Rare currency to be auctioned


Rare currency collectors are expected to shell out at least $6,000 during an auction today for a bank note originally issued in Madisonville.

South Carolina-based auctioneer Manning Garrett said he has worked with sellers and dealers across the country and obtained this particular note from a Missouri resident who came across it after his father passed away.

“It will sell for over $10,000,” Garrett said, although the bidding starts a little lower.

Plenty of people are willing to shell out a lot of cash for such a collector’s item, he added.

“It’s like coins or art,” Garrett said. “It’s a piece of history. Some people buy them for a collection; some view it as an investment.”

The auctioneer was introduced to old coins and currency by his grandmother and has been dealing the rare items for about a decade. Although the Madisonville bill will be auctioned in Anaheim, Calif., anyone can bid on it online or by phone. 

“There could be as few as two bidders or as many as 20,” Garrett said.

A website outlining the auction notes that Madisonville had “just one bank that could issue currency. The bank opened in 1902 and this is the oldest of three banknotes known to exist from it.” 

National bank notes could be issued by any bank in the country between 1863 and 1865, as long as that bank had a national charter with the federal government. More than 12,000 banks chose to issue their own money. Texas had just 917 national banks in 448 different towns, Garrett said.

“There was only one bank in Madisonville that issued bank notes,” he said. “The bank notes were printed in Washington, D.C., and then mailed to the local banks where they were signed by the cashier and president of each bank. So if you walked into the local Madisonville bank, for example, with a $20 check, you would very likely get a $20 bill back drawn off the First National Bank of Madisonville. Because it was commonplace and just a part of everyday life, very few people thought to save these banknotes. Today many of them are extremely rare and worth hundreds to thousands of dollars to the collectors who specialize in them. The most sought after-notes are from small community banks like Madisonville.”

In 1928, all U.S. paper money converted to its current size; previously it was about 40 percent larger.

“People tried their best to get rid of the old oversized money because they were worried it would be devalued,” Garrett said. “That never happened. In fact oversized money is still legal at its face value. However, the collector value is of course much greater than the face value.”

For more information, visit https://auctions.stacksbowers.com/lots/view/3-54LQ8.