With only a dozen exceptions, all the paper items in a Florida collector’s home safe were destroyed or damaged by intense heat during a house fire. The only papers that survived unscathed were 12 bank notes inside PCGS Currency holders, including two 1907 $10 Gold Certificates.
"There were eleven large size and one small size PCGS Currency-certified notes recovered from the fire earlier this year. The holders were sooty and some had blisters and discoloration on their surface, but the notes inside all survived without damage," said Laura A. Kessler, Vice President of PCGS Currency, a division of Collectors Universe, Inc. (NASDAQ: CLCT).
All other paper items in the five-foot tall gun safe at the anonymous collector’s central Florida home were destroyed or damaged from the extreme heat, including family documents, photographs and bank notes not housed in PCGS Currency holders. Hundreds of encapsulated coins survived the fire, although their holders partially melted and were deformed.
"The house had a metal roof and was built on stilts that collapsed during the fire. The safe had a one-hour rating, but it took about four hours until the fire was put out. The Fire Department said the metal roof made it like an oven (under the collapsed building)," the collector said.
"When he submitted the notes he asked us to re-holder them, but at first glance I thought there’d be a change in grades because of the apparent damage to the outside of the holders. I didn’t know what we’d find when we carefully removed the notes from the holders, but they all survived with no damage. It was fantastic," said Kessler.
"The top-grade materials that are used for our holders undoubtedly saved the notes. They’re made from DuPont Mylar-D®, the safest and best archival material for long-term storage of bank notes. This material is the same used by the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. for storage of important historical documents. It has a higher melting temperature, and thus is safer than other currency holders in the marketplace."
The 11 surviving large-size notes now in new PCGS Currency holders are:
1896 $1 Silver Certificate (Fr. 225), graded Fine 12.
1907 $5 Legal Tender (Fr. 19), Very Fine 30.
1917 $1 Legal Tender (Fr. 37), Very Fine 20.
1917 $1 Legal Tender (Fr. 39), Very Fine 30 PPQ.
1899 "Black Eagle" $1 Silver Certificate (Fr. 226A), Extremely Fine 40 PPQ.
1899 $1 Silver Certificate (Fr. 236), Very Fine 35 and a second example graded Very Fine 30.
1899 $5 Silver Certificate (Fr. 277), Very Good 10.
1918 $1 Federal Reserve (Fr. 713), Very Fine 25.
1907 $10 Gold Certificate (Fr. 1171), Very Fine 20, and a second note graded Very Fine 35 PPQ.
A twelfth PCGS-certified note also survived the fire without damage, a Series 2003 $1 star note (Fr. 1929-F), graded Gem New 65 PPQ, that the collector obtained free when he joined the PCGS Currency Collectors Club.
For additional information about PCGS Currency, call (949) 567-1157 or visit online at www.PCGSCurrency.com.
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