Rare Fr. 202 Face ProofFr. 202 $5000 1863 Interest Bearing Note Face Proof PCGS Apparent Extremely Fine 40, 4 POC Hessler UNL.
This is the first ever public offering that we can find of this rare Friedberg number. Both the Friedberg and the Krause references state that this number is "unknown", and it remains so in issued form. Luckily, the Bowers reference pictures a BEP face proof impression on page 758. The same holds true on page 69 of the Hessler proof reference. Also, only the Hessler example and the current example we are offering sport a green overprint. The piece in tonight's auction has a modified, human-like left hand. Chief of the National Currency Bureau Spencer M. Clark criticized the woman pictured in the proof in the Hessler book as having "more like an animal's paw than a female hand." This makes this piece a later proof example, and it may be as close to an actual note as one can get for this design. The paper remains bright with strong printed design details and bold protectors. An apparent grade was assigned because it was hole punch cancelled, damaged, and restored. The restorations were very well executed.
Interest Bearing Notes were used more as investments instead of circulating paper money. They were sold at a discount and redeemed at face value upon maturity to reflect the interest earned. Banks were the main buyers and holders of these notes, explaining their rarity.
This uniface proof is full of symbolism. At center is a woman at an altar depicting George Washington. The Department of the Treasury has called this vignette by three different names over the years. One name is America Offering Her Jewels, the second is Wealth Offering Up Her Jewels, and the third is Altar of Liberty. In the vignette we see a jewel box and a drinking pitcher at the feet of the allegorical female. She is also getting ready to drop a pendant into the flames sprouting up from the Washington altar. The background consists of an open air domed shrine, a turbulent sea, and a bolt of lightening.
A great paper money item and one that we have not seen before--even with all of our many cumulative years of collecting, studying, selling, and cataloging paper money. This may well prove to be the only opportunity to physically represent this Friedberg number for many years to come. Pricing a rarity of this magnitude is difficult, though a Fr. 201 proof of the $1000 denomination recently appeared at auction and realized $97,750. That piece was also the first example ever offered for that denomination and type.
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