Question: I have a $2 bill that is larger than the newer bills. On the face, it says: Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. It is dated May 18, 1914, depicts Thomas Jefferson and has J-10 in all four corners. On the back, there is a picture of a ship, and at the top it says National Currency. Can you give me some information in regard to this bill?--J.W.
Answer: While I concentrate on coins in this column, paper bills fall into the numismatic category. Collectors of paper money are not as numerous as coin collectors, but those who pursue the hobby are just as avid. Many similarities exist, with condition and rarity important factors in determining price and desirability.
Your $2 bill is a Federal Reserve Bank Note--as opposed to a Federal Reserve Note. The distinction is important. Federal Reserve Bank Notes are not part of the Federal Reserve System proper, but of the individual banks in the system. The obligation to pay the bearer of the note is made by the specific bank, not by the United States.
The Bank Notes were issued during a relatively short period during World War I. Bills such as yours are worth about $20 in good (rather-worn) condition; $350 if uncirculated.
Collectors look essentially for condition. But with bills, combinations of federal government signatures combined with those of various governors and cashiers of the issuing banks can create quite a challenge.
Q: I inherited a coin dated 1881 with a Liberty head and 13 stars on the front; eagle, wings out, and In God We Trust on the back. Stamped around the edges is United States of America--TEN D. We have no idea of its value. Can you tell us?--M.H.
A: The 1881 $10 (no mint mark) is a high-mintage issue. Your coin is probably in the $225-to-$250-and-up range, depending upon condition.
Friday, Saturday and Sunday--The 24th Annual Convention of International Numismatics will take place this weekend at the Los Angeles Airport Hilton, 5711 W. Century Blvd., Los Angeles. "The British Commonwealth" is the theme of the convention, which will feature an auction by Ponterio & Associates of San Diego. Hours are 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $1.
Sunday, Monday and Tuesday--A major auction of the Buddy Ebsen Collection will be conducted by Superior Galleries. More than 3,000 lots will be sold, including many outstanding United States specimens, beginning Sunday at noon with a second session at 6 p.m. at Superior, 9478 W. Olympic Blvd., Beverly Hills. The auction continues Monday and Tuesday at 6 p.m. at the Century Plaza Hotel. For information, call Superior at (213) 203-9855.
June 4-7--The massive 9th Annual Long Beach Numismatic & Philatelic Summer Exposition at the Long Beach Convention Center will feature an auction by Pacific Coast Auction Galleries at 2 p.m. June 6 and a booth by the China Mint offering a special issue struck just for the show. There will be 420 stamp and coin booths plus specialty areas. Hours are 10 a.m.-8 p.m. June 4, 5 and 6; 10 a.m.-3 p.m. June 7. For information, call (213) 437-0819; after Tuesday, call (213) 436-3636.