Provide Good Read of Market
By Bill Brandimore
United Numismatists show is coming up soon. I
expect to be able to get a read on what 2010
currency activity might entail after the January
FUN show. It always seems to be a bellwether.
In the meantime, I did get the opportunity to
attend the Lyn Knight auction at St. Charles,
Mo., in mid-October. This was held in
conjunction with a coin show on the first floor
and the Professional Currency Dealers
Associationís 24th Annual National and World
Paper Money Convention on the second floor. Show
attendance was so-so, but the auction was well
I actually didnít get a chance to roam the
floor, as I attended the Central States
Numismatic Society board meeting in my role as
immediate past president. Unfortunately, we had
a great deal of business to attend to and the
meeting didnít conclude until after the show was
Big news at the show was the first-ever PMG 70,
a 1935G, no motto, Silver Certificate. The note
belongs to Eddie and Angie Henley of Greenville,
It is the first of almost 300,000 notes graded
by PMG. To get a look at it, go to the Henleyís
Web site www.unlimitedcurrency.net.
Angie told me that they were a little
disappointed with traffic at the show, but they
had their best show ever once they got back a
large order of slabbed material graded at the
show. Fresh material is hot and the dealers that
are able to show it will reap the benefits.
Angie also mentioned they found that slabbed
notes that reflect scarce block letters in the
Silver Certificate area, or scarce varieties in
the Federal Reserve Note classifications of dark
green and light green seals, are proving very
popular in their inventory.
There were a number of bargains to be had at the
St. Charles auction, as a number of notes went
well under catalog value.
It is going to be quite a while before we see
the sort of prices that were registered at the
Flynn auction back in 2008. Nonetheless,
especially desirable notes are only offered
occasionally still prove to be the subject of
I had to make a $200-over-catalog bid to secure
a Very Good 1928A Red Seal $2 star in Internet
bidding. I really wanted it, however, and paid
the freight as these rarely come up in
Small-size notes, while down a bit, do not seem
to have suffered as much decrease in value as
large size. I think Buffalo, Educational and
Indian Chief notes are good bargains.
Now is certainly the time to pick one off for
your collection, or upgrade a note you currently
hold. As in the housing industry, however, you
canít expect to make a profit on the note you
currently hold unless youíve had it for a few
Fancy numbers are also a popular topics at the
auctions. Solids, ladders and errors seem to be
holding their own.
I continue to plug Colonial and Fractional. The
difference with these groupings is that there is
not enough supply to justify intense advertising
as was seen during the heyday of Morgan silver
dollar promotion. There are lots of Morgan
dollars, not so in terms of Colonial and
Will the price of gold affect our current
currency prices? Perhaps it will, if it leads to
a weakened dollar or inflation.
I suspect that the mid-range income collector is
watching his or her budget a bit more than in
2008. Well-heeled collectors will spend
considerable amounts on rare notes they desire.
The investor crowd is probably looking to the
stock markets current growth surge for their
financial activities at the present time.
Do you have a currency reference library? It can
be a valuable tool as you decide how much you
want to pay and it even helps you identify what
you might wish to purchase.
The 28th edition of Krause Publicationsís
Standard Catalog of United States Paper Money is
now available. This one is edited by George
Cuhaj and I do the prices.
This book contains a general accounting of all
U.S. currency and Postal Envelopes, Encased
Postage, a Philippines section, and Military
Specialty books will allow you deeper access
into your specialty interests. Another such a
book is the 9th edition of the Standard Guide to
Small-Size U.S. Paper Money.
This one is written by John Schwartz and Scott
Lindquist. It lets you in on a number of rare
blocks and reveals the secrets of the mule
varieties as well as light and dark seals on
Federal Reserve Notes of the 1930s.
I especially recommend this book for the small
size collector. The sport of cherrypicking is
alive and well.
If you have current information on rarity and
prices, itís a lot easier to make the decision
to purchase a note. This is especially true if
it is an expensive note.
Does someone in your family have a handle on the
value of your collection?
Have you made a list or otherwise organized
things in the event a non-collector member of
your family will have to dispose of your
collection some day. This can be a critical
concern, as some notes are not real well known
to generalist dealers. Coin dealers are
generally not prepared to examine and offer
proper payment for your collection.
It doesnít hurt to have a will and have some
sort of ledger indicating what you feel the
notes should bring at a certain date in time.
Most of the auction houses are pretty good to
deal with, as they are going to want to get the
very best price so their percentage will be
higher as a result. In general, the market is
pretty good at establishing a value.
Some houses seem to do better with certain
specialties. Look around, examine the catalogs
and decide who you would like to advertise and
sell your holdings.
Everyone has heard a horror story over ignorance
of a relative as to the true value of a
Finally, for this month, let me know your
feelings on our ability to offer you accurate
information on the value of currency.