1870 Dominion note tops estimate, 1934 U.S. Federal Reserve note sets world record

Canadian paper money brought strong results during a Sept. 18 world currency sale by Heritage Auctions.

The top-selling Canadian note was Lot 28117, an 1870 Dominion of Canada $1 “Payable at Toronto” variety with a vertical “MANITOBA” overprint (DC-2bii). Certified as Good-6 by Paper Money Guaranty (PMG), it realized $36,000 US (about $48,150 Cdn.) on starting bid of $15,000 US (about $20,000 Cdn.) and an estimate of $24,000 US (about $32,100 Cdn.).

“An excessively rare note from the first Dominion of Canada issue, this ‘Payable at Toronto’ variety features the vertically stamped overprint ‘Manitoba’ to the right of the central vignette on the front,” reads the auction catalogue.

The ‘Payable at Toronto’ note topped its estimate of $24,000 US.

“While this example is quite well circulated, the note remains fully intact. A true rarity and desirable in any condition, this piece is the sole graded example in the PMG census. As a rule, any United States banknote that is unique in private hands, despite being heavily circulated, would sail well into the five figure range at auction, perhaps even beyond. The Manitoba overprint makes it a distinctly special type for Canada, comparable to the DC-9c in terms of rarity.”

All 40 Canadian notes offered in the 645-lot sale were sold.


That weekend, Heritage Auctions also hosted a 1,535-lot U.S. currency sale that saw a new world record broken.

The top seller was Lot 3579, a 1934 U.S. $10,000 Federal Reserve note (Kansas City) graded Gem Uncirculated-66 EPQ (exceptional paper quality) by PMG.

A 1934 U.S. $10,000 Federal Reserve note (Kansas City) brought $384,000 US as Lot 3579 of the Sept. 17-21 U.S. currency sale. The sale set a world record for small-size U.S. currency.

“This spectacular note is the finest $10,000 to ever grace one of our auctions,” reads the auction catalogue. “It is one of just three $10,000s certified by PMG at this lofty level for all series and districts, with none finer. The other two pieces graded at this level are from the Chicago district, and have appeared previously at public sale, according to Track & Price.”

Described by auctioneers as “gorgeous,” the example offered this September features “perfect” centring, “ideal” colours and “excellent” eye-appeal.

“Also, the embossing is bold enough to be seen through its third-party holder. It is number 562 of only 1,200 examples originally printed, the smallest print run (tied with Richmond and Dallas) of any district for this series. It is a truly magnificent $10,000, and is well worth whatever it takes to take it home. Any collector who is serious about owning the very best available will find this note a must-have item.”

It realized $384,000 US (about $513,600 Cdn.), setting a world record for any piece of small-size U.S. currency, according to auctioneers.

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