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“Baby Watermelon” 1890 $100 Treasury Note from the Karelian Collection

“Baby Watermelon” 1890 $100 Treasury Note from the Karelian Collection

By Brad Ciociola, Currency Specialist

Author: Brad Ciociola / Wednesday, January 20, 2021 / Categories: Paper Money of the Week

​The Stack’s Bowers Galleries March U.S. Currency Auction will feature selections from the Karelian Collection, including a Fr.377 1890 $100 Treasury Note. It is popularly known as the “Watermelon Note” or “Baby Watermelon” (as opposed to its $1000 “Grand Watermelon” counterpart) due to the distinctive large zeros found on the back of the note that bear an unmistakable resemblance to the fruit. The face portrays Admiral David Farragut at right with a large 100 counter just left of center. Engraved signatures of Treasury officers Rosecrans and Huston are seen along the bottom border. A large brown spiked Treasury Seal is near the center. See our preview of the Karelian Collection at StacksBowers.com.

Watermelon notes are represented by just one catalog number, of which 120,000 were printed and issued. Today only 35 examples are known, and of those at least seven are in government or institutional collections, essentially unavailable to collectors. The 1890 $100 Treasury Notes were replaced by the Series of 1891 notes which featured an "Open Back" design thought to deter counterfeiters. Both notes are highly sought after by collectors.

The Karelian Fr.377 note is graded Choice Extremely Fine 45 by PCGS Banknote. It carries an estimate of $200,000-$300,000. The Stack’s Bowers Galleries March auction is scheduled for March 24-26, 2021. For more information about the auction or to consign to a future auction event contact Director of Currency Peter Treglia at [email protected] or Currency Specialist Brad Ciociola at [email protected]