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Auction Name: 2021 June 24 - 25 The Mike Coltrane Collection Part 2 Currency Signature Auction - Dallas
Lot Number: 20015
Shortcut to Lot: HA.com/3583-20015
United States - Act of February 24, 1815 $10 Treasury Note. Hessler X83C, Fr. TN-14b. Triple-Signature Fully Issued. PMG Choice Very Fine 35.
The Mike Coltrane Collection of War of 1812 Treasury Notes has been a historic offering on many levels, embracing many of the rarest major types such as the virtually unavailable March 4, 1814, $20 note sold in the first sale for $31,200. Its panorama of other series, denomination types, paper usages, and signature combinations is likely never to be duplicated. Most importantly though, Mike's collection joined together both triple-signature fully issued, confirmed notes into one cabinet. He is the first to accomplish the feat. The $10 notes were delivered before the $3 denominations, and this example is perhaps the first fully issued United States currency note known.
In the first Coltrane Collection sale, we sold the uniquely styled (the only War of 1812 type without an eagle vignette) and distinguished Act of February 24, 1815, $3 TN-16b for $168,000. That was over double its previous public appearance in our 2005 O'Neal sale. The $10 Fr. TN-14b also has a distinctive character. Although the plate design is the same as Fr. TN-14a and the previous proofs, it has its required third signature at the left for full monetary issuance. The signer, James Dickson of Savannah, Georgia, would have been designated as such by Joseph Nourse, Register of the Treasury (and signer of the $3 Triple-Signature note as specified in the Act of February 24, 1815). Records of that appointment are unknown and likely were destroyed during the catastrophic January 11, 1820, fire in Savannah, Georgia. Exacerbated by the illegal storage of gunpowder within the city, the conflagration consumed half the town.
James Dickson was a prominent Savannah, Georgia, commission merchant who, with his partner William Dixon of Liverpool, England was a plaintiff in a protracted legal battle regarding the seizure of their property from the ship Thomas Gibbons, which set sail from Liverpool on August 16, 1812, after the repeal of the British Orders in Council; it was captured by the privateer ship Atas on October 12, 1812, off Tybee Island, Georgia. The case was considered by the U.S. Supreme Court on March 16, 1814 with the opinion that "the decree of the Circuit Court, dismissing the libel of the captors, ought to be affirmed, and that the cause should be remanded to the Circuit Court [of Georgia] for further proceedings as between the United States and the Claimants." The Journal of the House of Representatives records a petition to remit the forfeiture of the property and have the Treasury reimburse Dickson and Dixon on January 27, 1822. On June 30, 1823, a notice of the dissolution of their business partnership was published. However, in 1825, the two pled their case again, with their arguments printed as a twenty-two page document by William Bunce as: Petition of William Dixon and James Dickson, to the Congress of the United States, Praying the Remission of a Forfeiture, &C
. When the matter was finally settled, only James Dickson received payment, receiving the $23,885.95 that had been paid to the U.S. Treasury from the forfeiture of the imported goods. Throughout, Dickson remained solvent, and donated $500 for relief efforts after the 1820 fire that spared his "fireproof store" and most of his merchandise.
A photo of this note was published in the supplement of Sanford Durst's reprint of John Jay Knox's United States Notes. That section was written by Gene Hessler, and presumably the image was from Chase Manhattan Bank Money Museum archives. This $10 resurfaced at the 2015 FUN show where it traded hands and was first publicly auctioned in the March 2019 ANA sale and realized $336,000.
Like other $10 notes from the issue, engraved and printed by Murray, Draper, Fairman & Co. in Philadelphia. It is printed uniface on blue and red fiber UNITED STATES watermarked bond paper in a size and style similar to the prior proof. The Federal eagle at the upper left has its left wing raised higher than its right; in its right talon are an olive branch intertwined with greenery, and in its left are three arrows. A shield rests on its breast, a ribbon with "E PLURIBUS UNUM" is in its beak, and the radiant sun is behind. Intricate pattern engraving appears on all four sides, and white-on-black textual denominations are at each end. The engraved date is March 25, 1815. The obligation across the center states, "The UNITED STATES promise to receive this Note for TEN dollars in all payments to them; or to fund the amount at seven per cent. interest ..." Engraved lines designate signature positions: at lower left for the "Register of the Treasury" and at lower right for the two "In behalf of the United States" signers. A short line is at the top for the serial number, but there is no payee or payable location line as used on prior acts. The clause "Receivable everywhere by the United States in payment of duties taxes & public lands" that appeared at the right end was replaced by the textual denomination.
This plate position H note is signed by Samuel Clarke and Edward Fox at the right "In behalf of the United States." James Dickson's signature is at the left in the "Register of the Treasury" position as authorized. The serial number is unknown as noted by PMG. The note has some light vertical folds, seen primarily from the blank back. Margined well except at the bottom, which is slightly bowed into the center. There is a small cluster of pinholes at the left side, indicating contemporary circulation. PMG notes a "Minor Repair," but it is undetectable without scrutiny and only when viewed from the blank back. Ex: March 2019 ANA sale, lot 3028; previous pedigrees unknown. The other $10 note with three signatures is most likely an Fr. TN-14b with a false signature of "John Calhoun." That piece, reported originally by Roy Pennell, is plated in Hessler's U. S. Loans volume. The present example is one of the most intriguing, important, and historic United States Federal notes. It is worthy of setting the record price for a War of 1812 note.From The Mike Coltrane Collection.