||Laporte, WI - Oconto County Bank $5 August 1, 1857 WI-355 G2a. Proof. PCGS Very Choice New 64. This important central vignette, on an extremely rare banknote, was engraved and printed by Rawdon, Wright, Hatch & Edson, New York. In private hands, there are two confirmed examples known of this $5 Oconto County Bank proof. The other was sold in 1997 at the British American Banknote Company (or BABN) Archive sale at Spink America (Christie's) as part of the four note denomination set (Lot 187 at $3,300 to Herb and Martha Schingoethe). Printed on India paper only, like the BABN Archive example, this note's central vignette is engaging, fierce, and provocative. At the bottom center is a dynamic scene with a fierce, wild-eyed Indian warrior with tomahawk raised. As he prepares to strike his young victim, the mother tries to fend him off. A buckskin-clad frontiersman, knife drawn, comes to their rescue. In the background is a colonial style log house. At the lower left is a male portrait. Dual red protector "5" numerals flank the vignette. Hole Punch Cancelled as prepared at RWHE. The vignette is fascinating on several levels. It was not created as contract work for the bank, but rather existed in the RWHE catalog of vignettes. Its initial cited usage is on the United States of America, Act of March 3, 1855 Bounty Land certificates for 80 Acres (see Ford Part VI, Lot 489, p. 107 for an issued bond). The intended purpose of those Federal Land Certificates was to repay War of 1812 debts (these certificates show the top central vignette appearing to be a Battle of New Orleans scene, but this is not confirmed). For their service, Mexican War veterans and their families were given frontier tracts ("40 Acres and a Mule") in the Louisiana Purchase lands to encourage population of that area. The vignette seems an odd choice; a pleasant landscape might have been more suitable. Although the origin of the vignette's imagery is speculative, it certainly contains elements from John Vanderlyn's 1804 painting, Death of Jane McCrea, which was adapted for use on Fort Edward, New York banknotes. This note certainly merits detailed study, and stands out as a superb proof and a great rarity. Ex: Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society.
Realized $5,405.00. Newman VI (Heritage Auctions, 4/2015), lot 19406. Description courtesy of Heritage Auctions.