Rare, low serial 1935 banknotes expected to draw lots of interest

By Jesse Robitaille

A “monumental” collection of low serial number banknotes – each with the same “000005” ending – will be offered this spring as part of an estate sale by New Brunswick’s Geoffrey Bell Auctions.

The collection of eight 1935 Series banknotes was displayed by Brian Bell, of Geoffrey Bell Auctions, at the Torex Coin Show held in downtown Toronto Nov. 18-19.

“This collection will surpass $1 million,” said Bell, who’s also the owner of The Coin Cabinet in Moncton, N.B. “It’s a nice, old-time, fresh collection, but they all have the same serial number, and that’s the important part.”

Bell said the collection – referred to as The Covered Bridge Collection because the estate wishes to remain anonymous – includes eight notes, six of which are French (with denominations of $2, $5, $10, $20, $25 and $50) and two of which are English (with denominations of $10 and $20). He began appraising the collection in early November; however, it will be a few weeks before all the estimates are determined.

“The low serial number sets were acquired through early CPMS [Canadian Paper Money Society] members; I guess these guys would be the higher-standing guys,” said Bell.

“This stuff has never been on the market or for sale publicly. It has always been traded in direct sales. These particular examples were acquired by the owner, and he has owned them for 67 years. They don’t get traded very often,” he said, adding the collection has “been in storage for 30 years, set aside for 30 years in a drawer.”

As one could expect, there was a flurry of interest around Bell’s table at Torex this November.

“I could’ve sold all this today,” he said, adding many collectors and dealers showed interest in the notes.

Another separate consignment to be offered by Geoffrey Bell Auctions in 2017 includes another French1935 Series $25 note “in better condition than the note in the main collection.”

“We feel it will compliment both consignors outcomes,” Bell added.

The notes will be sold individually at the 2017 Spring and Fall Toronto Coin Expo (not to be confused with Torex) by Geoffrey Bell Auctions, the show’s official auctioneer.

“We’ll do it one by one, and half will be sold in the spring and half will be sold in the fall.”

Bell said selling at an auction generally brings stronger results than private sales.

“If you want it to serve you, and if you want to maximize it for your family, you auction it, and you’re going to get all the money.”

But before next year’s big sale, Bell will take the collection to the 62nd Annual Florida United Numismatists (FUN) Convention in January 2017 to have either Professional Coin Grading Service or Paper Money Guaranty evaluate and grade the notes.

“We’ll be taking a lot of it to the FUN Show for grading purposes, and we’ll also have a table there, so we’ll display it as well.”

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