||(Columbia), SC - State of South Carolina $10 Jan. 1866 Cr.-UNL. Essay Proof. PCGS Very Choice New 64 Apparent. Unpublished in all the Southern State's references, from the 1915 William West Bradbeer reference, through multiple Grover Criswell editions, and ultimately to the currently used A Guidebook of Southern States Currency by Hugh Shull (2007, Whitman Publishing). It is a handmade Face Essay Proof in mixed media and is unique. There is also a companion $5 denomination Essay Model Proof in the EPNNES collection and on display currently in the Newman Money Museum at Washington University in St. Louis. The Essay was created as a proposal for the Reconstruction period notes that eventually were issued from Columbia with January 1, 1866 dates and engraved by the American Bank Note Company (Cr. 01-04 types). The Essay Model is a blend of drawing and engraving. The engraved elements are mounted on original cardstock without imprint. At the top, just to the right is a sepia wash drawing of an eagle in full flight with the American Standard in its talons, flowing in its wake. To the eagle's left is the hand-lettered title "The State of/South Carolina" in stacked, curving style as are the obligation texts. The bordering, lathe work elements, central TEN DOLLARS and upper right corner "10" counter are India paper elements, were affixed to the card in tandem with the hand drawn and lettered art. This is an extremely impressive design, but not representative of what was ultimately engraved and emitted. The verso of the card is interesting. A contemporary note was written in pencil perpendicularly, at the right end with, "$750/for 10,000 sheets/4 on " /Being 2 of the $5./ and " " " $10.", the sheet configuration chosen. The origin of the two Essay Model Proof denominations from this Act in the Newman collection is a mystery. It may have been a private proposal to local officials, but the engraved elements are suggestive of a link with the American Bank Note Company, especially with the ordering data on the verso. However, without supporting documents that is impossible to prove. Some minor flaws are noted, academic in the grand scheme: "Paper Scuffs; Minor Stains." The stains are an overstatement for scattered, light foxing. An elegant and unique example of the banknote engraver's art. Like most Obsolete notes, it is very difficult to evaluate, and a realization well over the upper estimate is appropriate if two or more collectors recognize the uniqueness and great artistry of this South Carolina currency treasure. Ex: Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society.
Realized $9,400.00. Newman VI (Heritage Auctions, 4/2015), lot 19315. Description courtesy of Heritage Auctions.