Auction review: 19th-century Vermont banknote brings $64K

Founded in 1831, Vermont’s National Bank of Middlebury has a history of fine fiscal management, including through the Great Depression, both World Wars, and more recently,┬áduring the volatility of worldwide banking and investment markets.

Despite the long-standing efforts, a printing error made by the bank nearly 150 years ago recently paid dividends for at least one notaphilist. Bearing a $10 denomination on the obverse and a $20 denomination on the reverse, the rare, misprinted $10 banknote was described by auctioneers as “one of the most coveted of the Double Denominations.” It sold for $64,625 USD (including buyer’s premium) to an undisclosed buyer as Lot 20104 of the Aug. 3 Currency Signature Auction hosted by Heritage Auctions in conjunction with the World’s Fair of Money in Colorado.

“In twenty years of publicly archived currency auctions, we have handled, just one other Original Series Double Denomination, a far inferior $10/$20 from Springfield, Massachusetts,” reads the auction catalogue. “In 2005, we offered this piece as part of the Taylor Family Collection, where it was described in part, ‘An excessively rare note which traces its pedigree back to the celebrated Albert A. Grinnell collection, where it was lot 1734. It’s one of just two First Charter double denomination examples known and considerably the nicer of the pair. The reverse is not inverted, resulting as it does from the mating of a 3x$10-20 face plate with a 3x$20-50 reverse plate.'”

“It remains one of two known and for error collectors, it’s one of the most coveted of the Double Denominations,” concludes the catalogue.

With a grade of Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) Very Fine-25, the note was expected to bring between $60,000 USD and $80,000 USD.

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