The Watermelon Collection of U.S. Paper Money

The Stack’s Bowers Galleries official auction at the World’s Fair of Money in August—the most important show of the year—will include the Watermelon Collection of United States Paper Money. The name is taken from the famous Series of 1890 $100 Treasury or Coin Note with the two zeroes shaped like juicy watermelons–among the most desired issue in American paper money. The collection is particularly rich in seldom-seen high-denomination large-size notes including multiples of the $1,000 denomination. Many National Bank early and high-denomination notes are offered as well, including great $50 and $100 rarities.

The collection begins with Friedberg No. 1 a rare 1861 $5 Demand Note. Authorized on July 17 of that year the Demand Notes were payable in gold or silver coins and were the first large emission of federal paper money since Revolutionary War days. Legal Tender Notes come next, including the remarkable “Rainbow Series.” The 1863 Legal Tender Note with its bold and impressive eagle is another highlight in that series.

Among Silver Certificates are the seldom-seen high-denomination Series of 1891 $50 and $100 and other desirable types. The Series of 1890 and 1891 Treasury and Coin Notes include lower denominations as well as the earlier-mentioned Watermelon Note.

Large-size Federal Reserve Notes include one of just two 1914 $20 Red Seal notes across all banks, this one from the New York Federal Reserve Bank, certified at the Superb Gem 67 level. A lovely About New 1914 Red Seal $50 from the Boston Federal Reserve Bank will attract a lot of attention as will a Choice New $50 from the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank. Among high denominations, a Series of 1918 $500 from the New York Federal Reserve Bank will attract a wide audience as will a $1,000 note from San Francisco.

Large-size Gold Certificates range from $10 upward and include a seldom-seen 1882 $500 F-1216b. A Series of 1882 $1,000 note will raise eyebrows! Next follow National Gold Bank Notes from San Francisco and San Jose.

Large-size National Bank Notes range from $1 to $100 from a wide variety of locations from the Original Series, Series of 1875, Series of 1882 and, into the 20th century, Series of 1902 Red Seal (with a No. 1 note), Date Back, and Plain Back. A $50 Original Series $50 (!) from the Government National Bank of Pottsville, PA, is a show stopper as is a $50 of the same type from the Farmers National Bank of Reading, PA. A $50 Series of 1882 Brown Back from the Washington (Indiana) National Bank is one of just two known from that bank and one of only 10 for the entire state. A Series of 1875 $100 note from the Citizens National Bank of Zanesville, Ohio is a rarity deluxe. No $100 note of this type from any bank has crossed the block since one offered in a Stack’s 1996 sale!

Other $100 notes from the 1882 Brown Back, the 1902 Red Seal, the elusive 1902 Date Back, and the 1902 Plain Back series are in multiples and are important. In fact, this could be called the”$100 Note Collection” from the number of this rare denomination offered.

Although rarities and high denominations abound there are many interesting and affordable notes among lower denominations. The Watermelon Collection has something for everyone interested in large-size notes.

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