Seven-figure private sale sees acclaimed currency collectors part with Canadian collection

Described as “the most complete and most valuable collection of Canadian banknotes ever assembled,” the Dauer Collection was recently sold to an international collector for an undisclosed seven-figure amount.

Mike Abramson, of Minnesota’s Executive Currency, brokered the private sale of Joanne and Edward Dauer’s Canadian currency collection this fall.

“This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to obtain the only complete collection of issued banknotes for my client,” said Abramson, who added it “may be many generations before these notes may again appear on the market, if ever.”

Described by Abramson as “the only complete privately held collection of Bank of Canada and Dominion of Canada banknotes by design,” the collection included the only 1911 $1,000 note in private hands. It was also “nearly complete by Charlton number” and included the only known privately held 1912 $5 Series C note, complete with the McCavourSaunders signature combination (DC-21h). Other highlights include the rare 1866 $2 and $5 notes issued by the Province of Canada.

All notes were authenticated and graded by Paper Money Guaranty (PMG).

“The superb quality of the notes was also an important consideration for the Dauers,” who are married doctors, Abramson said. “Their collection included many of the finest known examples,” including an 1882 $4 note in Extremely Fine condition and the 1935 Series $25 note in both English and French.

“Collections like this rarely change hands intact and are scattered to the winds when they end up at public auction,” Abramson added.

The 1925 $1,000 note is the finest of three known privately held examples.

‘WE ARE ONLY CUSTODIANS’

When asked why they decided to sell their Canadian currency collection, the Dauers echoed comments shared by many notable collectors.

“As relayed to us before by another well-known collector, we are only custodians of these notes during our lifetime, and at some time they need to be passed on to another collector to care for them for future generations,” said Joanne Dauer.

The Dauers, who are residents of Coral Springs, Fla., assembled their collection of Canadian currency over a 30-year period. It included acquisitions from auctions as well as other private collections.

“Behind the scenes over the past three decades, Drs. Edward and Joanne Dauer were building a spectacular collection of Dominion of Canada and Bank of Canada notes,” said Abramson. “Their collection starts with the 1866 series and ends with all denominations of the 1937 Series and is widely recognized as the most complete collection of Canadian banknotes ever assembled. It is spectacular.”

The Dauers are also known for assembling the only complete type collection of U.S. silver certificates, legal tender notes and demand notes.

They continue to acquire banknotes from other countries of the British Commonwealth and plan to sell the balance of their collection in single country sales in the future, Abramson said.

“When you have the opportunity to buy a rare or unique note, you have to step up and pay the price as most likely you will not have an opportunity again to obtain it either at a private or public sale,” said Edward Dauer, who insists on obtaining the finest and rarest notes whenever possible.

PAPER MONEY MARKET

In Extremely Fine condition, the collection’s 1882 $4 note is the finest known extant example.

“Twenty years ago, paper money in general was considered a backwater hobby whose specimens struggled to realize $100,000 for a single item at auction,” said Abramson. “It took until 2005 for the first U.S. banknote to bring $1 million or more at auction.”

That note was one of only three privately owned 1890 $1,000 U.S. treasury notes, another example of which was sold by the Dauers in 2006 for $2.1 million USD.

Known as the “Grand Watermelon” and considered the “holy grail” of U.S. currency, the note holds the No. 1 spot in Q. David Bowers and David Sundman’s 2005 book, 100 Greatest American Currency Notes.

This October, the Grand Watermelon sold in 2005 for $1 million realized more than $2 million during the third offering of the Joel R. Anderson Collection of U.S. Paper Money. The fourth part of the Anderson sale will be held next February and is expected to bring more than $35 million across all four sessions.

“For many decades, Canadian banknotes were pursued by a tiny percentage of collectors, keeping their prices historically at levels only a fraction of what their U.S. counterparts were bringing,” said Abramson, who added he found no public record of a single Canadian note ever selling for more than $350,000 at auction.

The collection’s 1935 Series $25 French-language note is also the finest extant example.

THE DAUERS

The Dauers were two of the founders of Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, Fla., and Edward previously served as president of Florida Medical Services. The father of six was also on the Florida State Board of Medicine for 11 years, two of which were served as chairman.

The Dauer’s collections have ranged from currency to vintage cars and even postage stamps.

They’ve authored two books, American History as Seen Through Currency and 100 Years of Australian History as Seen Through Banknotes, which were published in 2003 and 2007, respectively.

The couple recently sold a group of 158 Australian currency notes during Heritage Auctions’ Sept. 6 world currency sale in Long Beach, Calif. They started this collection after their 1982 honeymoon to Australia.

“Other collections of Australian notes have been brought to auction before, of course, but this is the finest-graded collection ever offered,” said Heritage Auctions Currency Auctions Director Dustin Johnston.

“The quality of this collection is unmatched.”

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