The February Long Beach Heritage Signature Auction will include a special 50-lot Signature Currency Auction. Among the notes being offered is one of the most highly-prized examples of U.S. paper money, a $100 Watermelon note. The manner in which the number 100 on the back of the $100 1890 Treasury Notes and the number 1,000 on the back of the $1,000 were designed resembles the outside rind of a watermelon, leading to their nickname. The design earned the number 18 spot on the list of the 100 Greatest American Currency Notes and would likely have taken a higher place if not for the $1,000 denomination, which ranked at the very top of the list.
The portrait on the face of the $100 is that of David Farragut (1801-70), who famously was reported to have stated "Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!" during the Civil War when the Union ships under his command sealed off Mobile Bay and thus cut off the Confederate blockade running that was taking place. Prior to that, he led the forces that captured New Orleans. He was only nine years old when he entered the navy and served in the War of 1812. Farragut was the first person to hold the rank of admiral in the United States Navy. Read more about David Farragut, in our Arms & Armor Newsletter, here.
A mere 120,000 of the $100 1890 Treasury Notes were printed. With only about three dozen surviving examples of this denomination, and a quarter of that number held in institutional collections, very few are available to meet collector demand, as evidenced by the fact that this is the only example that has been offered at auction since 2008.
The note retains original surfaces, and the few pinholes that are observed have not been restored, a refreshing departure for these types of notes that have often been invasively rebuilt over the years.
A number of remarkable notes have already been consigned to our Central States Signature Currency Auction that will be held in Schaumburg, Illinois April 18-21. If you are interested in consigning all or part of your collection, please contact a Consignment Director by calling 800-872-6467, ext. 1001. The consignment deadline is March 2, 2012. We look forward to hearing from you.