; and Democrat 1896 Chicago and 1960 Los Angeles.

For information about the auction, contact Stack’s toll-free at either (800) 566-2580 (New York office) or (866) 811-1804 (New Hampshire office), or online at www.Stacks.com.

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