Rare Series of 1875 $50 National Bank Note to be Offered in August Global Showcase Auction

Among the many intricate note designs found on early federal paper money, the earliest National Bank Notes are impressive compared to their later counterparts. Lumped under the so-called “First Charter Period,” the Series of 1875 represented a minor design change as well as a move from the private banknote production firms to the Bureau of Engraving & Printing operating under the auspices of the Treasury Department. In the 2024 August Global Showcase Auction, Stack’s Bowers Galleries is pleased to offer from this series a Fr. 444 $50 from the Commonwealth National Bank of Philadelphia graded Choice VF 35 Details by PCGS Banknote.

Dispensing with the small, spiked Treasury Seal encountered on the Original Series, the Series of 1875 features an overprinted series date along with a scalloped Treasury Seal virtually identical to those used through the late 1920s until the transition to small-size notes.

Few banks in this time had the distinction of ever issuing notes of the $50 denomination and just a few dozen notes are recorded on census reports at present. Like its counterparts, the $50 makes ample use of detailed vignettes and intricate design elements. On the face General George Washington is seen at left during his crossing of the Delaware River to surprise British forces and Hessian mercenaries encamped in Trenton. At right a vignette entitled Prayer for Victory engraved by Louis (Luigi) Delnoce depicts a Continental officer (presumably George Washington) in prayer while a trio of female allegorical figures representing Victory look on as if offering their blessing before the coming battle.

Representative of a number of exceptional Nationals to be offered as part of the August Global Showcase Auction, this note is not simply a rare opportunity because of census data alone, but also in terms of condition. Of the $50s issued under the Series of 1875, survivors typically display evidence of extensive circulation with few recorded above the grade of Very Fine. Assigned a grade of Choice Very Fine 35 Details by PCGS Banknote, this note displays moderate circulation and handling and retains bright penned signatures from Cashier Effingham Perot and President Horatio Nelson Burroughs. Its bright colors contrast nicely against the paper and engraved elements of the design. As for the Details designation applied for a “Minor Restoration,” the repairs are extremely limited in scope and are trifling when weighed against the other aspects of this extremely rare note. It is sure to attract strong bids from discerning collectors determined to build impressive collections.

For more information about our auctions or to consign your numismatic items, please call 800-458-4646 or email [email protected].

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