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Description

1891 One Thousand Dollar Treasury Note - Unique In Collector Hands

Fr. 379c $1000 1891 Treasury Note PCGS Extremely Fine 45PPQ.
Only two examples of this design-type are known to exist. The first is this note, whose pedigree lists most of the important names in the history of US currency collecting. It was in the 1944 Barney Bluestone sale of the Grinnell Collection, then to Robert Friedberg, then to Amon Carter, Jr., followed by Jim Thompson, then on to Dean Oakes who sold it to Dr. Edward and Joanne Dauer (the only collectors who ever formed a complete collection of all known U.S. type notes), and finally to the Greensboro Collection. The second existing example has a much simpler history. It has resided in the National Numismatic Collection of the Smithsonian Institution since it was transferred there by the Treasury Department.

This note shares its basic face design with the "Grand Watermelon" in the previous lot. Both have the same striking vignette of General Meade, who took over as the head of the Army of the Potomac on the eve of the battle of Gettysburg. Meade was once referred to by an anonymous officer on his staff as looking like "a dammed old goggle-eyed snapping turtle." In his Pulitzer Prize winning book, A Stillness at Appomattox, Bruce Catton says essentially the same thing in much kinder words..."Major General Commanding George Gordon Meade was lean and grizzled, with a great hawk nose and a furious temper, and his staff had learned to read omens in his behavior. When the army was about to do something he gave off sparks, and those around him did well to step quietly and rapidly." Just a quick glance at the well executed vignette seems to tell us that the engraver was aware of Meade's reputation.

Although the "Grand Watermelon" note with the same basic face design has always received the better "press" due to its magnetic nickname, this note is actually far rarer. There are seven "Grand Watermelons" known, three of which are in private collections. The currently offered 1891 open back is unique in private hands and one of only two in existence.

PCGS has graded this note (which has historically been referred to as CU) Extremely Fine 45PPQ...history was wrong, PCGS got it right. Some argument could be made for AU, but the note clearly has light traces of circulation and the assigned grade should be considered accurate. The important PPQ designation, (which has been placed on this note's holder) is missing from virtually all high-denomination rarities, as restorations and repairs are nearly ubiquitous on these historic artifacts. The currently offered note is totally free of any improvements...none were ever needed as the note is absolutely perfect for its grade.

As with the 1863 $100 Gold which we are also selling this evening, this is likely a once in a lifetime chance to acquire this design-type. After the hammer falls this evening, no collector will have the opportunity to own an 1891 $1000 Treasury Note until tonight's successful bidder parts with this treasure.
From The Greensboro Collection Part II



View all of [The Greensboro Collection Part II ]

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Auction Dates
April, 2013
24th-28th
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 1
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