Currency Newsletter Sept 10, 2020

This is the September 10, 2020 currency newsletter.

In this issue:

A Brief Educational Discussion
The Syngraphist’s Six Degrees of Separation
A Piece of British East African History
Themed Collecting – Delightful Dogs
Upcoming Auction Highlights
My Recommendations
Don’t Miss
Around Heritage Auctions
Time To Sell?
Current Coin and Currency Auctions

A Brief Educational Discussion

By Susan Bremer, Consignment Director

The Educational Series of 1896 is an interesting series to experienced and inexperienced collectors alike. The Educational Series is a series of notes that combines the both the history of the country and the talents of the men that created them. In the Act of Congress of August 4, 1886, the $1, $2, and $5 were called out for design and production. It took the Treasury Department and the Bureau of Engraving and Printing until 1893 to have a consensus between the offices that the current bills needed to be changed and needed to be more artistic in their design. With the decision made, they hired Will H. Low, Edwin Blashfield, and Walter Shirlaw to create the face designs. The muralists were invited to submit their designs in full size with engravers being tasked with making the large size format fit the currency.

It is interesting to note that in the artistic biographies of these three muralists, that the Educational Series notes that they designed or submitted designs for are not mentioned. These artists are more well known for their works outside of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. Will H. Low is more well known for his works in the New York State Education Building. “The Aspiration of Man for Intellectual Enlightenment and the Results of Its Attainment” are 32 mural panels in his work there encompassing 2038 square feet of canvas and were painted from 1913-1918. He also did additional murals for the Legislative Library in the State Capitol of New York. Edwin Blashfield is known to many for his murals during the World’s Colombian Exposition of 1893, and the dome in the Library of Congress. Both Low and Blashfield are also known for their writing. Although no less accomplished, Walter Shirlaw worked as a banknote engraver until 1870 when he went to Munich to study painting. His best-known work, “The Sheep Shearing in the Bavarian Highlands”, today can be found in the Saint Louis Museum of Art. Other of his murals can be found in the Library of Congress.

There are several wonderful examples of the $1 Educational included in our upcoming US Currency Auction #3579 on September 17th and 18th. These are the links for this note as well as other $1 Educational notes.

Will H Low created the face of the $1 with a vignette titled History Instructing Youth . It was accepted on July 10, 1894. Low’s design of the note included the names of 23 cultural and historic figures written into the wreaths, as well Washington Monument and the Capitol building in the background. The borders and the lettering on the front were redesigned by Thomas F Morris. He also designed the back of the note with George and Martha Washington separated by a one. This note was the cause of several controversies. The first controversy was that George and Martha Washington were separated on the note. During this time, Americans were very passionate that George and Martha should not be separated. The second issue came as a result of the spelling of the word tranquility on the Constitution at the bottom right hand corner of the note. It was insisted at the time that it should have 2 L’s and not just one. This controversy was settled as the accepted spelling at the time that the Constitution was signed was with one.

Also listed in the auction on September 17-18th, the $2 Educational in a PMG 66EPQ is an exquisite example of this note.

Low also submitted a design for the $2 Educational that was named War and Defence. This design was declined by the Bureau Chief Johnson on January 5, 1895. Mr. Low was never paid for his work on the $2 design. Instead, Bureau Chief Johnson asked Edwin H. Blashfield to use his design originally for the $50 for the $2. Blashfield did not feel that his design titled Science Presenting Steam and Electricity to Commerce and Manufacturing would fit the $2 bill. But in the end, Blashfield conceded to the Bureau Chief’s wishes and this design became the face of the $2 bill. The $2 also became the only note in the series for which the original name of the vignette is incorporated as part of the note’s design.

$5 Educational is an outstanding note in a PMG 66EPQ with only eight other notes graded higher. The $5 was the only bill whose face was designed by an experienced engraver. Electricity as the Dominant Force in the World was designed by Walter Shirlaw, who worked as a banknote engraver, as well as a painter and muralist. As with the $1 note, there was controversy surrounding this note as well. The bank tellers did not like the way that it handled, or the way that it looked, stating that it was too dark. They complained that they could not tell what denomination it was due to the numbers being too small. Another controversy surrounding this note was the amount and area of skin that showed on Lady Liberty in the note’s design. There were plans in place for the exposed skin to be covered with chain metal in the next run of production, however production for this series was discontinued before this could happen.

Bureau Chief Johnson had planned for the $10, $20 and $50 also to be designed and put into production. However, in 1897, with the arrival of the new director of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, the plans for production of the continuation of the series were halted. Failure of the Act of Congress of 1886 to designate the larger denomination caused suspension of the designs. Not unsurprisingly, the $10 was already on its way to having been designed. Walter Shirlaw was the artist responsible for Agriculture and Forestry , which was found to have been the basis of the $10 Proof which was found among Thomas F. Morris II’s numismatic collection when he passed away in 1974. The entire collection was sold at auction by William P. Donlon, a noted numismatist. The $10 Proof was sold for $6,800 in November, 1974. This $10 Proof is the last Proof of this series to have been found, although the BEP did issue a souvenir Proof on card stock, utilizing the original engraving plate and intaglio method of printing.

For a series that was in circulation for such a short period of time, this series offers something for everyone. For the artist in us, the muralists offer collectors undeniably beautiful pieces that rival the most expensive artwork in the world. History buffs can enjoy the interesting story and controversy that surrounds these notes, and finally the scientists and mathematicians in us can appreciate the detail and precision that went into creating and crafting each of these designs. With so much to appreciate, the notes of the Educational Silver Certificate series would be a great addition to almost any collection.


The Syngraphist’s Six Degrees of Separation

There is a theory originally posited by Frigyes Karinthy that suggests that any two people in the world can be connected through a series of 5 or fewer acquaintances, an idea playfully popularized by the movie trivia game, “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.” Our fellow numismatists often have a mind for what others might consider trivia and enjoy an intellectual challenge. In that spirit of fun, and in celebration of the beautiful banknotes offered in our upcoming Long Beach at Dallas Auction #3579, we offer this syngraphic spin on the six degrees theme.

We start with the flying eagle vignette, reminiscent of the eagles used on the face of the various issues of the Treasury Notes of the War of 1812. (Several of these will be offered in our upcoming Mike Coltrane Collection Part 1 Auction #3575.) The flying eagle carries aloft the arrows of war and the olive branch of peace, and perhaps a crown of laurels in its sharp beak.

The eagle in flight soars just over the shoulder of our second image, Lady Liberty, standing beside a stone monument adorned with a shield of stars and stripes and bearing the traditionally symbolic Phrygian cap held aloft by her staff.

Here Danforth’s Lady Liberty has been slightly altered for use by Hoyer and Ludwig on Confederate currency by replacing the stars and stripes on her shield with the note’s obligation. She is joined by our third image, a finely detailed vignette depicting Science, Prosperity and Navigation.

The allegorical trio of Science, Prosperity and Navigation is joined on this impressive Danforth, Wright, & Co. printed note by the revered first First Lady, Martha Washington. Mrs. Washington thus becomes the fourth link in our chain.

One could easily take advantage of Mrs. Washington’s famous husband to complete any number of other connections, so instead we will allow this fine lady to continue to associate with the virtuous allegorical maidens, this time representing Liberty and Justice, together with another female whose significance is left to the interpretation of the viewer – our fifth vignette.

Our ladies Justice and Liberty have completed our chain by associating with yet another Founding Father, the venerable Benjamin Franklin, in the sixth degree of separation from the proud flying eagle, on the most stunning bank note of our series. There are other six degrees sets sleuthed out among the obsolete and confederate notes in this auction. Perhaps you can discover another? We challenge the collecting community to discover the #BaconofBanknotes and share your own Syngraphic Six Degrees Strand in the comments below.


A Piece of British East African History

For many numismatic collectors, part of the appeal of the hobby lies in holding a piece of history in your hands. These artifacts bring the history of civilization to life and bring the events of the past into our present. One interesting example of this phenomenon is realized through the banknotes of British East Africa.

British East Africa included the territories of Kenya, Uganda, and the territories of Tanganyika and Zaire (now known as Tanzania), bordered by German East Africa to the south which included Burundi and Rwanda, and Italian Somaliland to the north.

European governments initially established few true colonies in Africa and left any trade to private companies. Private companies negotiated with the Muslim rulers for use of land and the supply of luxury goods which was irregular. In the late eighteenth and early 19th centuries, settlements were established for missionary work and for trade of other luxury goods including gold, ivory, sugar, nuts, cloves, and palm oil.

During the reign of Queen Victoria, Great Britain maintained a strong presence in the region using its naval superiority along the coast of East Africa to protect its trading vessels which by now were profitably peddling the products of the industrial revolution. Most importantly, Great Britain clung to its colonies in east Africa as others fell away to prevent the Germans from gaining control of the region. Zanzibar became a British protectorate in 1890. Queen Victoria took an active interest in the welfare and governance of the British colonies and together with her appointees worked diligently to bring stability to the Empire. Great Britain started down the path of colonialism quite openly for the purpose of economic and political gain but came to view colonialism as a service and beneficial means of social reform.

Such was the spirit when Queen Victoria’s son Edward VII passed in 1910, and the mantle of rulership fell to his second son George V. The prosperity and stability of Great Britain and its protectorates soon became a heavy burden and responsibility, as he was King of the United Kingdom, British Dominions, and Emperor of India when international tensions mounted and World War I broke out in 1914. At the end of World War I, as part of the Treaty of Versailles, the territories of Tanganyika and Zaire (now known as Tanzania) traded hands from Germany to Great Britain. The treaty was ratified in 1920 and enacted in 1921. New banknotes featuring the portrait of this handsome ruler were ordered for the region.

Unsurprisingly, with such a dramatic shift in the global political structure, monetary systems worldwide were in flux. The newly-formed East African Currency Board created a stunning and beautiful series of banknotes, all featuring the date 1st May, 1920. Banknotes issued in 1920 for British East Africa were denominated in Florins. Each was issued through the colonial capital, Mombasa. All notes except for the initial denomination of 1 Florin are very rare today. This was the result of the founding of The East African Currency Board in late 1920 which had been tasked with providing for the currency and banking needs of the colonies of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zanzibar, and later, Somaliland and Aden. The very next year, 1921, with only moderate modification in design, the notes were issued in Shillings. The group adopted the shilling to promote uniformity throughout the British Empire. (Today, the shilling remains the currency standard in all the former African colonies that were previously under British control.) The issued banknotes were few, with several in extremely high denominations, including 1,000 Shilling and 10,000 Shilling denomination notes.

The 1,000 Shilling note alone was 10 times higher than the highest denomination typically seen in British Colonies that used the Pound system. Limited print totals were executed, in recognition of the limited demand. In fact, 1,000 Shillings was such a large amount of money that most of these banknotes were used as clearing tools within the banking system itself. The purchase power of these notes would be roughly equivalent to $2,100 USD at the time, and $27,300 USD in today’s money. Purchases of automobiles, or plots of land may have been paid using these high value notes as evidence suggests that some examples did, in fact, circulate. Most of the issue was redeemed, with just 222 examples reported as unredeemed. Importantly, redemption records are not entirely reliable as redemption rates are usually much higher than official accounting records. The short lifespan, limited issuance, and high redemption rate make this type one of the rarest and most sought after of all African issues.

These earliest King George East African banknotes capture this unique moment in British and African history in a fascinating and tangible way. East Africa has become one of the most popular fields of collecting within the hobby, due in part to its interesting history, but also because of the wide variety of rare types that were produced, especially during the reign of King George V. We are very excited to offer several high quality and extremely rare examples of these issues in our upcoming World Paper Money Auction #4025 on September 18th, 2020. More than one lucky bidder will have the opportunity to hold history in his hands.

Arrange an in-person preview of this item and others in Dallas by contacting Jose Berumen at 214-409-1299 or


Themed Collecting – Delightful Dogs

With the unrelenting heat of dog days of summer finally drawing to an end, it’s easy to wonder why such a miserable time of year is named after one of man’s beloved of companions. In fact, these hottest days of the summer, which historically have run from late July to mid-August, are so named after Sirius, the dog star. The oppressively hot “dog days of summer” just so happen to coincide with the time of year when Sirius is visible just before sunrise. In ancient times, people believed that the season was a harbinger of misfortune. Today, while we may not enjoy the heat and humidity, most people have abandoned these superstitions and enjoy both dogs and early morning starlight without any serious misgivings. Even world leaders, bankers, and numismatists have a hard time resisting the adorable countenance and endearing devotion of man’s best friend. Moreover, dogs are often used to represent security, protection, and loyalty. Which explains why today, collectors enjoy a variety of delightful dogs in vignettes featured on our painstakingly produced public currency. Here follow a few of the most charming images from those offered in our upcoming auction US Currency Auction #3579.

As with Lt. Col. A. Hudson McDonald, collector of Confederate banknotes, and Gerald Glasser, collector of all thing Abraham Lincoln, why not explore and develop your own collecting specialty to share with your fellow numismatists? Such collections are a great way to share the fascination and interest of numismatics with people of all ages and walks of life.

Upcoming Auction Highlights

Auction #3579 – Long Beach US Currency in Dallas – September 17-21st, 2020

Auction #4025 – Long Beach World Paper Money in Dallas – September 18th, 2020


My Recommendations

From All Heritage Offerings (View All)

My Recommendations is based entirely on your personal history at Heritage, looking at items you’ve won, lost, tracked, and entered as wantlists, and selecting items from both auctions and inventory just for you! These selections are updated every day as auctions open and close, and may not be in this particular auction.



Important: In-person floor bidding is temporarily suspended. See details including all options for bidding remotely (we remain open for other auction business though, so call for an appointment).


Don’t Miss


Around Heritage Auctions

Cadogan Tate, Heritage Auctions Lock Arms for The Heart of Art & Design

Heritage is pleased to partner with Cadogan Tate on The Heart of Art & Design, a charity auction to benefit the American Nurses Foundation’s Coronavirus Response Fund. Opening Aug. 31 for bidding, the auction ending Sept. 14 will include nearly 50 works donated by prominent artists, galleries and collectors with a total retail value of over $200,000.

The event includes works by such renowned and collectible artists as Kehinde Wiley, Mira Nakashima, Takashi Murakami, Damien Hirst and Faith Ringgold, to name a few, along with outstanding Design furniture from Ateiler Demiurge, Mark Albrecht and Grosfield House.

“The idea behind this charity auction came about during the New York City lockdown in April,” Cadogan Tate General Manager Michael Driver said. “We wanted to make use of our idle time in a productive way and help give back to the frontline workers who are putting their lives on the line to save others. The American Nurses Foundation Coronavirus Response Fund is helping to provide a safety net of vital resources to nurses all over the country.

“We are grateful to our partners at Heritage Auctions and of course to all our friends who have donated, whose generosity is a testament to the appreciation that we all have for this wonderful cause. Cadogan Tate is proud to be a part of this historical event and we hope everyone can get behind it when it goes live on Aug. 31 … and bid generously.”

The star attraction is the painting presently on view at Maimonides Hospital in Brooklyn, NY, entitled Frontline Warriors. This 7-by-15-foot work depicting masked doctors and nurses locking arms was painted by Angela China and Sergio Barrale. It has an opening bid of $10,000, and a retail value of $35,000.

“The vision in my head was they would stand like they were in the Army, ready for battle,” China said, “because this is a global fight, and they are on the frontlines fighting this invisible enemy.”

“The Frontline Warriors mural provided comfort and inspiration to the brave medical professionals putting it all on the line to serve the community and successfully treat patients throughout the COVID-19 crisis. The work took on a life of its own, becoming a source of pride and strength for our team at the height of the pandemic here in Brooklyn. We hope this piece will continue to generate appreciation for the incredible dedication, professionalism and sacrifice our healthcare workers exhibit every day,” said Kenneth D. Gibbs, President & CEO of Maimonides Medical Center. “The staff at the hospital hopes that Frontline Warriors can remain a part of the fabric of Maimonides in some capacity after the auction.”

“The Frontline Warriors painting is a powerful image representing the stance the medical community has taken in defiance of the pandemic,” Heritage Auctions Senior Vice President Kathleen Guzman said. “That the artists whose works are offered in this event have donated their time and energy reflects the commitment Cadogan Tate and Heritage Auctions share to help in any way possible to help the medical community fight this pandemic.”

The American Nurses Foundation’s Coronavirus Response Fund aids the human toll felt most acutely by the nation’s largest body of heath care professionals, who deliver patient care all over the county. Please review the link to donate online to this worthy cause.


Interested in Selling Rare Currency? – Generous Cash Advances Available

Let us make you an offer! To support our growing sales volume, we simply must buy more collectibles. Heritage purchases $2 million to $5 million in collectibles every week, and more when we can. We are committed to paying fair and competitive prices to acquire the material we need to meet demand from our customers. Your information will remain confidential.

Please contact one of our Currency Specialists today:

Allen Mincho
Director of Auctions
800-872-6467 ext. 1327

Len Glazer
Director of Auctions
800-872-6467 ext. 1390

Dustin Johnston
Vice President, Currency
800-872-6467 ext. 1302

Michael Moczalla
Consignment Director
800-872-6467 ext. 1481

Keith Esskuchen
Consignment Director
800-872-6467 ext. 1633

Craig Eustace
Consignment Director
800-872-6467 ext. 1924

Susan Bremer
Consignment Director
800-872-6467 ext. 1830


Current Coin and Currency Auctions

View Coin Auction Schedule

View Currency Auctions

Other Signature Auctions

The Partnerone Collection Sports Card Catalog – Sept. 10
Comics & Comic Art Signature –
Sept. 10-13

Fine & Rare Wine Signature – Sept. 11
Friday Night Jewels – Sept. 11
The Heart of Art and Design Charity Auction Benefitting The American Nurses Foundation – Sept. 14
Americana & Political Signature –
Sept. 14-15

The Curated Home – Sept. 16
Timepieces – Sept. 24
Texas Art – Sept. 26
Michael Jordan & Basketball Icons Sports Catalog – Oct. 3
European Comic Art – Oct. 3-4
Autumn Luxury Accessories – Oct. 4
Fall Fine Jewelry – Oct. 4-5
The Jena Blue Collection of Gemstones & Minerals – Oct. 5


Other Internet Auctions

Fine & Decorative Arts Monthly –
Sept. 10

Thurs. Natural History – Sept. 10
Sun. Movie Posters – Sept. 13
Sun. Sports – Sept. 13
Weekly Comics – Sept. 13-14
Tues. Jewelry – Sept. 15
Prints & Multiples Monthly – Sept. 16


Posted by Heritage Editorial

This article was written as a collaborative effort by multiple experts within the category at Heritage Auctions.

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