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    Iconic 1863 $20 Gold Certificate

    Fr. 1166b $20 1863 Gold Certificate PCGS Very Fine 30.
    Local banks and state governments supplied the large portion of the United States currency needs for nearly a century before the Civil War led to major changes. During times of war, hard currency, especially gold and silver, is hoarded. There was a need for a more prominent financial instrument to facilitate trade and more importantly fund the fight against the Confederacy. Not all of the newly printed and issued United States paper money was created equal. The value of Legal Tender notes, which were fiat currency, rose and fell with the victories and defeats of the Union. Demand Notes were redeemable for specie for just a short time before being relegated to "junk" status. The Gold Certificates of 1863 were intended to bring some stability to interbank trading since they were backed by gold on deposit with the Treasury and were less subject to the increasing perils of the war. However, Treasury records and dates on the notes reveal that they were actually issued between 1865 and 1869.

    A total of 48,000 1863 $20 Gold Certificates were printed and issued. Since much of their use was between banks, they were subject to heavy redemption and today just six notes are known. There are two variations for the denomination. The first notes were countersigned by the Assistant Treasurer H.H. VanDyck. Later, the design was changed to add his engraved signature at the bottom. Just two of the hand signed notes are known, and four are known of the latter variety. This note is one of the four examples that feature the engraved signature of the Assistant Treasurer. Since two of the four "engraved" examples are cancelled and permanently impounded in the Bureau of Public Debt and the Smithsonian, collectors face the same odds of landing an example of either for their collection. Collectors who use Friedberg numbers as a guide should note that plate changes like those seen between the two emissions of 1863 Gold Certificates are rarely assigned Friedberg numbers. The die-hard specialist, with deep enough pockets and lots of enthusiasm, can easily justify the acquisition of both varieties.

    Nearly a quarter century has passed since this piece was last offered to collectors at public auction. It changed hands just once privately since that 1990 offering. That auction appearance was a decade after it was offered by noted currency dealer Dean Oakes when it was included in his fixed price list at $100,000. Three of the four privately owned examples are in the VF grade range. The highest grade example, serial number 416, is listed in the census as an Extremely Fine with repairs. The present offering features four very large margins framing rich golden-yellow paper adorned with a deep red seal and serial numbers. Some minuscule pinholes are noted, and contrary to the usually negative connotation that their presence carries, they are a reminder that this note is fresh and has not been "enhanced" like so many early rarities. The last time any 1166b appeared at auction was nearly half a decade ago, with that piece, a CGA graded Very Fine 20, realizing $345,000. The bold eye appeal, rarity, and originality of the presently offered piece should easily carry this note past that number, with bidding likely reaching or exceeding...
    From The Greensboro Collection

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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2013
    9th-14th Wednesday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 4
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 4,893

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