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PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2008 4:35 pm 
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Bowers and Merena is having an auction on 6/5/08 that contains about 100 obsolete notes including at least 20 proofs.
http://bowersandmerena.com

Two of the proofs are SENC but not in Christie.

The Wisconsin proof is neither in Christie’s nor in Haxby as a proof.

There are also 3 TN notes.

Unfortunately the images are so small (~ 35 kB) that it is nearly impossible to distinguish imprints without guessing.

Lot # 2349 is described as:
Quote:
Baltimore, MD. The American Bank. Proof. $1. PMG Gem Uncirculated 65EPQ.
This pleasing NBNC proof has a very well displayed vignette of a harbor packed with tall ships. The portrait of Daniel Webster at the right is slightly different from the norm, making it more than convincing that engraving such a person is a tough endeavor. The margins are very nice, bringing the look of the green inks used into sharp focus. Est. $350 - $700


This NBNC “proof” is MD-10-G2a. The NBNC was formed in 1859 when about 10% of the “printers” did not join in the formation of the ABNC. It subsequently joined the ABNC in 1879. Notice that there are no cancellation holes. Did the NBNC not use these? Only a few dozen banks used the NBNC in the last stages of the “obsolete” era.

The next lot is described as (see images):
Quote:
Baltimore, MD. The American Bank. May 20, 1861. $1. PMG Choice About Uncirculated 58EPQ.
This note has an interesting reverse that has been printed with an advertisement from an early numismatist. It reads; "S.K. Harzfeld, Numismatist. 1713 Park Avenue, Philadelphia, PA. Rare and Antique Coins, Medals, Numismatic Books, etc., Bought Sold and Exchanged." The note itself has retained a great look with deep color and a pleasing harbor vignette in the center. Est. $200 - $400


This certainly is a remainder, later used as an advertisement – not atypical. So was the previous lot a remainder or a proof? Looking at the paper quality of the two notes, it probably was a proof! But buyers be very careful.

Bernie


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MD-10-G2a.jpg
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MD-10-G2a_issued.jpg
MD-10-G2a_issued.jpg [ 33.62 KiB | Viewed 6476 times ]
MD-10-G2a_issued_back.jpg
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PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2008 4:41 pm 
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Another interesting proof in this auction is an 1873 note from the State of SC from the ABNC. Would this actually be considered an obsolete? It is not listed in Haxby. Its predecessor G45-G50a is. You can find it in Shulls’s book on Southern State Currency. Apparently this proof is “very rare”. Why such a low estimate? How many were there? When and where were these proofs sold?

It is described as:
Quote:
Lot # 2399 Columbia, SC. State of South Carolina. December 1, 1873. Proof. $5. PMG Gem Uncirculated 66EPQ. Finding a nice proof like this is always a pleasure. This note does not have the typical punched holes and retains bright colors and super strong inks. Est. $500 - $1,000

Bernie


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PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2008 2:05 pm 
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I live in the area and was able to go to the Bowers offices last week to view the lots. Although I have limited experience in this area, I must say that the quality of the obsolete notes was outstanding. They are apparently from one collector that is liquidating. Many high quality notes with beautiful color and details.

I would like some advice on pricing. The Bowers site indicates a range of value for each lot. Is the range indicated reasonable for the type of note and the quality (grade) of the note? Are there any that are way out of line - too high or too low? I plan on putting in a few bids, but don't have enough experience with prices. I checked Heritage and found some pricing, but not all have traded on Heritage recently. Any assistance would be appreciated.


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PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2008 2:52 pm 
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Obsoletes are less predictable in terms of price than other types of currency. I'd say there are more exceptions than rules when it comes to obsoletes.

One of the trends that I have noticed is the color draws a higher premium than rarity. A tinted and overprinted remainder, for example, might well draw more money than a much rarer uniface proof. However there are definitely exceptions to this rule too, because some state's banks are more heavily collected than others.

I'm generally hesitant to offer people advice about valuation on obsoletes. I would say, however, that the notes I investigated from the B&M sale seemed to be optimistically priced (generally about 25% higher than my willingness to pay). Does that make me a cheapskate or them optimistic? The sale results will tell that tale.

- Greg


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PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2008 6:23 pm 
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Quote:
The quality of the obsolete notes was outstanding

I assume you are talking mainly of the remainders, although some of the proofs also looked nice.

First of all, I think that in general pretty remainders are way over priced, certainly in terms of rarity. However, as everything else it is not just rarity but supply and demand. I think that the prices of remainders have really been kicked up in recent years because many dealers have slabbed the high quality ones (which most remainders are) and are touting them to not only collectors but also to unwary investors. This has occurred more so on ebay than with the "respectable" auction houses. These pretty remainders certainly look much nicer than the ugly (and rare) obsoletes that I tend to be interested in. Not that I don't like pretty notes and proofs certainly fit into the category of pretty. However, specialization tends to drive you to the rarer and not so pretty notes.

With respect to the B&M estimates, remember the starting bids are about 50-60% of the low estimate. Also note that almost all of the obsolete notes are PMG slabbed! Unfortunately, this alone probably raises the estimates about 25%. It will be interesting whether these remainders will go anywhere near the estimates.

Only a few years ago at bourses, I saw huge numbers of sheets of remainders. I still think that the dealers have a significant supply that is being slowly released with these slabbed notes. I suggest buying a few nice proofs instead, unless of course, the remainder fits into your collecting area.

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PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2008 6:31 pm 
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By the way, did you compare the proof and the remainder of the NBNC “American Bank” notes? This would make an interesting pair to own. The advertisement on the back is also nice. Apparently this advertisement was applied sometime in the 1870’s or 1880’s.

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PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2008 10:25 pm 
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Thanks for your good advice.

On the Bowers auction, I did notice that lot #2334 Connersville, IN, $3 Savings Bank of Indiana, graded 64, is bid at $395 ($455 after commission), which is already higher than the range of estimated value of $150 to $300. A quick scan of Heritage archives showed a $3 example sold for $172.50 way back in 2002. Based on that, it appears that this one does not come up too often. I really like it! Any thoughts?


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PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2008 11:36 pm 
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GSA Collector,

Again Stacks recently sold an AU note like this for $430.
http://www.stacks.com/lotdetail.aspx?lrid=AN00087154

The B&M note is graded as CU. This grade typically sells for about 20-30% more than an AU note.
However, again it is highly depended on who is bidding at a particular time since there are so few of the good obsolete notes available. Some times a note will go for several times what I would have thought. This is typically due to having 2 strong bidders for the same note on the floor. This is also true for the category of notes you are looking at.

If a similarly graded note went for 172 in 2002, chances are good that it will go for several times this.

In terms of the estimates, I have seen many notes go for 5 and sometimes 10 times the estimate.

There seem to be many more collectors in the obsolete area today and the market is hot.

I also note that most notes go to the floor bidders(not mail or absentee bidders) these days since they have the last chance to bid. However, today you can bid live (and be the equivalent of a floor bidder) at most of the auctions either through the auction house directly (with 15% buyer's premium) or through ebay ( at typically 20 to 22.5 % premium). I think that the B&M auction will be live through ebay.

The problem with bidding live is that it is easy to get carried away. Some times it is just safer to bid absentee to avoid the heat of the moment.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 06, 2008 12:12 pm 
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The Bowers and Merena estimates were about right except for the occasional factor of 2.

The NBNC proof went for about $900 whereas the same remainder note with advertising went for 1/3 of that.

Many proofs (even the ones without colorful overprints) for which Christie had about 20 examples went for $300, 400, and sometimes more.

There were two $1 proofs from the Pittsfield Bank of PA. One had a red OP and the other did not. They both sold for $430 even though Christie had 6 without OP and 4 with OP.

The remainders also went for much more than I thought they would.

I still think that investors are getting into the obsolete market and are buying the 3rd party graded notes.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 06, 2008 1:28 pm 
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It's a pretty safe bet that "investors" are getting into the obsolete market, but I wouldn't bank too much on them limiting their activity to the graded notes.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 06, 2008 2:17 pm 
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Welcome back.

However, the graded notes require little knowledge on the investor's part. This then artificially increases the prices of graded notes relative to the ungraded notes.

I am also noticing that it is hard to now get any proof below $200, whereas one can still get SENC notes around $100, albeit typically at much poorer condition.

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