The Finest of Only Four Known and the First of the Two Privately-Held Examples to Reach Auction
Fr. 337b $100 1878 Silver Certificate PCGS Very Fine 35.
Tonight's Platinum Night appearance of this note marks the first time in thirty years that any Series 1878 $100 Silver Certificate has been available to the collecting public, and the first time in over four decades since a specimen has appeared at public auction. While five Friedberg numbers are listed for this short-lived issue, two remain unknown, and, as we note below, two are represented only by examples long ensconced in institutional or government holdings. The Fr. 337b is the only collectible number, with four pieces known. According to Track & Price, this example is by far the finest of the four. Two of the four are in government hands. Serial number A8782, which Track & Price grades as Fine, is now in the Smithsonian Institution, having been transferred there by the Treasury Department. The second note, serial number A12467, belongs to the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and is graded as Good in Track & Price. The other known example was part of the James Wade collection and also serves as the plate note in the Koike reference. That note is graded as Fine in Track & Price. Later owned by Robert Schermerhorn, it appeared on a fixed price list in the 1980s, but has never appeared at auction. Its current whereabouts are unknown to us as it has not appeared on the market since its last offering thirty years ago. The specimen offered this evening comes with an illustrious numismatic pedigree, having been discovered by Dr. Howard Carter as part of the Oat Bin Hoard and later serving as the plate example in both the Donlon and Hessler references. It was owned during the 1970's by Dean Oakes and Morey Perlmutter before a single auction appearance in 1976, after which it disappeared for more than four decades until its appearance in tonight's Platinum Night sale. The note is being offered tonight without a reserve and is a truly beautiful piece with bright fresh color, excellent margins and clear sharp printing. The PCGS-assigned grade of 35 appears to us to be exactly accurate. Their 35 is an italic grade with the reason for it listed as, "Restoration in Lower Right Corner." We have absolutely no doubt that they are accurate, but we are completely unable to spot it even after careful study with a glass. For all visual purposes, the note is an absolutely perfect, high-end VF.
There are five Friedberg numbers of 1878 $100 Silvers with triple signatures; Fr. 336 which is permanently ensconced in the collection of Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco; Fr. 336a which is unknown, even in government collections; Fr. 337 which was part of the Grinnell, Wade and Bebee collections and now resides in the ANA Museum; Fr. 337a which is unknown, even in government collections; and the currently offered Fr. 337b. A triple signature note was also produced for $500 Silver Certificates, Fr. 345a, but the one known example is in the Smithsonian. There was also a $1,000 produced, Fr. 346a, but apparently no examples are extant as there are no recorded serial numbers and none in any government collection. That leaves the $100 being offered tonight as the highest denomination triple-signature Silver Certificate that any collector will likely ever have the opportunity to own.
Needless to say, any estimate could be well off the mark on the low side. We will estimate this very much on the low side to be sure to get the bidding activity started. We would not be surprised if our estimate was more than doubled this evening.
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