Look: Stunning Collection of Old US Money Is Worth Average of $125,000 Per Bill


A large collection of bills representing exceedingly rare and valuable U.S. currency from the 19th and 20th century is now available in an ongoing auction expected to fetch hundreds of times their collective face value.

According to Fox Business, the 240 bills have a stated worth of $76,000, but contain some of the most elusive bills in the nation’s history and have an estimated numismatic value in the tens of millions.

Some of the individual pieces included in the collection are expected to draw seven-figure bids on their own.

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Stack’s Bowers Galleries is the firm behind the auction, and its vice president of numismatics explained the significance of the bills on display.

“A lot of bills the U.S. government doesn’t even have a copy of them,” said Vicken Yegparian.

He provided an on-air exhibit of particularly valuable bills, providing some context to the staggering sums they are projected to attract from collectors.

According to Yegparian, many of the bills “are large-sized bank notes, which started in the 1860s when the U.S. government really got involved in the currency business in a big way because the Civil War was going on.”

The domestic turmoil and debt caused by that war, he explained, meant that the government “needed to finance that and they were scrambling to figure out a way.”

Are you surprised by the value of these bills?

Ten examples Yegparian displayed during his Fox Business Network appearance had a combined value of about $10 million, he said.

Some of the rarest pieces in the Joel R. Anderson collection are not from the Civil War era, however.

A $1,000 silver certificate printed in 1891 is one of two known examples in existence and is expected to fetch somewhere around $2 million at auction.

As Stack’s Bowers currency expert Peter Treglia explained, the “Marcy” note is “completely unique by design.”

The only other example, which bears the serial number 1, is in the custody of a government institution, he said, so the one in Anderson’s collection is the only example in the world available to a private collector.

Q. David Bowers, co-founder of Stack’s Bowers, spoke to Coin Week last month about the impressive collection.

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“Some years ago, Joel decided to try to have the creme de la creme, the ultra collection of paper money,” Bowers said.

One piece at a time, that ultimate collection of U.S. currency is currently open for bids online.

“It is going to be the most valuable collection ever auctioned,” Yegparian said. “The entirety of the collection is in excess of $30 million.”

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Chris Agee is an American journalist with more than 15 years of experience in a wide range of newsrooms.
Chris Agee is an American journalist with more than 15 years of experience in a variety of newsroom settings. After covering crime and other beats for newspapers and radio stations across the U.S., he served as managing editor at Western Journalism until 2017. He has also been a regular guest and guest host on several syndicated radio programs. He lives in Phoenix, Arizona, with his wife and son.
Texas Press Association, Best News Writing - 2012
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