Stacks Bowers' upcoming sale features some of the rarest American numismatics at auction. With few left in circulation, nine Rainbow Notes are up for sale, estimated at between $4-6 million for the full set. In addition, there is a $1000 Marcy silver certificate, of which only two are known to still exist, and a selection of unique coins from the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries. Here are the top highlights from the anticipated auction:

This series of nine come from the 1869 Legal Tender note series, known as "Rainbow" notes for their colorful backgrounds. During the Civil War, paper money had replaced coinage as the currency because people were hoarding coins due to wartime panic. It was not until 1876 and 1878 that these notes could be redeemed for silver and gold coins respectively.

The most valuable note at auction, this $1000 Marcy silver certificate, dates to 1891. It once set the world record for the highest price ever paid for a paper money note when it sold in 2013 for $2.6 million through Stack's Bowers. The only other surviving example is at the Smithsonian Institution. William Marcy, for whom the note is named, had a prolific political career, serving as senator from New York, governor of New York and Secretary of State under President Franklin Pierce. It is estimated at $2-3 million.

This $1000 note from 1869 (worth almost $20,000 in 2018 dollars) is the only privately held $1000 Rainbow Legal Tender note. It depicts Christopher Columbus in his study to the left, and to the right DeWitt Clinton, who served as governor and senator of New York state and mayor of New York City. It is in excellent condition and is one of only two known to exist (the other is at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago). To own this rare and pristine bill from 150 years ago is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It is estimated at $1.5-2.5 million

This $500 dollar note dates to 1869 and would be worth approximately $9,200 in 2018 dollars. This is the only privately held example of this type of tender and only one of three known to exist of the 89,360 notes printed at the time (the other two are at the Smithsonian Institution in DC and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago respectively). At the left is the allegorical figure of Justice, while to the right is a portrait of President John Quincy Adams. This extremely rare legal note is an extraordinary addition to any numismatics collection of the post-Civil War era. It is estimated at $1.5-2.5 million

This 1879 four-dollar gold Stella was designed in an effort to create an international coinage system. The four-dollar gold Stella was planned to be the US equivalent of certain European coin denominations and a few hundred were coined; however, it was not accepted into mainstream production. For an advanced collector, this piece is an important part of the complete US Mint gold coinage.

 

 

This rare 1875 half eagle comes from a mintage of just 20 coins, with only five presumed to still be in private hands. This half-eagle doesn't come to auction very often, typically only every 5-10 years. This piece, with the Head of Liberty on the front and a majestic eagle surrounded by the engraved "United States of America" on the back, is a unique and rare piece to add to an extensive collection.

See all Stacks Bowers lots on Barnebys