One Hundred Dollar 1863 Gold Certificate - Unique In Private HandsFr. 1166c $100 1863 Gold Certificate PCGS Apparent Extremely Fine 40.
We are extremely pleased this evening to be able to offer the only 1863 $100 Gold Certificate in private hands. Three examples of this note are known to exist, two of which reside in the Smithsonian Institution. The lowest serial number example is serial number 11811. It was previously part of the Schermerhorn Collection, but was confiscated (likely lacking proper authorization) by the US Secret Service, canceled and delivered to the Treasury Department Bureau of the Public Debt. It was later transferred by that bureau to the Smithsonian where it currently resides. That note is pictured in color on page 662 of The Whitman Encyclopedia of US Paper Money by Q. David Bowers. Without question that note bears the hand autographed counter-signature of H. H. VanDyck as Assistant Treasurer of the US for the New York District.
The second example, the currently offered note, bears serial number 46425. It is hand dated December 13, 1866 and it has the engraved signature of H.H. VanDyck. The engraved signatures were permitted by law only on the $20 and $100 denominations of this issue. The higher denomination notes from $500 through $10,000 required the hand signature of the assistant treasurer. The Whitman Encyclopedia erroneously cites this note, the currently offered example, as hand signed.
The third and final example which also resides in the Smithsonian Institution is serial number 112853. The signatures on it are likely also engraved. It is photographed on page 219 of the 2006 Edition of the Hessler and Chambliss Comprehensive Catalog of US Paper Money. Hessler and Chambliss also mistakenly refer to this example as having the autographed counter-signature. That book goes on to say, "Only the second of these notes is in private hands. It is in XF-AU condition and is much the finest of the three known notes, in terms of grade. This note is dated January 13, 1866 and has been off the market for many years."
Two of the three known examples, the currently offered piece and serial number 112853, bear a fourth signature, vertically hand signed to the right of the eagle. The signature is that of Oscar Fink, who, according to the 1875 Edition of the US Treasury Register, began work as the head of the Coin Division in the Assistant Treasurer's Office in New York on December 1, 1863 (for filing in the useless information category, Mr. Fink's annual compensation was $2,200).
Although the higher denominations of this issue were used for banking and clearing house purposes, there is considerable evidence that the $20s and $100s actually circulated. In J. Cooke: Financier of the Civil War, Volume One by Ellis Oberholtze, the author cites an instance in which Philadelphia importers "vigorously complained to Mr. Cooke" that they were unable to procure 1863 gold notes from the New York assistant treasurer, and that these certificates, like the gold coins themselves, were becoming subjects of speculation. Further evidence that these notes actually circulated is the fact that all known $20 and $100 1863 Golds are actually circulated. This cataloger gives more weight to the second piece of evidence than the first. In John J. Knox's US Notes: The History of the Various Issues of Paper Money By the Government of the United States printed in 1885 he mentions this issue on pages 115 and 116 "the Act of March 3, 1863 authorized the issue of Gold Certificates...to be used for clearing-house purposes. They were authorized to be issued in sums of not less than $20 corresponding with the denominations of US notes. The coin and bullion deposited were required to be retained in the Treasury for the payment of the same on demand." And states further, "Most of these certificates issued for clearing-house purposes were in denominations of $1000, $5000, and $10000."
The original source of the currently offered note is lost to history. It resided with a well known Midwest dealer for many decades and was then privately placed into the collection of Dr. Edward & Joanne Dauer, the only collectors to ever form a complete collection of all known U.S. type notes. It was then sold privately to the owner of the Greensboro Collection in 2006. This is the first auction appearance not only of this particular note, but of this design type. This represents the only opportunity in history for a private collector to obtain a note of this design at public sale. The PCGS Apparent grade has been assigned for the closing of a small edge tear at the upper left. There has been absolutely no restoration or rebuilding anywhere on the note, which is essentially unheard of for a note of this rarity and age. Until this note leaves the collection that it enters this evening, it is most unlikely that another opportunity to obtain this design-type will ever present itself. Simply irreplaceable!
From The Greensboro Collection Part II
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