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    Superior-Grade Fr. 1136 $5 First National Gold Bank of San Francisco Note

    San Francisco, CA - $5 1870 Original Fr. 1136 The First National Gold Bank of San Francisco Ch. # 1741 PMG Choice Very Fine 35.
    An exceptionally vivid $5 National Gold Bank Note. Although this is the most commonly encountered type and denomination, its choice condition and vivid eye-appeal sets this note apart. The vast majority of known National Gold Bank Notes are Very Good or less, often with faults and repairs. This is a premium-grade note, seldom encountered in this condition, and offered for the first time in nearly 30 years. Mike collected this distinctive series by denomination, bank, and variety. He nearly achieved one of the more difficult feats within large-size type collecting: a full denomination set of National Gold Bank Notes from $5 to $100. Only the extremely rare $50 type (known from just three banks) eluded him. However, he attained the unique $100 Union National Gold Bank of Oakland featured in this sale. The quintet of notes offered here also includes rarer banks and an enigmatic "white paper variety" example from Petaluma.

    The National Gold Bank Notes were a western phenomenon and staple of the Gold Rush-era currency. It was a hard money economy, and other United States paper money (such as Legal Tender notes) was not payable in specie on demand. These issues were created by their own act of July 12, 1870, authorizing nine chartered California banks (and one Boston bank that did not circulate notes) to issue them. Like all national banks created by the initial National Banking Act of 1863, their circulation was backed by bank deposits made to the Treasury Department in U. S. bonds. Their distinctive appearance and obligation "Will Pay to Bearer on Demand FIVE DOLLARS IN GOLD COIN" at the bottom sets them apart from other National Bank Notes. The face designs of all denominations were identical to their respective Original Series National Bank Note types (the special act date is in the bottom border of the $5 notes, although not on the higher denominations), but were printed on special golden-yellow paper. This distinctive paper would easily differentiate them from other large size notes not payable in gold coin. The common back design was unique to the series. Within a brown frame, a montage of assorted United States gold coin obverses and reverses (engraved in black ink) is contained within the central cartouche. The special coin vignette was engraved with a "trompe l'oeil" effect. Curiously, there is an 1871-dated Liberty double eagle at the center, though the initial notes were issued in 1870.

    This note, plate position B serial 6792/K275929 appears on the census which numbers over 300 examples. That is a high survival rate for any large size National Bank note. However, the vast majority of those are very low condition. This bold and vibrant example is fully framed and well centered on both sides. The face vignettes are deeply inked and show excellent contrast with the golden-yellow paper. Seal, serial, and charter number are in rich red, and the bank officer (Morgan and Woolworth) signatures are sharply penned. The back coin ensemble vignette is fully detailed with dates and legends readable. PMG comments that it was "Previously Mounted." Ex: Lyn Knight, April 1991 sale, lot 29 where it realized $4,100. We recently sold a PCGS Extremely Fine 40 note in our August 2020 sale for $43,200. This is just as appealing and has better face margins. A superb representative for the entire series and difficult to procure with this striking eye-appeal.
    From The Mike Coltrane Collection.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    November, 2020
    4th-5th Wednesday-Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 26
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 809

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