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    Newly Discovered Friedberg 178 1880 $100 Legal Tender

    Fr. 178 $100 1880 Legal Tender PCGS Apparent Very Fine 25. Many will recognize the portrait of Abraham Lincoln seen at upper left on this scarce $100. The portrait was engraved by Charles Burt based on a photograph taken by Anthony Berger at the studio of famed Civil War photographer Mathew Brady. That portrait was used on a number of other notes, including more modern small size $5 notes. Many of the notes issued after the Civil War include representations meant to heal the country. An allegorical vignette titled Reconstruction is seen at lower right on this example. The female figure represents an architect of the postwar recovery as she is holding a carpenter's square. The child seated at her feet is holding an open scroll that includes a design of a domed pergola and a design with stars. The $100 Legal Tender note design was listed as number 20 on the list of the 100 Greatest American Currency Notes.

    Nearly four years have passed since we have had the opportunity to offer an example of this very scarce 1880 $100 Legal Tender. Previously unknown to collectors, this is only the seventeenth example to be reported extant. Five of the seventeen notes are permanently impounded in Federal Reserve District Collections, the Smithsonian, and the American Numismatic Association Collection. With a third party grade of Very Fine 25, it ranks as one of the finest of the few pieces still available to collectors. The example that sold nearly four years ago, also graded Very Fine 25 by PMG, realized $37,375 in our Long Beach Signature Auction. This piece, despite some light stains mentioned by PCGS, boasts more vivid colors and design details along with sharp corners and four healthy margins. A rare note destined for a fabulous collection.

    While the value of such a rare note is a great story in and of itself, the story of its discovery is even more so: On the wall in the consignors house hung a framed leaf. While the lead was old, it was the frame that was the true antique, and he had always liked it. One day, deciding to switch out the image, the consignor took the frame apart and found, wedged between the backing of the leaf and the backing of the frame, an envelope that read, simply: "$100 from Ma." He opened it up and out slipped this beautiful piece of currency, likely stashed sometime around 1880, by whomever "Ma" had originally gifted it to. That gift will now equal a nice round number, with at least three zeroes, for the consignor.

    Note: We expect this lot to come up for auction at approximately 1:00 pm Pacific Time. Lots are planned for approximately every 15 minutes but could vary and be faster or slower. Check HA.com/live to track the progress of the auction.


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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2011
    16th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 20
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 6,563

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