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    Historically Significant BEP Presentation Set - Given to Henry Herrick Bond, Assistant Treasurer of the United States

    Henry Herrick Bond Presentation Set of Small Size Federal Currency Specimens $1-$10000
    The eleven face and eleven back specimens offered in this lot represent a complete denomination set of small size currency upon its introduction in 1929. The set comes directly from the family of Henry Herrick Bond, who served as the Assistant Secretary of the Treasury under Presidents Coolidge and Hoover, with the responsibility of overseeing the changeover from large size to small size currency. In addition to the twenty-two face and back Proofs offered here, this lot is accompanied by a scrapbook of photos, letters, clippings, and archival material depicting the career of Mr. Bond, who served in many capacities before assuming his duties as a Treasury Assistant Secretary.

    Henry Herrick Bond was born in Florence, Massachusetts and graduated from Waltham High School before receiving his undergraduate degree from Harvard University in 1904. Two years later he earned his law degree from Harvard, and was admitted to the Massachusetts bar. Entering private practice in Waltham, he served as a town alderman, eventually being elected President of the Board of Aldermen in 1916. In June of that year Mr. Bond, whose practice specialized in tax law, accepted an appointment as Deputy Commissioner in the office of the state tax commission of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. After leaving that position in 1919, Bond practiced tax law in Boston before accepting an appointment from President Coolidge in 1927 to serve as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury under Secretary of the Treasury Andrew Mellon.

    At the Treasury Department, Bond assumed supervision of the Bureau of Internal Revenue and coordinated the transition from large size currency to small, which occurred on July 10, 1929. A newspaper article from the scrapbook which is part of this lot indicates the pressure that Assistant Secretary Bond was subjected to as the new currency was introduced. As the date approached, the Treasury was besieged with requests for the new money from well-connected businesses and individuals. It was decided that the first sheet of the new currency would be placed in the archives of the Treasury Department and the second presented to President Hoover for distribution to the President and his cabinet. Individual notes were made available on a one-per-member basis to Senators and members of the House of Representatives, but, as the article goes on to say, "Beyond this stage of distribution, however, the Treasury has decided it will not go before the morning of July 10, when the new money will become available to the general public. floods of requests have been pouring in to the Treasury Department for advance distribution of the new and much desired paper money, but on orders of Assistant Secretary of the Treasury Henry Herrick Bond, in charge of the new money program, all such requests have been politely, but flatly denied." His task at the Treasury Department successfully completed, Bond tendered his resignation in August of 1929, becoming a partner in the Washington law firm of Donovan, Bond, Rachie and Alvord. The Donovan he partnered with was William "Wild Bill" Donovan, a fellow ex-Coolidge sub-cabinet member and World War I Medal of Honor recipient who later became head of the World War II Office of Strategic Services, the predecessor of today's Central Intelligence Agency. Bond later practiced law in Boston before passing away in 1962.

    To commemorate Bond's service at the Treasury Department, his government associates presented him with a dinner in his honor at the Congressional Country Club on August 28, 1929. The menu, which is part of the archive that accompanies the notes in this lot, is a facsimile sheet of the new small size currency, with each piece carrying the serial number of the course being served, an illustration of each course in every note's central vignette, and different "signatures" on each note, starting with those of Secretary A.W. Mellon and Undersecretary Ogden Mills and ending with that of W.O. Woods, Treasurer of the United States.

    Discussions surrounding the reduction of the size of United States Paper money began early in the 20th century. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing was tasked with printing currency for the Philippines shortly after the United States acquired it in 1898. The notes were much smaller and cheaper to produce. A proposal to reduce the size of United States currency asserted that the savings would be as much as $600,000. The proposal was put forth during the tenure of Secretary of the Treasury, Franklin MacVeagh (1909-1913), though no action was taken beyond MacVeagh renewing the discussions in his final year in office. MacVeagh's successor, William McAdoo, did not push for a change, though there are records that discussions continued. More than a decade later, Andrew W. Mellon took up the cause and on August 20, 1925 assembled a committee of 25 people to research and report back. In May of 1927, after their findings were presented to Mellon, he approved the change. The portraits on each denomination would continue as proposed in 1909, but the seals and serial numbers would be distinct for each class of notes: Legal Tender Notes, Silver Certificates, and so on.

    We now know that the enormous changeover task was spearheaded by Henry Herrick Bond. Redesigns were needed for Legal Tenders, Silver Certificates, Gold Certificates, Federal Reserve Bank Notes, Federal Reserve Notes, and National Bank Notes: 31 designs including all types and denominations. Even more remarkable, notes had to be produced for thousands of National Banks. Though the extant of the changes was massive, by mid-1929 issuance of the Series 1928 notes began, followed by Series 1929 Nationals and FRBNs a month later. This set of proofs and the retirement party are a glimpse of the admiration the Bureau and his coworkers had for Bond's commitment and hard work on this project.

    The eleven front and eleven back Proofs which are the heart of this lot were presented to Mr. Bond upon his leaving the Treasury Department, and they bear the Treasury signatures current upon his departure in August of 1929. Unlike any other small size Federal Proofs or Specimens, each front and each back is printed on Crane Company paper (the sole supplier to the Bureau of Engraving & Printing). Also unlike any other small size Proofs or Specimens that we have ever handled, each of the notes is printed on wide margin paper, in the manner of the wide margin Fractional Currency specimens printed sixty years earlier. The original leather-bound presentation book is also included, bearing the title "Specimens of the New Paper Currency, Bureau of Engraving & Printing, Washington, DC" in gold on the cover, along with the name "Henry Herrick Bond," also in gold. The interior consists of eleven pages, with spaces for the fronts and backs to be displayed in each page. A front and back of each denomination current in 1929 is present, and all series current in 1929 are present as well. Silver Certificates are represented by the $1, Legal Tenders by the $2 and $5, Gold Certificates by the $10, $20, $50 and $100 denominations, and Federal Reserve Notes by the $500, $1000, $5000 and $10000 denominations. Each Specimen is uniface, with all faces bearing serial number "00000." All have been graded by PMG, with each graded as follows:

    $1 Silver Certificate Face Choice Uncirculated 64;
    $1 Silver Certificate Back Choice Uncirculated 64 with a tiny stain;
    $2 Legal Tender Face Choice Uncirculated 64;
    $2 Legal Tender Back Choice Uncirculated 64;
    $5 Legal Tender Face Choice Uncirculated 64;
    $5 Legal Tender Back Choice Uncirculated 64;
    $10 Gold Certificate Face Choice Uncirculated 64 EPQ;
    $10 Gold Certificate Back Choice Uncirculated 64;
    $20 Gold Certificate Face Gem Uncirculated 65 EPQ;
    $20 Gold Certificate Back Gem Uncirculated 66 EPQ;
    $50 Gold Certificate Face Gem Uncirculated 65 EPQ;
    $50 Gold Certificate Back Choice Uncirculated 64;
    $100 Gold Certificate Face Choice Uncirculated 64;
    $100 Gold Certificate Back Choice Uncirculated 64;
    $500 Federal Reserve Note Face Choice Uncirculated 64;
    $500 Federal Reserve Note Back Gem Uncirculated 66 EPQ;
    $1000 Federal Reserve Note Face Choice Uncirculated 64;
    $1000 Federal Reserve Note Back Gem Uncirculated 65 EPQ;
    $5000 Federal Reserve Note Face Choice Uncirculated 64;
    $5000 Federal Reserve Note Back Gem Uncirculated 65 EPQ;
    $10000 Federal Reserve Note Face Choice Uncirculated 64 with Paste-up District Additions, Foreign Substance;
    $10000 Federal Reserve Note Back Choice Uncirculated 64.

    All of these Proofs are extremely rare, with most or all almost certainly unique. The scope of this presentation set ranges across all issued denominations and includes a few examples of each circulating types, a monument of American numismatic history. To our knowledge, nothing like it was executed before or since. As a group, this is certainly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to obtain what was previously unobtainable before the existence of this archive was disclosed. The provenance here is clear and cannot be excelled, and the quality of the notes is simply superlative. The term "museum quality" is one which is often found in auction catalogues, often without any real justification, but it is absolutely applicable here, as this is the "real deal." (Total: 22 notes)


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2015
    13th Thursday
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