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What’s in a Name? 1923 $10 “Poker Chip” Legal Tender Note

Printed in the twilight years of large size notes, the “Poker Chip” is a popular and distinctive issue. Ranked as #46 in 100 Greatest American Currency Notes by Q. David Bowers and David M. Sundman, this issue is readily recognizable by even novices and often holds a prominent position in the want lists of advanced collectors.

The note features a portrait of President Andrew Jackson engraved by Alfred Sealey based upon a portrait painted by Thomas Sully. The portrait is flanked by a distinctive, scalloped red Treasury Seal and Roman numeral X denomination counter.

However, the nickname bestowed upon this issue comes from its distinctive reverse design as opposed to the design elements on the face which influence the nicknames of notes such as the “Educational Series” of 1896 or the ever-popular “Chief” of 1899.  

Reflecting other issues of the period such as the “Funnyback” and the “Porthole,” ample reverse space is blank reflecting this period’s trend toward non-ornate designs. At left and right are a pair of denomination counters that bear the resemblance to a poker chip and immediately attract the attention of the viewer, more so than the denomination at center.

Today, the “Poker Chip” is feverishly sought by collectors, out of a total of 696,000 printed, fewer than 700 are known to survive of which roughly 100 are in Uncirculated grades.

To consign your numismatic items to one of our upcoming auctions, please call 800-458-4646 or email [email protected].

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