A newly discovered National Bank note is to provide the top lot in Bonhams' Coins, Medals and Banknotes auction, which will be held on December 13 in New York.
The 1882 series $5 "Brown Back" note was issued by the First National Bank of Creede, Colorado on March 29, 1892 - the day which the bank itself was first chartered. The small bank would only survive for three years, until it was liquidated on December 31, 1895.
The bank was opened following the 1889 discovery of large amounts of silver in the south-western region of Colorado, with Creede at its centre. The boom caused by the silver discovery only lasted until 1893, when the price of silver plummeted and many of the mines were closed.
Due to several "boom towns" in the area, Colorado has become a popular state for National Bank note collectors, with many issues remaining undiscovered and just 3,911 known National Bank notes.
The newly discovered piece is the only known example from Creede, and features the coveted number one serial number. All of the currency issued by the bank was $5 notes, of which only $255 was still outstanding as of 1910, making them a virtually unobtainable rarity for collectors.
The note will be 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". It is expected to see bids in the region of $70,000-90,000.
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