EVERY MAJOR WAR OF 1812 CURRENCY TYPE REPRESENTED IN PREMIER EVENT
By Bruce Hagen, Dustin Johnston, Maureen Levine and Stuart Levine
With its vivid narrative of the crucial Battle of Baltimore, “The Star-Spangled Banner” evokes the War of 1812 every time it is performed. This historic conflict, which lasted from 1812 to 1815, began mere decades after the United States won her independence from Great Britain. While the Napoleonic wars raged in Europe, the British restricted American trade
by means of blockades and ship seizures, impressed American sailors into its navy and formed an alliance with American Indian tribes in order to thwart United States territorial expansion. On June 18, 1812, protective of her economy, citizenry and sovereignty, America declared war against Britain.
Financing the war necessitated new United States paper currency, which was emitted under four Congressional acts commencing in June 1812. The earliest notes from the first emission were interest-bearing instruments. As series were redeemed and Congress created further enactments, the ensuing notes were designed to circulate as currency. The fourth and final Feb. 24, 1815, act created denominations from $3 to $100 that, with three signatures affixed, would circulate as actual money in hand-to-hand commerce and be receivable for other payments. This enactment created the sole federally authorized “three dollar bill.”
The Mike Coltrane Collection Part 1, being offered Nov. 4-5, 2020, in Dallas, contains the only triple-signed and fully issued $3 note known. Also in this sale is one of the finest examples of a $3 remainder; illustrated here, it is graded PMG Choice Uncirculated 64EPQ.
The War of 1812 United States treasury notes are important historic artifacts and have steadily gained deserved recognition in the past two decades. Because of the short time span in which they circulated and the fact that the majority were redeemed, they are the rarest federally issued notes. Mike Coltrane has assembled the broadest collection of these very rare notes ever formed. Every major War of 1812 currency type is represented in this premier collection. With most of the notes off the market for decades, and many appearing at public auction for the first time, the Mike Coltrane Collection auction is an event not to be missed.
DUSTIN JOHNSON is vice president of currency auctions at Heritage Auctions. Stuart Levine, Bruce Hagen and Maureen Levine are professional numismatists and Mike Coltrane Collection advisors and catalogers.
This article appears in the Fall 2020 edition of The Intelligent Collector magazine. Click here to subscribe to the print edition.