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    Description

    Spencer M. Clark's Fractional Currency Presentation Book.
    In May of 1866, nearly four years after Congress approved the production of Fractional Currency, thirteen presentation books containing Fractional Specimens were produced and presented to President Andrew Johnson, his cabinet, and several congressmen. That group included the book offered here. It was presented to Spencer M. Clark, who was Superintendent of the National Currency Bureau and later the BEP (1862-1868). Clark was a bit of an eccentric genius, and is best known for placing his own portrait on the Third Issue Five Cent Fractional Currency note. The note was first issued in January of 1865. Whether intended as an actual act of colossal vanity or merely as an insiders' joke, Spencer Clark's self-serving deed brought the wrath of Congress down on both Clark and the Bureau. The Act of April 7, 1866, which prohibited the placing of the portrait of any living person on U.S. currency, was a direct result of Clark's misuse of his authority.

    In our 2005 Central States Signature Auction, we presented the President Andrew Johnson Presentation Book with the following information about rarity and the notes in the books, "Twelve presentation books have been definitively traced to this date, seven of them from the original presentation group, two others with Spencer Clark's name on the cover and three with either missing or blank covers, which may or may not have been part of the presentation group. Our best estimate is that sixteen originally existed: the census group of twelve and four others, which may or may not still exist. Of the census group, three are impounded in museums: the ANA, the ANS and the Smithsonian...All the known Fractional presentation books contain the same 31 Proof notes. All are distinct Proof printings, sharper in both color and quality than normal Specimen notes, and all lack bronzing, overprints and design letters." Clark's influence was monumental, making his Specimen Presentation Book a treasured part of the history of United States Fractional Currency.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2010
    17th-21st Thursday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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