A Fr. 1132-K 1918 $500 Federal Reserve Note graded PCGS Extremely Fine 45, one of only five known examples, is among the exceptional notes being offered in the upcoming Heritage CSNS (Central States Numismatic Society) Currency Signature Auction. The auction will be held in the Chicago area on April 27-29, 2011. The non-floor session will be conducted on May 2, 2011 in Dallas.
The Dallas district $500 features the Burke-Glass signature combination. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall is represented in the portrait on the face. Marshall (1755-1835) was the fourth Chief Justice and was the longest-serving Chief Justice as well, having held the position from 1801-35. Perhaps most importantly, he reinforced the concept of judicial review in Marbury v. Madison in 1803. A number of cases were also presented to the court involving the balance of power between the states and the federal government. The 1819 decision in the McCulloch v. Maryland case upheld the supremacy of the federal government to authorize the Second Bank of the United States, among other actions.
Engraver Frederick Girsch's DeSoto Discovering the Mississippi was used for the backs of these notes. The engraving was also used for the $10 Nationals of the First Charter period. Girsch's engraving was based on William Henry Powell's painting in the Capitol Rotunda in Washington, D.C., Discovery of the Mississippi by DeSoto in 1542. Spanish explorer Hernando DeSoto (1500-42) was said to have been the first European to view the Mississippi River.
The painting was commissioned by Congress and depicts DeSoto on a horse arriving at the Mississippi River below Natchez on May 8, 1541. The various crowds represented around DeSoto include a group of Native Americans with their Chief holding a peace pipe, soldiers and their weaponry, and a monk praying while several men work to set a crucifix into the ground. The Mississippi River is seen in the background at upper right. William Henry Powell (1823-79) was an American painter; however the painting was created in Paris from 1848-53. Powell painted a number of works depicting historical scenes and personages during his career.
Engraver Frederick Girsch (1821-95) was born in Germany and studied in Paris before immigrating to the United States in 1849. He worked for a number of publishers prior to his employment with several bank note engraving firms; among them Danforth, Wright & Co. and American Bank Note Company.
The Fr. 1132-K 1918 $500 Federal Reserve Note is one of the many exceptional notes that have been consigned to date. Heritage Currency continues to accept consignments for our 2011 CSNS Signature Currency Auction. The consignment deadline is March 11, 2011. For more information about consigning all or part of your collection, please contact one of our Consignment Directors today by calling 800-872-6467, extension 1001.