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paper money buyers stacks bowers galleries obsolete banknotes

Polar Air and Polar Bear Notes

By Brad Ciociola, Currency Specialist

Author: Brad Ciociola / Thursday, February 18, 2021 / Categories: Paper Money of the Week

Obsolete currency collectors are often drawn to notes with visually striking and dramatic vignettes. Notes from the Continental Bank of Boston have provided collectors with green and black printed remainders that feature bold vignettes and have been popularly collected for years. Our March Stack's Bowers Galleries currency auction features an uncut $1-$1-$2-$3 sheet of remainders from the Continental Bank graded Choice Uncirculated 64 by PMG.

As freezing artic air has swept across much of the country, the image found on the $3 Continental Bank note from this sheet seems particularly appropriate. Titled "The White Bear" the vignette by ABNC engraver F.O.C. Darley displays four men in a small boat about to be overturned by an attacking polar bear. The scene is one of the most recognizable in all of obsolete currency, if not American currency as a whole. The type is listed as No. 24 in 100 Greatest American Currency Notes by Dave Bowers and David Sundman. Sheets from the Continental Bank have become increasingly scarce in recent years as many have been cut into individual notes.

The sheet, offered as lot 3068 in our March auction, is estimated at $3,000-$5,000. The Stack's Bowers Galleries March auction is scheduled for March 24-26, 2021. For more information about the sale 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]