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FUN confirms paper market insights
By Bill Brandimore
March 17, 2017

By the coin market comments relative to the Florida United Numismatists show, it looks like my thoughts on the paper money market are in sync with general numismatic market activity. In this month’s guide, I’m catching up with prices in the more affordable grades of Very Good to Extremely Fine. Here, also there has been some upward price movement.

Some years ago you could overpay a bit for a note and in six months or so the market would have covered your earlier purchase price through the dynamic growth that was in progress prior to the Heritage Central States show Thomas M. Flynn auction of 2008, which was the high water mark.

The market isn’t there right now, but I think you can buy attractive circulated notes at this time without worrying about a big market slump. I will be at the Central States show this month watching the Heritage auctions.

Among winners in value growth are $10 Legal Tender Buffaloes. The Very Fine market seemed especially weak with this perennial favorite. Some were selling in the $450 to $600 level. They now appear to have settled back into the $750 to $800 range for the more available signature combinations. Indian Chiefs are still lagging a bit, although high-grade examples seem to have regained their strength.

Battle Ship $2s are also on the rise. $1 Federal Reserve Bank Notes have also picked up some steam. This whole area up through the $20s is interesting and picking up as well.

I am also observing growing interest in large-size star notes. You don’t have to be ashamed of a Very Good or Fine star note. They are elusive and desirable. Since the Lyn Knight Ricky auction at Memphis a few years ago interest has steadily increased. Higher prices have brought them out of the woodwork.

I used the Ricky catalog as a primer and have not listed notes that I have not seen featured for sale at retail or in auctions. I am adding fresh appearances probably semi-monthly. This issue I note the sale of KL283a*/Fr883a*, a 1914 Kansas City $5 Blue Seal at $375 in Very Fine and $600 in Extremely Fine; as well as a KL482a*/931a*, a 1914 $10 Chicago Blue Seal at $400 in Very Fine.

In small size, I continue to remain puzzled by the inconsistency of the 1929 national Federal Reserve Bank Note market. I can offer no buy or sell strategy for these notes. In the Heritage Internet sale at FUN they were unpredictable. The only possible strategy seems to be to lurking in every Internet sale and bidding low. You must remain patient, however, as these notes seem mercuric in nature. Fancy numbers and low serial numbers continue to make strong showings with strong prices. At the same time, scarce FRN and FRN stars in the $5 to $20 denominations continue to bring weak results.

I am looking forward to results at the new Memphis show in Kansas City. I don’t know yet if I can make it, but I will be attending the Georgia state show in April, as well as Central States the next weekend. I’d enjoy talking with readers in person or via my email,

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