The world’s rarest, most valued print money collection ever assembled goes up for auction next week in Baltimore, Maryland and while the pile of cash is only worth $76,000 on paper, it’s expected to draw upwards of $30 million.
“A lot of bills the U.S. government doesn’t even have a copy of them,” Vicken Yegparian, vice president of numismatics at Stack’s Bowers Galleries, the firm holding the auction, tells FOX Business.
The 240-piece collection was assembled by Joel R. Anderson and contains a number of historical notes from 1812 to 1923, with many of them worth several millions each.
“A lot of them are large-sized bank notes which started in the 1860s, when the U.S. government really got involved in the currency business in a big way because of the civil war going on, and they needed to finance that and they were scrambling to figure out a way,” Yegparian says.
One of the most expensive bills is a 1891 $1,000 Silver Certificate “Mercy” Note, which is sometimes consider the “unicorn” of United States paper money, and it is estimated to draw $1.75 million to $2.25 million because there are only two of them left in the world.
Anderson, who has been collecting notes for several decades, decided to sell his collection after reaching his goal of acquiring one of every major lines of money ever produced by the U.S. government.
“I think for him a lot of it was about the thrill of the hunt at first and then you hit this brick wall when you can’t add to it and you say maybe it’s time to sell,” Yegparian says.
The notes will now be broken apart in a series of three auctions this year, with the first one next week in Baltimore, followed by one in Philadelphia in the summer, and the last one back in Baltimore in November.
Yegparian says the auctions will draw a lot of long-time collectors that started when they were kids as well as a lot of overseas collectors who are interested in old U.S. bills.
“In China, we have to open a Hong Kong office to crater to the demand of Chinese collectors in recent years,” he says.