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The First Piece of United States Federal Currency Ever IssuedFr. 7a $10 1861 Demand Note PMG Very Fine 30 EPQ.
A truly fantastic note which has been off the market since its last auction appearance forty-four years ago in a 1970 Sotheby's sale. It is one of only three Fr. 7a's known, and is additionally the only serial number 1 with the handwritten "For The" known from any of the issuing locations. Although many notes claim the title of "first" note issued by the United States, this is unquestionably the real deal, as the handwritten "For The" Demand Notes were the first of the Demand Notes, with the initial issue starting in 1861 while the "Greenback" Legal Tender Notes were not issued until 1862. Adding to this note's luster and historical importance is its pedigree, which, according to the description in the Sotheby's catalog, began with its presentation to Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase and thence from Chase to financier and Philadelphia banker Jay Cooke, whose efforts to raise funds for the struggling Union cause were instrumental in financing the Civil War. Any estimate here is nothing more than a mere conjecture, as no comparable piece exists, but the combination of rarity, desirability, historical importance and grade easily takes this comfortably into the six figure range, and likely considerably higher.
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