President Andrew Johnson's Fractional Currency Presentation Book. Thirteen of these books were presented in May of 1866 to P...
President Andrew Johnson's Fractional Currency Presentation BookPresident Andrew Johnson's Fractional Currency Presentation Book. Thirteen of these books were presented in May of 1866 to President Andrew Johnson, his cabinet and several congressmen. Twelve presentation books have been definitively traced to this date, seven of them from the original presentation group, two others with Spencer Clark's name on the cover and three with either missing or blank covers, which may or may not have been part of the presentation group. Our best estimate is that sixteen originally existed: the census group of twelve and four others, which may or may not still exist. Of the census group, three are impounded in museums: the ANA, the ANS and the Smithsonian. In any event, a Fractional Currency presentation book is the ultimate acquisition for any collection of Fractional Currency, and President Johnson's personal book is the ultimate presentation book. It's interesting to note that in Stack's May 2004 Sale, where they presented one of the two Spencer Clark books, their description included, "For historical interest, this book certainly ranks up there with the Spinner and President Johnson books." That Spencer Clark book, which was in lovely condition but not the equal of this book, realized $57,500. Eight years ago, we sold the Spinner book as part of Milt Friedberg's collection for just $28,600, which at that time was a very strong price. All the known Fractional presentation books contain the same 31 Proof notes. All are distinct Proof printings, sharper in both color and quality than normal Specimen notes, and all lack bronzing, overprints and design letters. There is a bit of light foxing on a few of the pages in the book, but not on the notes themselves. The Justice face is a normal Specimen note, and it is mounted at a bit of an angle, which is rather strange but clearly original. The Fessenden Red Back has a small random ink dot that has eroded a tiny hole, and the First Issue 25¢ back shows the normal light stains that are ubiquitous on this note in these books. The central design on the back cover of this book is a tooled leather vignette of a left-facing bust of President Johnson. The book is in marvelous condition, and it is 100% original, with no repairs or restorations of any kind. It's fully tight in its binding, with its goldleaf remaining intact on both covers as well as the spine. The ownership of this book can be traced to William Philpott in 1932, then on to B. Max Mehl who owned it from 1933 through 1955. It was then in an Abner Kreisberg November 1965 auction as lot 2536, where it was acquired by Milt Friedberg, who traded it to Martin Gengerke, who traded it to Doug Hales. It was acquired by Tom O'Mara in 1996 from Doug Hales by private treaty. This is its first appearance at public sale since 1965.
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