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Rick Harrison’s Wild Retained Obstruction Error $1 FRN

By Brad Ciociola, Currency Specialist

Author: Brad Ciociola / Thursday, August 06, 2015 / Categories: Paper Money of the Week

One lot in our Stack’s Bowers Galleries Official Currency Auction of the ANA World’s Fair of Money stands out not only for its wild appearance but also for the famous pedigree that accompanies it.

“At first look I thought this was a fake, it just seemed impossible.” That was Rick Harrison’s first impression of the incredible retained obstruction error $1 Federal Reserve Note offered as lot #40237 in next week’s auction. Harrison is the well-known owner of the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas, Nevada, and the star of the History Channel’s hit reality series “Pawn Stars.” He consigned the incredible piece to Stack’s Bowers hoping that prospective bidders would be as wowed by incredible error as he was.

The seemingly impossible error is the most dramatic retained obstruction error we’ve ever seen -- a Fr. 1915-F Series 1988A $1 Federal Reserve Note with an approximately 50% obstruction of the face printing affecting the entire left side of the note as well as a diagonal portion up through the portrait at the center of the note. The obstructing item is what makes the error especially fantastic, as it is a fragment of a note, of corresponding size to the obstruction, and features all three stages of a print run. That’s right, the retained item which caused the obstruction on the face of the host note not only displays a face printing but also a printed back and overprint on the face.

While such an error is incredibly unlikely, seemingly impossible even, the circumstances of how it came to be can be explained. The obstructing fragment comes from a sheet prior to that of the host note. A misaligned first (back) printing on the fragment would indicate that a problem likely occurred when the sheet was fed into the printing press. Likely the misaligned sheet caused a jam when the sheet was flipped causing it to tear. Part of that torn sheet came back down onto the sheet of the host note which then went together through the second (face) and third (overprint) printings. They remained together for cutting and banding which allowed this astounding error to escape the production facility. It was eventually discovered and saved along with its corresponding bookend notes.

Notable error note specialist Frederick Bart confirmed the process which resulted in the error and described the obstruction piece as “one of the most exciting error discoveries of the decade.” Bart further pointed out that there is no equally impressive obstruction error to be found in his soon to be released 4th edition of United States Paper Money Errors.

The obstructed note and retained fragment have been graded Choice Uncirculated 64 by PMG while the corresponding bookend notes grade Choice Uncirculated 64 and Choice Uncirculated 63 EPQ.

Harrison’s Gold & Silver Pawn Shop is well known for buying and selling amazing collectible items in a variety of fields. As Harrison is known to say, “You never know what is gonna come through that door.” The next owner of this fantastic error piece will own not only an amazing note but an equally impressive back story of how it came through that famous Las Vegas pawn shop door. Lot #40237 of our ANA World’s Fair of Money Auction carries an estimate of $10,000 to $15,000.

The Stack’s Bowers Galleries Official Auctions of the ANA World’s Fair of Money will be held August 11-15, 2015, in Rosemont, Illinois. To view lots and bid visit www.stacksbowers.com. We are currently accepting consignments for our Official Auction of the Whitman Coin & Collectibles Winter Expo in November, as well as other auction events in 2016. To include your items in one of our upcoming auctions, contact a consignment director at 800-458-4646 or visit our website at StacksBowers.com. For currency related questions please contact Brad Ciociola at [email protected]


Tags: Error Note Pawn