The upcoming Stack’s Bowers Galleries currency auction in conjunction with the Whitman Coin & Collectibles Winter Expo will feature an impressive serial number 1 $50 obsolete note from the Monticello Bank of Charlottesville, Virginia (Haxby VA-45 G28a, Jones-Littlefield BC25-35). Collectors have always been drawn to serial number 1 notes, but most encounter only serial number 1 national currency notes or an occasional Federal note. Very few serial number 1 obsolete notes are found due to low survival rates, age, and the fact that few during the obsolete note era (basically pre-1870) saw any significance in serial number 1 notes. For the most part they entered circulation like any other note, were eventually redeemed, then destroyed or lost to history.
This Monticello Bank $50 is a miracle of survival. The plate A note features stamped serial number 1 in blue at left and right attesting that it was the first $50 to roll off the presses at the American Bank Note Company. The note was signed by the bank officers and given the issue date of June 19, 1860. It then entered circulation and spent enough time in the channels of commerce to be a pleasing Very Fine note today.
These $50s were printed in black with vermillion counters and protectors. The vermillion inks remain vibrant on this gorgeous note. The Monticello Bank is named for the home of President Thomas Jefferson, built just outside of Charlottesville, Virginia in 1772. The home is boldly featured in a large vignette on the right side of the note. Liberty stands at left with a sword and shield in a vignette that is also found on the $20 Demand and Legal Tender notes of 1861-1863.
The Monticello Bank $50 is a rare note in its own right and, when paired with the desirability of the stamped serial number 1, it becomes a real trophy for any obsolete collector or Virginia specialist. Lot #2220 is estimated at $2,000 to $3,000. The live session of the Stack’s Bowers Galleries Currency Auction begins Thursday October 30 at 3 PM.