Certified Obsolete Notes

While rarity tends to trump condition on many obsolete notes as compared to even key date coins, on occasion one can find some obsoletes that are certified such as the two notes shown below from the Planters Bank of Fairfield, SC and the note from the State Bank Of South Carolina.

The $5 note from the State Bank Of South Carolina was certified by PMG (Paper Money Guaranty) whereas the two notes from the Planters Bank of Fairfield, SC were certified by the currency division of PCGS. A lesser known third party currency grading service is CGA (Currency Grading And Authentication) and happen to be the first currency grading service. At present, I have a total of 4 certified notes in my collection and the one I have certified by CGA is a $2 1896 Educational Series Silver Certificate which is still legal tender and therefore not shown.

$5 State Bank, South Carolina (18__)
Sheheen #148
Image Contribution: Handini

$5 Planters Bank Of Fairfield, Winnsboro, South Carolina (1857)
Sheheen #150
Image Contribution: Handini

$10 Planters Bank Of Fairfield, Winnsboro, South Carolina (1853)
Sheheen #151
Image Contribution: Handini

Overall, as far as holders go, it is apparent by these images shown that the PCGS holder is more optically clear than the PMG holder. The CGA holders are also optically clear. Both PCGS and PMG use a rigid "plastic" whereas the CGA holders appear thinner. One nice thing about the CGA holders though,  is that they are a little smaller on both the length and width making them easier to store. The PCGS holders are a little longer than the PMG holders but the PMG holders are a little wider (from top to bottom) than the PCGS holders.

This has always been an issue with both coin and currency holders where there is no standard size used across all grading services. To make matters worse to coin collectors. NGC (Numismatic Guarantee Corporation) likes to modify their aspect ratio ever so frequently so it is difficult to find two seemingly identical holders to couple and stack up nicely. Unlike PCGS where all their holders, since they moved away from the "old rattlers", fit together nicely. NGC needs to fix this issue because as the holders slide against one another they will tend to scratch. I guess that's more money for them when collectors ship their coins back to them to be put into a newer, unscratched holder.

It is a shame that PCGS doesn't make a thick holder identical to their current coin holders with an aspect ratio for currency. PCGS, PMG, and CGA holders are all too thin that I fear they could easily get damaged and put dents in perfectly crisp notes thus ruining their value. Nevertheless, one advantage of the thin holders is being able to display ones collection. After all, what's the point of collecting if you can't show it off to others and talk about their history. Therefore, the PCGS and CGA holders are better at showing off notes since they are more optically clear than the PMG holders. Regardless of this fact, these 3 notes came together in one lot and since I currently have better examples, which are uncertified, of the Planters Bank of Fairfield, I'll definitely get rid of these two and keep the one from the State Bank of South Carolina until I upgrade it to a nicer specimen.

Bank Of Pittsylvania, Virginia

By: Handini

The Bank Of Pittsylvania, of Chatham, VA was a short lived bank, authorized in 1860 and failed around 1863 (Source: Haxby). They have some nice notes with a green and black color scheme rather than the usual black and red color scheme or black color scheme mostly found on obsoletes. Nevertheless, these notes are not the rarest as evidenced by their Rarities.

$5 Bank Of Pittsylvania, VA(1861)
Haxby VA-50-G2b
Image Contribution: Handini

$5 Bank Of Pittsylvania, VA(1861)
Haxby VA-50-G14
Image Contribution: Handini

Affleck identifies 7 different varieties. One $1 note, two $5 notes, A $10 note, 2 $20 notes, and a $50 note. Moreover, one variety of $20 note (Haxby VA-50-G10a) is listed as Spurious whereas Haxby identifies it as authentic. Haxby on the other hand, identifies 11 different varieties of notes for this bank, as it discriminates between notes of printed serial numbers and those with hand written serial numbers.

Here are the catalog numbers for the notes:

                        Denomination                        Haxby ID                        Affleck Rarities
                            $    1.00                            VA-50-G14                                  3
                            $    5.00                            VA-50-G2a                                  2
                            $    5.00                            VA-50-G2b                                  2
                            $    5.00                            VA-50-G16a                                2
                            $  10.00                            VA-50-G4a                                  3
                            $  10.00                            VA-50-G4b                                  3
                            $  20.00                            VA-50-G8a                                  4
                            $  20.00                            VA-50-G8b                                  4
                            $  20.00                            VA-50-G10a                               ---
                            $  50.00                            VA-50-G12a                                5
                            $  50.00                            VA-50-G12b                                5

Note: Since one variety of $5, $10, and $20 notes is split up into two different varieties by Haxby, the Affleck Rarities may not be accurate for these notes. Moreover, G2a, G4a, G8a, and G12a have handwritten serial numbers whereas G2b, G4b, G8b, and G12b have printed serial numbers. G14 and G16a are civil war emergency issues according to Haxby.

Bank Of Fayetteville $2 Dollar Bill

The Bank Of Fayetteville, North Carolina has one of the nicest vignettes. It features a guy on horse drawn covered wagon traversing a plank road. Plank roads were very costly to maintain. A train is seen off to the distance on the left and a steamship to the right in the vignette. This vignette can also be seen on the $2 note from the Bank Of Orange County of Chelsea, Vermont. Nevertheless, the vignette looks better on the Bank Of Fayetteville note since the Bank Of Orange County has an orange tint which clashes with the vignette in this case.

$2, Bank Of Fayetteville, NC (1861)
Pennell 780A
Image Contribution: Handini

Close Up Of Central Vignette
Image Contribution: Handini

The Obsolete Paper Money Of Virginia by Charles J. Affleck

By: Handini

The book The Obsolete Paper Money Of Virginia by Charles J. Affleck was published in 1968 by The Virginia Numismatic Association. It consists of 2 volumes and encompasses notes from the state of Virginia, which includes banks in West Virginia. It is an expensive book which will generally cost between $150 to $200 for both volumes but is well worth the purchase to a collector who is interested in obsolete notes from VA and WVA.

What is nice about this book is that it includes some color plates of some of the Bank Notes but most are still black and white. Volume 1 comprises Virginia Treasury Notes, County Notes, City and Town Notes, and Private and Business Scrip. Volume 2, on the other hand, lists the Obsolete BankNotes. It also has a portrait of Charles J. Affleck about 4 pages into the volume.

On the inside of the front cover of my copy of Volume 2 is a plaque which reads:

"The "Obsolete Paper Money Of Virginia Volume II"
consists of 1000 numbered copies.
This is copy number

and belongs to


Consequently, my edition of Volume 2 is one of 1000 copies. One thing to note however is that my copy of the book has two different publication dates. For me, Volume 1 is from 1968 and Volume 2 is from 1969. A quick search on the internet also reveals that signed copies are not that rare and don't command a premium. Nevertheless, it's one thing to look for if one decides to purchase this book.

Another thing to note is that this book uses an 8 point scale rather than the more prevalent 7 point scale for rarity estimates on the banknotes and scrip.

R 1        ∞ – 200 notes known to exist
R 2     100 – 200 notes known to exist
R 3       50 – 100 notes known to exist
R 4       25 –   50 notes known to exist
R 5       10 –   25 notes known to exist
R 6         5 –   10 notes known to exist
R 7         2 –     5 notes known to exist
R 8                    1 note known to exist

The only difference between the 8 point scale used by Affleck and the 7 point scale used by books on other states currencies is that the 8 designation indicates that only 1 note is known to exist.

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