PMG Certifies Incredibly Rare 1863 $20 Gold Certificate

Posted on 20/06/2022

The Gold Certificate series key is now being offered for at least $800,000.

Paper Money Guaranty® (PMG®) has certified one of the most coveted US Large-Size Notes: a very rare 1863 $20 Gold Certificate. The note was authenticated and graded PMG 25 Very Fine earlier this year. It is now being offered with a starting price of $800,000.

This note was last in public view in 2000, when it was sold for $581,000 at a Lyn Knight sale. The number of 1863 $20 Gold Certificates known to exist is in the single digits, including two that are part of the Smithsonian's collection and, therefore, unavailable to collectors.

The 1863 $20 Gold Certificate graded PMG 25 Very Fine.
Click images to enlarge.

This particular 1863 $20 Gold Certificate has a Friedberg catalog number of 1166b-I. In addition to the signatures of Colby and Spinner, this variety also has the assistant treasurer signature at bottom-left engraved.

The note is being offered by Carl J. Fusco, a Florida-based numismatic dealer. He is the Managing & Principal Director of NPA Associates and National Recovery, a 30-year-old whole-loan and distressed based asset fund. NPA recently completed a world-class Large Size Gold Certificate collection with many of the finest-known notes.

"Only four of these highly coveted notes are available to the collecting community,” said Fusco, who is a member of the Professional Numismatists Guild and a longtime member of PMG. “PMG's certification and encapsulation services are crucial for a museum-quality note like this one.”

"This note could represent a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for an elite collector," said Chad Hawk, PMG Grading Finalizer. "When considering the purchase, the next owner can be confident that the PMG Guarantee backs both the authenticity and grade of this world-class rarity."

The United States government first authorized Gold Certificates in 1863, during the Civil War, and they were issued in the mid- to late 1860s. Denominations of $20, $100, $500, $1,000, $5,000 and $10,000 were authorized, but only a handful of the lowest two denominations survive. They were unknown when the first Friedberg book was published.

The 1863 Gold Certificates were used for inter-bank transactions and had an extremely high redemption rate. They had the virtue of being backed by actual gold, in contrast to other US paper currency in use at the time, which often traded hands at less than face value. The Gold Certificate era ended in 1933, when the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration outlawed private ownership of Gold Certificates.

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