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pursuitofliberty

So the paper money thing all started with the Fractional’s … the gateway drug to paper if you’re a coin person I suppose. Fractional’s could also be the link that binds numismatic and philatelic as well, but that is not my story. I haven’t went (or come from) there.

Anyway, recently I went through all my old records (some handwritten) as I came back to my collection, and in that, I tried to piece back together the beginning of my interest in paper. I’ve owned a hard copy of the Friedberg reference since shortly after the first note. I still treasure the soft copy catalog from the Herman Halpern Collection (sold by Stacks in March of 1993), which I paid for and ordered prior to the auction. And yet, paper was always back behind the coin thing.

I was into coins so much more then … still am in a larger sense (maybe because of what I already have been able to collect) … although things seem to have shifted some.

Right before the world found out about and tried to adapt to this COVID thing, I came back to the collecting fold … as I always suspected I would. It was a pretty long hiatus (seven years), but this time, when I did, the paper seed, planted through all those years, started to sprout.

I’ve been a collector since the late 80’s (with a couple long off spells), and I still don’t have many Fractional’s, just a dozen in all. Nine that presented themselves at the right time, and the three I bought within the last few months. I have also started a group of Large Type (a few of which I’ve shown here in my few first posts), but it was the Fractional’s that started it all.

Anyway, back to the beginning. The first one.

My first one.

It was kind of a gift of sorts. I was buying some coins but the note had been sitting in the display case, off to the left, alone without another, smiling back at me. The dealer I was working with knew me a little from my scouring of the bourse, and we had been discussing things, including the birth of my daughter a few months prior.

As we came close to finishing the deal, he reached in and grabbed the note, and set it atop the case.

He asked me if I was flipping some of my purchases (both the ones I was getting from him and the few he knew I had already picked up). I said I was, but that I would be keeping the 17-D Standing Liberty I was buying from him. I actually know which coin it was, because I still have it.

Grading any? Yeah, probably going to send a couple in. He looked at the few we were working on doing, and I think he knew I was going to make a few bucks. I had a good eye at the time, and most of the regulars on the show circuit knew I did. The dealers I worked with also knew and respected my mentor.

Tell you what, he said, let’s round it up to an even number. Before I could protest, he slid the note over. You want this, he said, more telling me that I did in fact want it, than trying to sell it to me. And next week it won’t matter, he said, just put it away with that quarter.

He knew that I was by no means wealthy, and I rarely bought more than I could afford unless I could turn a dime, but he was right, and we both knew it. And I was pretty sure that Saturday was going to make me several hundred dollars over the next month.

It was an attractive note. Inexpensive and attractive. For the difference of what I think was just over or just under $ 25., we did the deal. My notes are vague on what the balance would have been to round up to the $400. I spent at his table.

I was now the proud owner of this Miss Liberty. All these later I still have her.

Fr 1258 _ Liberty _ front.jpg  Fr 1258 _ Liberty _ back.jpg 

 

 

 

… to be continued …

there is a Fractional I own that is of interest to at least one or two members, and I’ll try to get to that one next

Todd        “We are only their care-takers,” he posed, “if we take good care of them, then centuries from now they may still be here … ”
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TomTomTomTom
I did start collecting fractionals as an offshoot of stamps...seeing what looked like Jefferson stamps pasted onto some paper really captured my attention...to my amazement, they were legal tender paper money. The history that goes along with them has cemented my imagination for many years.
Always looking for high quality fractional notes, specimens, proofs, experimentals and anything fractional related
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hfjacinto

Great write up!!!

The fractional currency has an attraction to me also. Other than the 4th issue Lincoln most can be purchased for under $100 in circulated grades.

I currently have 11 with one on hold that I’ll get next week, that leaves me 13 more to go. 

Good luck in completing your set!

Quote 2
pursuitofliberty

... part 2 ...

For those who weren’t actively involved in the hobby back then, the very early 90’s would be hard to describe to someone who showed up to collecting even 7 or 8 years later. There was no internet. Dealers and shops and shows, or you ordered something nationally from a periodical or a mailing list, with nary but a description to go by.

If you were purchasing from a National Auction with a catalog, you probably still had to be into the top tiers to have any photographs, much less color ones. PCGS and NGC were new, but it was obvious, if you wanted some of the big money from a larger audience than the specialists, you were starting to get the top coins in plastic.

A lot of people did not like the trend. Some of the things we see slabbed today would be laughed at (or completely scoffed at), with sometimes the whole holder idea looked at with entire disdain. Sometimes that was, how could someone be so wrong as to submit that. Or maybe, damn, another one in a coffin. Or just plain, Why?

But the winds were changing, and the most prevalent thought was if it’s near Gem or better, and at least before 1934, maybe it should go. Of course there was another group willing to send in the earliest US silver and gold if it was even close to Unc, and that quickly shifted to most of the keys. In a way, slabbing was a race to the bottom, as much as it was a race to find the top.

If you came into the hobby after about 1998, when the Internet really started to come into its own, you need to stop and think about being a collector in 1990 for a moment. The context of what that was like for the hobby both before and after somewhere about that moment is enormous. The way things changed with the addition of reliable grading services and all that brought, and how less than a decade later the access to the internet is mind numbing in retrospect.

Anyway, I digress. Back in the early 90’s I was watching this happen, with very little context of before, but a very real context of the now, at that moment. I was also a small part of it, occasionally helping with, or making a score … and watching a special coin go off to get a “dinner jacket”. And I was starting to make money.

So, imagine my surprise, when about a year after I bought my first note, I saw my first piece of graded paper. It was a Martha. Some crazy high grade … 66 I think.

Wow!

Anyway, next show, there they are. At least a dozen or so notes, freshly graded. And I wasn’t looking. I was a coin guy.

And as I walked by the same guy I bought my first Fractional from, over in the corner, he had one too. A Fractional even.

WTF?!

Really. That’s what I thought. Probably not as the acronym that floods my brain now, but the drawn out, fully articulated version of WTF.

A graded Fractional! The company name was familiar, as many of the the notes we were seeing at that moment were from them. They became highly regarded, although, in the end, they did not stand the test of time.

What the heck is that? I asked. I mean, I knew what it was. It was actually a fairly desirable note, and one that wouldn’t be entirely inexpensive.

He laughed. It’s the next wave buddy! QDB and his partner are doing all the Paper, and I guess Fractional’s aren’t immune. I think everyone is starting to smell money. Here comes the Crazy Train.

He was smiling (even laughing), but his eyes were rolling too.

I asked to see it, and at first, I just studied how they had put the sleeve together. Hmmpphh.

Then I examined the note. I remember thinking, this is the new wave. The coins and the paper are all going to have some kind of jacket. Damn. Really? I don’t know, maybe that’s a good thing. It’ll keep people from f’n with stuff and also allow us to hold things a little easier … but wow … this is weird. Conflicting thoughts back then, for sure.

Kewl note, I said.

You want it? He asked.

Sell it to me at 60 money? I asked, half-jokingly, not even knowing what 60 money was.

He handed me the sheet. I looked it up, and a small lump formed in my throat. You guys will probably laugh after you see the note in today’s context, but this was not an insignificant amount for me at that time.

Maybe. I’ll catch up with you later and we’ll see if I can swing it.

I remember he looked me straight up and asked me, Are you sure?

No … but yeah … maybe. It’s a cool note. It might be a nice put away.

Unless someone walks up and wants it for full Choice money, I’ll hold it for you.

Probably won’t get that, I chided.

So I’ll hold it for you, he said with a smile and a wink. Today only. Come back and see me later. I have a few Walkers I may want you to look at if I can’t move them. Maybe you can take them to Don for me.

Yep ... damn that was a long time ago.

And so, later that day, I came to own my first graded note.

There are more stories in the journey, and if the interest is there, I will add to this … but at least a couple people wanted to see this note and I did not have a good picture until last night. Mr. Stanton will be back in the Bank tomorrow watching over his brethren.

It was also a fun way to introduce myself I suppose, as I like to write, and I like to tell stories. Especially the ones I have lived through.

Be safe out there. Drop me a line on the PM and say Hi if you want.

Fr 1376 _ Stanton _ HMK63 _ 01.jpg  Fr 1376 _ Stanton _ HMK63 _ 02.jpg 

Todd        “We are only their care-takers,” he posed, “if we take good care of them, then centuries from now they may still be here … ”
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hfjacinto
You and I like the same notes Ã°Å¸ËœÂ! Although yours are nicer.

IMG_4163.jpg  IMG_3969.jpg 

Are you a writer? These stories are real good.
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mfontes
Nice story and its awesome to see the fractional!  ðŸ‘
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asheland
Great read!  I love fractionals and got back into them last November.  I actually got the Stanton then, I wish it was higher grade, but I am happy with it.  🙂
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asheland

Welcome to the forums!  

DC0E0A2E-131B-4B13-A871-118E29AE2D9B.jpeg  97D71ED7-694A-4ADA-B014-E5D5174D850C.jpeg 

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YoungCollector
So, in 1993 I used to go to a local disc shop in Manhattan, a guy named Dave Heller.  I would also go see a guy called Jules Karp.
The internet was new and I found an outfit called Teletrade because they had the domain http://www.coins.com
They didn't usually have pictures and you couldn't bid online, but you could dial in by phone to an automated system and place bids.
There were also lots of mailing list catalogs - usually no pictures.  The coins were all slabbed.
Then one day slabbed notes began to appear.

It struck me back then that a big problem was processing returns.  Processing a return seems to be much harder than just selling a note.
I have always disliked slabs but it seemed to me, way back then, that grading services would cut down on returns for the mail order dealers ...
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pursuitofliberty
So, in 1993 I used to go to a local disc shop in Manhattan, a guy named Dave Heller.  I would also go see a guy called Jules Karp.
The internet was new and I found an outfit called Teletrade because they had the domain http://www.coins.com
They didn't usually have pictures and you couldn't bid online, but you could dial in by phone to an automated system and place bids.
There were also lots of mailing list catalogs - usually no pictures.  The coins were all slabbed.
Then one day slabbed notes began to appear.

It struck me back then that a big problem was processing returns.  Processing a return seems to be much harder than just selling a note.
I have always disliked slabs but it seemed to me, way back then, that grading services would cut down on returns for the mail order dealers ...



I too remember when Teletrade first came out. That was kind of the start of the digital age I think. And the graded material allowed for that to happen, for sure. Without it, no way that developed the way it did.

No pictures but they really had some pretty dang good descriptions. And things hidden between the lines. Didn't know about a domain, but always the "catalog" in the center of the Coin World, which got pulled out and combed over. Took a few chances and did pretty well overall. ðŸ™‚ Hmmm, there's a box or two I need to look at sometime. I might still have one or two of those "catalogs" from the mid 90's.

Anyway, I got a smile thinking back to the shops and the Teletrade thing. I was a West Coaster, having had returned to Seattle after I spent six years in the USN.

Thanks for the memories!
Todd        “We are only their care-takers,” he posed, “if we take good care of them, then centuries from now they may still be here … ”
Quote 1
Paperman222
Contact regarding 1914 $20 FRN Philadelphia District Fr. 975a PMG 55.  email paperman222@gmail
Quote 0
pursuitofliberty
Well, that's one way to do it! ðŸ˜†ðŸ˜†ðŸ˜†
We were trying to talk without the eBay team listening!


Okay, let's go with another Fractional from way, way back to get this crazy intro' thread back in the groove.

I was already down in Central Valley of CA by this time, running my own business. This area isn't quite the same as the NW, but alas ... sometimes you have to adapt to life and the curve balls it throws. God knows I've had lots of those in my life. Where's the eye-roll emoji?!

Anyway, one day in 1997, I found myself in my favorite local coin shop, with a dealer that I have always liked, and an empty floor. I wasn't finding much for coins, but I kind of had that money burning a hole in my pocket thing going on, if you know what I mean.

He was taking a call and I walked over to the old rolling carousels where he often had some odds and ends ... mostly local buttons and tokens and the like, and some junky stuff ... but now and again there was something worth considering.

I was holding down the button on the second case, watching the trays flip by, when a group of Fractional's rolled by.

Wait a second. I hit the back button. A couple of those look kind of nice.

Hmmmm.

Just took those in, he said as he walked up. 'Couple nice, some, maybe not so.

He was right, if they were all part of the same group. Some where a little ragged, some further down than that.

Crawford looks pretty nice, I said. And the Washington. Maybe that 3 center?

Yeah he said, opening the case and pulling them out, setting them out for me.

I took the Washington first. Hmmmmm. What was that? Pulled my glass out, but before I got it ready he said, Bullet hole.

Bullet hole? I asked looking up at him, before the realization of what he said hit me.

He smiled as he saw the light go on in my head.

I examined it, and made mental notes. Yep, that was a pinhole. Hardly noticeable from the front, but a jagged little exit hole visible on the back. Too bad I thought. Was a nice note otherwise. Maybe I'll tell the story of tat note later.

Anyway, I slid the 3 center out and looked. Yeah, maybe.

Then I looked at the Crawford. Hmmm. Nice. I think. Hell I don't know. Looks nice. Man, I really need to learn more about paper.

Anyway, like I said, it was an empty floor, and so we talked. And I asked questions. And he showed me some things, and explained some things. Steve is way more of a coin guy, but he's very knowledgeable in a lot of collectibles, and he helped impart a little wisdom on me that day about paper.

We talked quite a good bit, and finally we worked out a deal so I could part with a couple dollars out of my pocket.

This one came home with me that day.

Fr 1381 _ Crawford _ front.jpg  Fr 1381 _ Crawford _ back.jpg 

 
Todd        “We are only their care-takers,” he posed, “if we take good care of them, then centuries from now they may still be here … ”
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