World Banknote Auctions has now launched Live Sale 30 at www.worldbanknoteauctions.com. Live Sale 30 starts on August 25, 2022, with live bidding that day at 1 PM Eastern / 10 AM Pacific. Please note that Sale 30 is divided in two parts, each selling on a different day. The first live sale with 547 lots takes place on August 25 at 10 AM PST. The second timed sale with 471 lots starts to close on August 28 at 3 PM PST (special bidding rules apply for the timed sale, please see our website for details). Our bidding platform can be accessed directly by going to bid.worldbanknoteauctions.
One of the most interesting and unique items in the sale is a presentation book of vignettes produced by the American Banknote Company, most likely sometime in the late 1860s or 1870s. The book, offered as lot 30004 in the sale, contains 74 individual vignettes, many which appear on banknotes from the United States, Canada and South America. The book has the name Joseph Lesley on the front cover, and appears to have been presented to him. Intact books such as this are extremely rare, and we are aware of just a few intact books that have sold publicly in the past three decades. The book was carefully produced, with gilded edges, and while it does display some wear (as would be expected from a book of this age) it is completely intact and no individual plates appear to be missing.
A fascinating page appears early in the book, and is a full page engraving containing the portrait of Czar Alexander II of Russia, flanked by U.S. Presidents Lincoln and Grant. This engraving, which is quite rare by itself, appears to have been produced after Alexander II freed the Serfs in Russia in 1861 and after, according to some historians, the Czar aided the Union during the American Civil War by sending Russian ships into American waters in the same year. While some historians dispute the role Alexander II played in the conflict, the fact that he appears on this engraving fairly shortly after both those events indicates that he did gain some notoriety in the United States at the time.
The book contains vignettes with a wide range of topics, including allegories, natural scenes and historical figures. There is no particular order to the vignettes, and with each page being turned there is a new scene or figure to be discovered. All engravings are typical of the high quality product that the American Banknote Company was able to produce at the time that this book was made.
World Banknote Auctions has created a page on its website where all pages of the book have been photographed, giving bidders a rare look at the entire book and all the vignettes. Additionally many banknotes on which these vignettes appear have been identified, highlighting the diversity of the book, as many different issuers and locales can be found. In all, this book represents a fascinating and rare opportunity to acquire a completely intact copy of an ABNC presentation book from the 19th century.