1882 $100 Gold Certificate Shines in Currency Auction

Triple-signed note, leading Oct. 5-7 event, is one of just two known examples

A magnificent hand-signed, triple signature 1882 $100 gold certificate, one of just two known examples, will become a centerpiece of a new collection when it is sold in Heritage Auctions’ Long Beach Expo US Currency Signature® Auction – Long Beach Oct. 5-7.

1882 $100 Gold Certificate

The Fr. 1202 $100 1882 Gold Certificate PMG Very Fine 30 (estimate: $700,000+), with serial number A3386, is one of two known to exist, and the only privately owned example. The other is in a much lower grade and was transferred in 1978 from the Treasury Department to the Smithsonian Institution.

“The first emissions of Series 1882 Gold Certificates were printed in minuscule numbers and saw extensive circulation,” says Dustin Johnston, Vice President of Currency at Heritage Auctions. “Only the first 9,000 printed and issued were hand signed by Thomas C. Acton. Two are known to have survived – a microscopic survival rate. With the other known survivor in the National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian, this offering is incredible, perhaps once in a generation or even lifetime. Hailing from The Allan J. Goldman auction, its last offering was 20 years ago.”

Another magnificent note that is unique in private hands is a Fr. 1203 $100 1882 Gold Certificate PMG Choice Fine 15 (estimate: $500,000+). Series 1882 $100 Gold Certificates were issued for more than three decades. However, there was a huge gap between 1891 and 1898 when no new plates or print runs were ordered for a number of the denominations, creating two distinct Gold Certificate issuing periods. With no new notes being issued, those already in circulation were used heavily to meet the needs of the channels of commerce, even though hoarding of metal-backed notes was popular. All of the major Gold Certificate rarities offered in this auction are from that first issuing period, when print runs were miniscule compared to the second issuing period. Among the most important of these rarities is the Fr. 1203, featuring the Signatures of Blanch Bruce and A.U. Wyman, who served jointly in the Treasury from April 1883 to April 1885. Three examples are known; the two others are part of the Federal Reserve Bank Collections in Richmond and New York. Major paper rarities are rarely in original and unaltered condition.

A Fr. 2230-E $10,000 1928 Federal Reserve Note. PMG Choice About Unc 58 is the finest-graded example and is one of just 10 known for its type, two of which are in museum collections. Series 1928 $10,000 FRNs are far rarer than Series 1934 pieces of the same denomination. “When this note was last offered, it set a price record for a Small Size type note,” Johnston says. “As the finest graded example of this massive 20th century type rarity, it should easily reclaim that title.” The record price “title” was only recently eclipsed by its brethren, a discovery 1928 $10,000 from the Kansas City district, which Heritage sold in early 2021 for $456,000. “It is the ultimate combination of rarity and condition,” Johnston said.

Another high-denomination note featured in the auction is a Fr. 2220-F $5,000 1928 Federal Reserve Note. PMG Choice Very Fine 35 (estimate: $150,000+). Like the 1928 FRN $10,000s, far fewer of the 1928 $5,000 FRNs remain compared to their 1934 counterparts. Track & Price has enumerated just 19 serial numbers for the 1928 Series as compared to 109 for the 1934 Series. The serial number in this lot is F00000077A and has been included in the census data for many years. The 1928 notes have the “redeemable in gold on demand” obligation clause, while the 1934 notes sport the “redeemable in lawful money” obligation clause. Neither clause is valid today, but the earlier “gold” clause always has been more of a draw to collectors.

A Fr. 2231-B $10,000 1934 Federal Reserve Note. PCGS Banknote Choice Unc 64 (estimate: $150,000+) once was a part of the famed $1 million display at Binion’s Horseshoe Casino in Las Vegas. This nicely preserved banknote, with serial number B00003059A, was part of the renowned display that was composed of a total of 100 Series 1934 $10,000 FRNs on the New York district framed by a large gold-color horseshoe. The open end of the horseshoe was on the bottom and the notes were exhibited in five columns of 20 notes each; the note offered in this auction is one of the nicest examples featured in the display.

Other top lots in the auction include, but are not limited to:

  • A Fr. 172 $100 1880 Legal Tender PMG Choice Uncirculated 64 – one of 11 known (estimate: $125,000+)
  • A Fr. 1204 $100 1882 Gold Certificate PMG Very Fine 25, from the Allan H. Goldman Collection, with the rare large red spiked seal (estimate: $125,000+)
  • A Fr. 1218f $1,000 1882 Gold Certificate PMG Very Fine 25 from the Allan H. Goldman Collection (estimate: $125,000+)
  • A Fr. 2231-G $10,000 1934 Federal Reserve Note. PMG Extremely Fine 40 (estimate: $120,000+)

Information and images of all lots can be found at HA.com/3589.

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