A newly-discovered and extremely rare National Bank note from Creede, Colorado has highlighted Bonhams' Coins, Medals and Banknotes auction, which was held yesterday (December 13) in New York.
Originating from the 1882 series, the $5 "Brown Back" note brought $101,790, achieving a 13.1% increase on its $90,000 high estimate. It is dated March 29, 1892 - the same day the Creede National Bank was first chartered.
The bank was first opened after a large amount of silver was discovered close to the town in 1889; in just two years, Creede's population grew from 600 to 10,000 people. However, the boom was not to last, as the price of silver plummeted and many of mines were closed, resulting in the liquidation of the bank on December 31, 1895.
These boom towns in Colorado make the area very popular with collectors of National Bank notes. Many of the short-lived issues remain undiscovered and there are just 3,911 National Bank notes in total.
The note at auction is the only known example from Creede and features the coveted number one serial number. All of the currency issued by the bank was in $5 notes, of which just $255 was still outstanding as of 1910.
The note was accompanied in the sale by a paper envelope that states: "FIRST BILL ISSUED AT THE FIRST NATIONAL BANK OF CREEDE. SIGNED BY JOHN MCDONOUGH PR J.W. MERRITT CASHIER".
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