One of seven known 1884 Bank of British North America $5 notes coming to auction

An 1884 Bank of British North America $5 note – one of only seven known – is slated to cross the block during the New York International Numismatic Convention (NYINC) this January.

“Our January offering is an opportunity that many collectors will wait a lifetime for – the chance to purchase such a highly revered and respected piece of Canadian banknote history,” reads a statement issued by Stack’s Bowers Galleries, one of a handful of auction houses participating in the 48th NYINC on Jan. 16-19.

It’s certified as Fine-15 by PCGS Currency, a former branch of the U.S.-based Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS), and has a serial number reading “16877.”

The Bank of British North America was founded in England in 1836 “as a private institution meant to conduct commerce through certain North American provinces,” reads the Stack’s Bowers statement, which adds the bank operated for 82 years with nearly 100 branches.

The back of the holder notes ‘small edge splits,’ which are described by auctioneers as ‘negligible for key notes like this.’

As the First World War imposed restrictions on communication and travel, however, it became difficult for the bank’s England-based directors to operate. The bank was absorbed by the Bank of Montreal in 1918, but all of its banknotes are still redeemable today.

At the time of the merger, the bank had total assets of $78 million.

Two of the other seven examples of the bank’s 1884 $5 note belong to institutional collections while another is stamped “cancelled.”

The previous example offered at auction – this certified by PCGS as Very Fine-20 – brought $34,500 US in January 2012.

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