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    The Inception of 100 Years of United States Federal Reserve Banking History

    Ten Note Federal Reserve Proof Presentation Set Number 1, Presented by Secretary of the Treasury William G. McAdoo on December 21, 1914
    On December 23, 1913, President Woodrow Wilson signed into law the Federal Reserve Act, which transformed the American monetary system and celebrates its 100 year history this year. Soon thereafter, Joseph E. Ralph, the Director of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, was assigned the task of designing and producing the new Federal Reserve Notes. During the next year, various prototype designs were produced until a standardized design was finalized in the Fall of 1914. As a part of the design process, a small quantity of Proof examples was produced. These Proofs were printed from the actual currency plates on to card stock, with the Treasury seal and the all zero serial numbers glued on by hand by the pressman. On the back of each Proof the official "Proofing Room" number was imprinted in light blue ink.

    In a letter dated October 28, 1914, a copy of which is included with this lot, Director Ralph presented the Secretary of the Treasury, William G. McAdoo, with a Proof note for the new $5 denomination, informing the Secretary that the first Federal Reserve Notes would bear the "Richmond Federal Reserve District" seal.

    Gene Hessler, in his book U.S. Essay, Proof & Specimen Notes, states that the 1916 "Annual Report of the Bureau of Engraving & Printing" notes that only two complete sets of Proofs were produced, although it is likely that either two more sets were unofficially created or that other Proofs were combined to make at least two more sets, as four complete sets are said to exist today.

    This, however, is the very first set produced and comes with the card which accompanied the set when it was presented to the Honorable Joseph E. Ralph, Director of the Bureau of Engraving & Printing, by Treasury Secretary McAdoo on December 21, 1914.

    The set consists of ten pieces, a Richmond district front of each of the five denominations along with a back for each of the five denominations. All have been encapsulated in custom holders and graded by PMG, with the grades of each as follows: $5 Front Proof Gem Uncirculated 66 EPQ, $5 Back Proof Superb Gem 67 EPQ, $10 Face Proof Gem Uncirculated 66 EPQ, $10 Back Proof Gem Uncirculated 66 EPQ, $20 Face Proof Gem Uncirculated 66 EPQ, $20 Back Proof Choice Uncirculated 64, $50 Face Proof Superb Gem Uncirculated 67 EPQ, $50 Back Proof Choice Uncirculated 64, $100 Face Proof Gem Uncirculated 66 EPQ, $100 Back Proof Gem Uncirculated 65 EPQ.

    The first and last public offering of this set was our 2010 Memphis Signature Auction where the set realized $37,750. The set was a relative bargain compared to the prices proofs have commanded since it last sold. Almost every day, Americans are reminded of the impact of the Federal Reserve on their daily lives. This set, from one of America's biggest and most important government institutions, is missing from even the Smithsonian Institution or the Fed itself. It is a veritable founding document from the Federal Reserve System's earliest days, and this set of Proofs, the first set of Federal Reserve Notes ever produced, is a true national treasure which no amount of money could ever duplicate.
    From The Greensboro Collection (Total: 6 items)

    View all of [The Greensboro Collection ]

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    Auction Dates
    January, 2013
    9th-14th Wednesday-Monday
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