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    Extremely Rare Act of February 24, 1815 $5 Proof
    Tied For Second Finest Known

    United States - Act of February 24, 1815 $5 Treasury Note. Hessler X83B, Fr. TN-15p. Proof. PMG Choice Uncirculated 63 EPQ.
    Notes from this act are the most encountered in the War of 1812 series, but many of the types are significant. The Mike Coltrane Collection contained the most comprehensive selection of types and varieties from this final and complex Treasury Note enactment including both triple-signature, fully issued notes known. Noteworthy also was the unparalleled selection of different proof types, more than even the magnificent Boyd-Blanchard combined collection. Mike's acquisition of four distinct partial proof sheets, originally sold in the 2000 Memphis auction, formed the foundation of this ground breaking proof array.

    The Act of February 24, 1815, authorized $25,000,000 in Treasury Notes using two different obligations depending on their denomination. Notes less than $100 did not accrue interest and were intended for public commerce. These circulating "small" notes, similar in size and style to then-current private banknotes, were subsequently redeemable in United States 7% funded stock per the obligation on the notes (when tendered in sums of $100 or more as specified by the act). The $5, $10, $20, and $50 notes from this act form a symmetric series with the common diagnostics outlined above that significantly differentiated them from the larger size notes from the three previous issuing acts. Those were primarily held as interest bearing instruments by investors and then redeemed for payment. Notes $100 and greater from this act, as specified in Section 3, paid the same 5-2/5% interest as the earlier acts and were similar in size; upon redemption, these were only convertible into United States 6% funded stock.

    This India paper proof, on original card, was engraved and printed by Murray, Draper, Fairman & Co. in Philadelphia. Small punch-hole cancels in the three signature areas are as prepared at the printer and are found on all War of 1812 proofs. The size and style is similar to that of circulating Bank of the United States notes (also engraved and printed by this firm) and private Obsolete notes. In this simple but elegant design, the Federal eagle with transposed arrows is at the upper right. Wings are upraised, its right more so than its left, a ribbon with E PLURIBUS UNUM is in its beak, and the radiant sun is behind. Intricate pattern engraving is on all four sides. End panels display the textual denomination in white on black. The engraved date is March 25, 1815. Across the center, the obligation states, "The UNITED STATES promise to receive this Note for FIVE dollars in all payments to them; or to fund the amount at seven per cent. interest ... " At top left, surrounded by flourishes is the text, "Receivable every where by the / UNITED STATES / in payment of duties taxes & public lands." Engraved lines designate signature positions: at lower left for the "Register of the Treasury" and at lower right for the two "In behalf of the United States" signers. A short line is at the top for the serial number, but there is no payee or payable location line as used on prior acts.

    Plate position h from its former four-subject proof sheet (e-f-g-h). This extremely rare and important proof was formerly part of the three-subject multiple sold as lot 2204 in Smythe's 2000 Memphis sale. Mike acquired that $5 proof triptych and the three other Act of February 24, 1815, proof multiples sold in that sale by private treaty in 2008. We were pleased to catalog and offer two examples individually for the first time in the November 4-5, 2020 sale. There are only four $5 Fr. TN-15p Proofs known to us: the three examples from The Mike Coltrane collection and the plate position e piece (Hessler Proofs, Essays ... plate note) sold in Christie's March 22, 1994, J.W. Middendorf II Collection sale, lot 139 that realized $2,200. We are fairly certain that Middendorf proof would originally have occupied the e position that was missing from the f-g-h sheet sold in the Smythe 2000 sale that held the Coltrane proofs.

    Like its two previously sold companions, this is a gorgeous and deeply printed impression on vivid white India paper. It projects the sharpest clarity throughout. Intricate patterns in the bordering are exquisite, and the often weak imprint at the bottom center is strong. The border printing is slightly fainter at both bottom corners (this was the bottom of the proof sheet). The back of the card exhibits some side-edge ghosting from a former mounting that does not affect the face. Overall, it is nearly as fresh as the day it was taken off the press over 200 years ago and it is tied as second finest of the three Fr. TN-15p proofs graded by PMG. Except for Middendorf, this proof type was missing from nearly all major War of 1812 Treasury Note and Federal Proof note collections formed including Boyd and Caine. The finest known, PMG Choice Uncirculated 64 EPQ, realized $10,200 in the first Coltrane sale. The other PMG Choice Uncirculated 63 EPQ realized $8,400. This is the last available example in a market continuing to strengthen for American currency rarities. A key opportunity to acquire a classic piece returning to the market for first time in a generation.
    From The Mike Coltrane Collection.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2021
    24th-25th Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 16
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 224

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