Treasury Secretary Katherine Davalos Ortega Presentation Set

ortega-reaganAs the United States readies itself for a first woman to be pictured on its paper money in at least a century, several rare notes offered during Heritage Auctions’ American Numismatic Association Currency Auction Aug. 10-16 show women played an integral role in our money for more than 60 years.

“Bringing women back to United States Currency is a welcome change,” said Dustin Johnston, Director of Currency Auctions at Heritage, “and there is no shortage of candidates worthy of the honor. What few people realize, is that 15 woman’s signatures have appeared on every piece of currency issued in the United States since the late 1940s.”  Ever since 1949, the position of United States Treasurer has been occupied by a woman, and thus each Treasurer’s signature is added to all issued currency.

ortega-presentation-setTake the Serial No. 1 Presentation Set bestowed to U.S. Treasurer Katherine Davalos Ortega in 1988 by President Ronald Reagan. Ortega as Treasury Secretary served under both Presidents Reagan and President George H. W. Bush. The set is a unique grouping that simply cannot be duplicated: A presentation piece gifted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland with a complete denomination set of serial number 1 Series 1985 Federal Reserve Notes from that District ($1, $5, $10, $20, and $50).

The set also includes a rarely auctioned original hand cut template used to engrave the signature of Katherine Davalos Ortega on master dies that were reproduced and used to print over 30 billion currency notes in Series 1981A, 1985, and 1988. The Ortega Serial No. 1 Presentation Set is estimated to sell for $50,000 or more at the Aug. 10-16 convention.

The presentation set is just one of the rare and historic examples highlighting the auction. A $10,000 1934 Federal Reserve Note, PMG About Uncirculated 55, presents a vivid Light Green seal and serial numbers (est. $110,000) and an uncut sheet of $1 1934A North Africa Silver Certificates, is considered the highest third party graded sheet of this number (est. $20,000). A $10 1923 Legal Jackson  –  one of the extremely small printing of 696,000  – is graded Very Choice New 64PPQ PGCS (est. $15,000).

A selection of Civil War-era notes includes an outstanding pleasing “Indian Princess” $5 note with the low serial number 27 (est. $15,000). The key, great rarity in the Confederate series was created after the Bank of Charleston donated what was probably a very worn plate to the Confederate Department of the Treasury in 1861. A bright and attractive $1,000 Montgomery Treasury Note is one of just 130 known surviving examples (est. $30,000). An extremely rare $50 Compound Interest Note, which earned interest (est. $80,000).

A large selection of Silver and Gold Certificates ranges from a highly-detailed $5 1896 Silver Certificate PCGS Gem New 65PPQ (est. $15,000) to a $20 1905 Gold Certificate PCGS Gem New 65PPQ   –  a high-grade Technicolor note from William Philpott’s A4043 run  –  presents strong eye appeal due to its broad margins and ideal inks plus the strong embossing of the serial numbers (est. $65,000).

Heritage Auctions’ American Numismatic Association Convention Currency Auction runs Aug. 10-16 on and live at the event. For more information about the auction and convention, contact Dustin Johnston at 214-409-1302 or