Stunning Superb Gem $10 Rainbow Note

The November 2021 Baltimore US Currency sale is available for viewing and bidding at We pleased to offer in this sale lot 20029, a Fr. 96 1869 $10 Legal Tender Note in PMG Superb Gem Uncirculated 67 EPQ. It is a stunning example of this colorful and popular design type.

The 1869 Legal Tender Notes are commonly referred to as "Rainbow" notes due to the green and red overprint inks that when combined with the blue tinted security paper provide a colorful appearance. The crisp broadly margined example here certainly supports the nickname as the rich hues of green, red and blue are impressive. The engraved design elements are boldly inked and strikingly detailed. Just three examples have been encapsulated by PMG at this grade, with none finer.

Each denomination from the Series of 1869 is represented by just a single catalog number, in this case Fr. 69 for the $10 denomination. The portrait of Daniel Webster, engraved by Alfred Sealey, is at left, while at right is the vignette titled Introduction of the Old World to the New, or Pocahontas Presented at Court. At bottom center is an eagle perched upon a shield and clutching an olive branch and arrows. When inverted the eagle resembles a donkey leading to the popular "Jackass" nickname by which these notes are commonly known. The same design was used on the top of Fractional Currency Shields. This rendition of the national bird was continued on Legal Tender Notes through and including the Series of 1880. The signers for this series are John Allison as register of the Treasury and F.(rancis) E. Spinner as treasurer of the United States.

This type comes on blue tinted security paper based on Wilcox’s 1866 patent. A large red spiked Treasury Seal is to the right of center and a green protector tint is across the top. The tint is made up of microlettered TENs in a repeating pattern. A green serial number panel is to the right of Webster’s portrait, with red printed serial numbers to the lower left and upper right. Engraved signatures of Allison and Spinner are along the bottom border of the design. The back displays a green geometric design with TEN at left and 10 at right. The Legal Tender clause and anti-counterfeiting language is at center. The imprint of the National Bank Note Company is at bottom center.

There were 8,376,000 $10 Rainbow notes printed. Today fewer than 1,000 are believed to survive, most of which show significant circulation. This example is a significant offering and an opportunity that should not be passed up. PMG Pop 3/None Finer.

Our entire November 2021 Auction can be viewed at We are currently taking consignments for our monthly auctions and our March 2022 Auction. To consign your U.S. paper money and world paper money to a future sale, contact a consignment specialist at 800-458-4646 or visit For more information on viewing lots or for assistance in registering to bid, email your inquiry to: [email protected] .

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