Unredeemed 1795 U.S. Treasury $1000 certificate surfaces at Canadian auction house

Compound Interest Value could be over $123 Million

TORONTO, June 20, 2014 /CNW/ - A 1795 $1000 certificate issued by the United States Department of the Treasury may be one of the most interesting pieces of American financial history ever to be offered by public auction. It will be sold in the Canadian Legacy Sale, presented by Canadian Coin & Currency and Moore Numismatic Auctions from June 26-28. The certificate has been certified by PMG (Paper Money Guarantee, LLC) for authenticity, and is in Extremely Fine condition.  Dated 20th of July, 1795, the certificate bears interest indefinitely at a rate of 5.5% per annum, and appears to remain unredeemed. If compounded over the 219 years since it was issued, this would now total a staggering redemption value of $123,676,914.  While it is unlikely the Department of the Treasury would redeem this certificate today, it remains an amazing artefact of an important period of American history.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140620/119650)

In 1795, President George Washington was working towards building a strong and well-financed national government.  As Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton was the architect of a new financial system, establishing a national bank, issuing currency, and raising revenue.  In 1795, this Treasury Certificate was one of the first sources of revenue for the young country, and may be seen as the predecessor of the modern "T-Bill".  $1000 in 1795 was an enormous amount of money, and certificates of this value would have been purchased only by the wealthy and elite of the era.

The certificate measures approximately 7.25 inches by 13 inches and includes an embossed official seal of Robert Henry Dunkin, Notary Public for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  It also bears the hand written name of Joseph Nourse, the first Register of the Treasury of the United States.  The certificate was issued to "Arthur Cramond & Co. of London", and this would have been the company's copy of the registered loan to the United States Treasury. Research on the original certificate owner is as fascinating as the certificate itself. Arthur Cramond & Co. of London was a merchant firm operating in England that filed for bankruptcy in 1797, two years after the certificate was issued.  While Arthur Cramond remained in London, his brother William Cramond was a powerful American merchant, property surveyor and land speculator, acquiring huge tracts of land in Pennsylvania, and building for himself the first gothic-style mansion in Philadelphia (which remains today). Unfortunately, William Cramond likely could not enjoy his stunning new home for long, as he was bankrupt by 1806.

The survival of this early financial document likely stems from Cramond's failure to provide the certificate to creditors upon bankruptcy.  Today, it survives as a testament to the development of the United States financial system, and is likely the oldest known certificate from the Treasury of the United States. While auctioneer Steven Bromberg says "I hope the piece will be purchased or donated to a public museum" he also says that he suspects it may end up on display in a Wall Street office or in the hands of an advanced banknote collector. When asked about the expected hammer price, Bromberg says he has "no idea what the item will bring" but that it is one of the most interesting lots he has ever handled.  The historic certificate is being sold at auction without reserve.

The certificate is lot #2134 in the sale, to be held at the Hilton Toronto hotel June 26th to 28th, 2014. Bidders can view images and bid live through www.cdncoin.com and iCollector.com. 

Additional information and full PDF auction catalogues can be found at www.cdncoin.com.

Statements provided by:   

Steven Bromberg, Auctioneer, Canadian Legacy Sale; President Canadian Coin & Currency Corp.

(steven@cdncoin.com, 905-883-5300)

SOURCE: Canadian Coin & Currency Corp.

For further information:

Paula Marques, Auction Coordinator (paula@cdncoin.com, 905-883-5300 ext: 204)
Mariam Nader, Communications (mariam@cdncoin.com, 905-883-5300 ext: 281)

Profil de l'entreprise

Canadian Coin & Currency Corp.

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