Remain Hot in Tentative Market
By Bill Brandimore
continues on in a somewhat tentative manner.
Good material sells at good, not great prices.
Notes with problems don’t sell very well. Common
material is listless. Large-size type seems
healthy, although relatively available notes,
such as Educational $5s, Indian chiefs and
Buffalos, in 65 grades do not bring the amazing
prices they were bringing a year ago.
If you wish to sell these notes, they bring good
prices. They will not bring last year’s prices.
If you bought them two or three years ago or
longer, you can expect to take a profit, or at
least get your money out of them.
That is one thing that isolates collectors from
investors. Collectors hang onto their notes and
generally enjoy a nice increase in the value of
their holdings over time.
I remain bullish on Fractionals and Colonial
issues. These notes do not occur in hoards very
often, consequently they are relatively scarce.
There are not enough of them around to promote
like Morgan dollars or commemorative half
dollars. What always amazes me is that there are
rare pieces, 10 to 20 known, for example, that
can be had for less than $5,000. Try that in
Small-size type trades within reasonable ranges
of their prices of a year ago. Knowledgeable
collectors will still pay top dollar for rare
star 1928 Red Seal $2s or 1933 $10 Silver
What I find amusing is that cancelled $2 1976
Green Seals with commemorative stamps affixed
are now selling for $3 to $5 dollars. I never
thought they would exceed the $1.99 I saw one
dealer was offering them at a few years ago.
Obsoletes are hot, especially of the scarcity
found in part one of the Krause Wisconsin
collection offered at Philadelphia last month.
These can be somewhat like Nationals in that
collectors enjoy the hometown nature of many of
these notes. These notes frequently provide
excellent quality and interesting vignettes.
$1,000 and $500 bills are soft, although the
$5,000 and $10,000 notes continue to attract
wonder prices at auction when offered.
Last month I mentioned that world currency was
becoming a hot item. I would suggest to you that
there is a lot to learn about world currency,
and it is a lot of fun. For one thing, there are
a great number of really attractive notes that
can be had at the one dollar level. There are
cherrypicking opportunities galore and an
amazing number of collecting methods.
I am currently working on finding as many
different portraits of Queen Elizabeth II as I
can. Given the scope of world influence the
British Empire commanded, it’s not surprising to
note the wide variety of material that is
available. Some are cheap, some are not.
Crowned in 1953, we also see a number of
different postures, such as the queen as a young
woman, as a mature woman, and as an aging
monarch. She appears on numerous African, Asian
and even Caribbean notes. In some, the Crown
Jewels are in evidence. In all, the quality of
engraving is top notch.
Topical collecting, something that always
appealed to philatelists, is an easy option, as
well, in world currency. You can collect fish,
butterflies, birds, scenery, etc. Canada offers
us glimpses of her mountains and plains,
seacoast and industrialization.
Africa offers elephants and lions, rhinos and
antelope. You get to learn a lot about
geography. You can bond with your children in
pursuing this sort of knowledge. Colonial
African and Asian notes are particularly sought
World collectors are also pickier in their
grading. An Extremely Fine note compares with
U.S. notes in the About Uncirculated grades.
Look for notes that are clean and in at least
Have you ever exhibited your notes at a show? If
you haven’t, you’re missing a rare treat.
Considerable competition is afoot at American
Numismatic Association shows as well the Florida
United Numismatists and Central States
Numismatic Society shows. Typically you have to
be a member to exhibit. The Michigan State
Numismatic Society’s show offers strong
competition in the Midwest. Other state and
regional shows do the same.
You might be surprised at the prices that are in
order for first, second and third places. CSNS
offers a one-ounce gold coin for best in show
and smaller gold coins as individual category
prizes. FUN offers various collector coins. I
earned a 1941-S half dollar in MS-64 as a
third-place prize in U.S. coins this past
Exhibiters are especially proud of their
collections. They enjoy looking at other
collectors’ holdings and are frequently great
sources of additional information on numismatics
One of the ANA Summer Seminar offerings is a
how-to class on preparing an exhibit. A good way
to get into this field is to put an exhibit
together for your local club show. Perhaps you
can get other members to compete.
It spices up a show when there is show-and-tell
information. For that matter, it spices up a
I’ll never forget my experiences with the Grosse
Pointe Numismatic Society when I still lived in
Detroit. I remember the late George Hatie
bringing his autograph collection to the club
meeting at his turn to “exhibit.” We got to
examine the signatures of all but one of the
U.S. presidents, Napoleon, Henry VIII, and on
and on. What a joy those meetings were. Programs
promote strong collectors.
Now for more on “sleepers.” Keep an eye out for
the tougher blocks of Web Press $1 Federal
Reserve Notes. The more common blocks are fairly
inexpensive, especially in circulated condition.
The famous 1988A Series F*, however, and other
tough blocks are worth looking for.
The scarcity of some of the face and back plate
configurations is also something to look for.
One example is the 1988A Series AF block with a
No. l face plate and a No. 2 back plate from run
No. 1. A run consists of 200,000 sheets or
6,400,000 notes. For more information consult
The Standard Handbook of $1 Web-Fed Test Notes
by Bob Kvederas Jr. and Sr.
You should start thinking now about attending a
big show in the future. FUN is coming up in
January, and MSNS’s Thanksgiving show is getting
closer. Hopefully, these autumn and winter shows
will rev up interest and we’ll see upward price