Middlebury currency from 19th century sells for $64K
MIDDLEBURY — The National Bank of Middlebury has built a solid reputation for sound fiscal management since its founding in 1831.
But a small error made by the bank 142 years ago has paid a few currency collectors some very high dividends.
The rare, misprinted $10 bank note printed by the National Bank of Middlebury back in 1875 just sold for a whopping $64,625 to an undisclosed buyer at an Aug. 3 auction at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver.
Dustin Johnston of Dallas-based Heritage Auctions confirmed the transaction in an email exchange with the Addison Independent. The price includes a buyer’s premium.
Here’s the misprint that makes the bank note so rare and valuable: It bears a $10 denomination on the front, but a $20 denomination on the back.
“In 20 years of publicly archived currency auctions, we have handled just one other Original Series Double Denomination, a far inferior $10/$20 from Springfield, Mass.,” the auction cataloger wrote about the Middlebury bank note, according to a report from the Bank Note Reporter publication. The note was graded “PCGS Very Fine 25” and was estimated to auction for $60,000 to $80,000.
National Bank of Middlebury President Caroline Carpenter gave the following light-hearted reaction to the Addison Independent when informed on Friday of the big payday for the botched bill: “We’re excited, but we do hope our quality control has improved since 1875.”
The National Bank of Middlebury has some of its old bank notes on public display at its downtown Middlebury headquarters. The most recent one dates to 1929. The bank vault includes printing plates for some of that now-archaic currency, according to Carpenter.
The federal government allowed banks to issue National Bank Notes throughout the country and U.S. territories between 1865 and 1935. The federal government backed the value of those notes.
In all, the National Bank Of Middlebury printed $4,261,180 worth of national currency in 33 different types and denominations, according to AntiqueMoney.com.
Middlebury resident David Weinstock, former employee of a Boston rare coin company and former member of the Numismatic Literary Guild, noted the Middlebury bank note’s presence in the Aug. 3 auction and alerted the Independent.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].
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