The only copy of the 1891 $1,000 treasury note in private hands will sell as part of Heritage Auctions' April 24-28 Currency Signature Auction in Chicago.
The note will only attract the foremost collectors in the field, with a starting bid of $1.2m and an estimated sale price of $2m+. The only other known example has resided in the National Numismatic Collection of the Smithsonian Institution since it was transferred there by the treasury department.
The note shares the basic design of the more famous "Grand Watermelon" note of 1890, which was introduced to back silver purchases, as the Windom Silver Bullion Purchase Act allowed the amount of silver purchased by the government to double. One of only seven examples of the Grand Watermelon will also feature in the sale, valued at $1.25m+.
Like the Grand Watermelon, the 1891 note bears a striking vignette of General Meade, who took control of the Army of the Potomac on the eve of the Battle of Gettysburg. Once described as "a damned old goggle-eyed snapping turtle", Meade was renowned for his short temper, and the engraver has certainly picked up on this in his work.
PGCS has given the note a grading of Extremely Fine 45PPQ, although it has historically been referred to as CU (Crisp Uncirculated). The PGCS grading is more accurate, with the note showing light signs of circulation.
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