||Germantown, PA - Bank of Germantown in the City & County of Philadelphia $1 January 15, 1862 PA-150 G8a Hoober 305-13. PCGS Very Fine 25. The Bank of Germantown "Polar Bear" issued note, infrequently offered, always garners strong bidding at auction. The American Bank Note Company engraved and printed note boasts one of the most engaging, classic and dynamic vignettes used on United States Obsoletes as well as on a few Canadian notes. The vignettes, devices and color combine nicely into an elegant layout. At the right third, just under the curved title, is The White Bear, engraved by De Witt Clinton Hay and adapted from the art of Felix O.C. Darley. Four fur-clad men in a small boat attempt to fend off an aggressive polar bear rising out of the water, his large paw already on the gunwale; their ship is in the far distance. The vignette, though not specifically historic, was engraved at the time of Henry Grinnell's expeditions in search of ill-fated John Franklin and his ships lost decades before in the Canadian Arctic wilderness. At the left is standing Indian princess and to the left of the title is small girl's head vignette. Complex vermillion color tint plate uses PHILADELPHIA for the end title portion; widely spaced and tall "1" protectors are at either side, and a micro-lettered guilloche is across the bottom. This is a lovely example with excellent color contrasting beautifully with the exciting vignette. From our observations, we believe there may be ten or so known in all grades, but they tend to be strongly held by collectors who recognize their significance. This type was heading towards four-figure auction price levels about twenty-five years ago, and their value has never declined. The example in the 1990 Memphis NASCA-Smythe Pennsylvania collection, Lot 1617, sold for $1,155, when few Northern notes achieved or passed that level. Recent auction records include Stack's Philadelphia Americana Sale (Sept 30, 2010, Lot 931) example in About Fine at $2,990 and the Kensington Collection example (sold in Stack's 52 Collection Part II sale, January 25, 2011) in Fine, Lot 3667, at $3,220. The Newman pedigree collection example is finer than either of the two; in fact, this is one of the finest known. Ex: Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society.
Realized $4,465.00. Newman VI (Heritage Auctions, 4/2015), lot 19299. Description courtesy of Heritage Auctions.