The 5 references of the American banknote
This 5 dollar bill was printed five times in 1869 (Pick: # 146), 1875 (Pick: # 159), 1878 (Pick: # 167), 1880 (Pick: # 178) and 1907 (Pick: # 186 ). The five banknotes show an identical front with, on the left, a portrait of Andrew Jackson, 7th President of the United States from 1829 to 1837, after a painting by Thomas Sully. The nickname “Woodshopper” generally attributed to the note is due to the central vignette on the front, engraved by Henry Gugler and featuring a pioneer family conquering the American West. A man, his wife and their baby are pictured in front of their cabin. On the right, a hunting dog is on the lookout. The man's left hand is resting on a splitting maul and not an ax, hence the second nickname sometimes attributed to the note of "Wood splitter".
The back of the note, in monochrome green, has a number "5" in the center on the back of the 5 dollars 1869 then an ornamental design on the backs of the issues from 1875 to 1907. It should be noted that the 1907 issue includes a large number of printing errors. The red seal is sometimes missing, there are problems with inverted thumbnails, as well as the famous PCBLIC error on the text on the back. But this error is so common that it hardly adds value to the market value of banknotes with this feature.
The above banknote (Pick: # 186 or Fr. 85), graded PCGS Sup Gem New 68 PPQ was sold for $ 11,700 at Stack's Bowers in 2019 (lot #4008).
The 10 signature combinations of the 5 dollars Type 1907
Notes from the last issue of 1907 are very common. Several tens of millions of copies have been issued and great finds are certainly still to come. The banknote sells on average between $ 70 (poor grade) and $ 700 for a banknote graded 64 to 65. For exceptional denominations, these prices may increase (see the PCGS 68 PPQ grade note presented above).
But what about the different signature combinations of this note? Do the 10 combinations show strong disparities? To find out, we performed a score on a sample of 3,901 copies (1) which we present in the following table:
|References (2)||Signature combinations||Number of notes||%|
|P-186-1 / Fr. 83||Vernon & Treat||122||3%|
|P-186-2 / Fr. 84||Vernon & McClung||100||3%|
|P-186-3 / Fr. 85||Napier & McClung||228||6%|
|P-186-4 / Fr. 86||Napier & Thompson||42||1%|
|P-186-5 / Fr. 87||Parker & Burke||237||6%|
|P-186-6 / Fr. 88||Teehee & Burke||419||11%|
|P-186-7 / Fr. 89||Elliott & Burke||80||2%|
|P-186-8 / Fr. 90||Elliott & White||163||4%|
|P-186-9 / Fr. 91||Speelman & White||2378||61%|
|P-186-10 / Fr. 92||Woods & White||132||3%|
The big surprise concerns the combination of signatures "Speelman & White" which alone totals 61% of banknotes sold! It is the tree that hides the forest ... from our woodshopper! The total of the other combinations is almost ridiculous with all the same an obvious rarity concerning the combination of signatures "Napier & Thompson" which totals only 42 copies. But this highlighted rarity, whether it is already known or unknown to American collectors, does not (yet) seem to add value to the prices achieved by this “Napier & Thompson” combination!
We also note that the grading of this $ 5 note is systematically applied in the United States: out of the 100 sales recorded at Stack's Bowers, almost all of the notes are graded PMG or PCGS while for the 34 banknotes recorded by European professionals, none is graded and all copies sold (except one) bear the most common type of signature "Speelman & White".
The 10 signature combinations in pictures
(1) The distribution of the score is made up of 3,767 copies from Heritage Auctions history sales i.e. 97% and the remaining 3% by 100 copies from Stack's Bowers history sales and 34 copies taken from European professionals history sales (cgb.fr, Sincona, Auktionshaus Christoph Gärtner, etc.).
(2) Catalog references: P = Pick, Fr. = Friedberg.