A 125-year-old U.S. silver certificate described as a “truly great artifact of American financial history” highlighted a strong session at the recent Long Beach Expo Currency Signature Auction earlier this month.
The 1,145-lot auction, held Sept. 7-12, realized a total of $3.9 million USD ($5.1 million Cdn.) including buyer’s fees. The highest price realized for a single lot was $152,750 ($201,439 Cdn.), which was brought by Lot 19,117, a U.S. Series of 1891 $100 silver certificate (Friedberg 344) graded Extremely Fine (EF)-45 Exceptional Paper Quality (EPQ) by Paper Money Guaranty (PMG). Only 31 examples, nearly all of which are in lower grades, are known to exist; however, in 2013, an About Uncirculated (AU)-50 example sold for $176,250 USD.
Described by auctioneers as a “handsome example,” this $100 silver certificate possesses “original paper surfaces, nice colour, and white paper.” The margins are described as “solid” while the paper has withstood the tests of time owing to its EPQ accolade noted by PMG. Of the 31 examples recorded for this Friedberg number, six are being permanently held in government institutions, leaving only two dozen examples for collectors.