Fr 1382 Gray Fractional currency Shield - Fine - Extremely Rare
Fractional currency shields are one of the most sought out collectibles in the numismatic world. In fact, fractional currency shields currently rank 14th on the list of 100 Greatest American Currency Notes written by Q. David Bowers and David Sundman. They are the most displayable of all currency collectibles and come with immediate bragging rights to the owner. Every collector remembers the first time they saw a currency shield in person; be it at a coin shop, coin show, national auction, museum, or you might have been just lucky enough to know someone who owns one.
There are 3 types known to exist; green, pink, and gray; with the gray being the “most common”, if you can call them common at all. The pink shields are actually red but the lines are so thin that when displayed against the white background, they appear to be pink. The same is identified on the gray shields, that are really black but, again, the lines are so thin and against the background they appear gray. The green and pink shields are commonly thought to be test proofs of concept; which account for the increased number of hand signed notes, of particular importance are the Fr1273 Grant Sherman notes that are only found on these shields. There are about 12 green, 20 pink, and 200-400 gray fractional currency shields known to exist and they are highly coveted by collectors and dealers alike with most being sold in public auctions.
These gray fractional currency shields were originally produced for banks so they could keep up with the rapid expansion in fractional currency releases. These shields were made up of 39 one-side specimens that were glued to the boards and sold for $4.50. The majority of shields display some degree of water damage due to a flood in the Currency Bureau, the early predecessor to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, as well as improper storage after their usefulness outlived with new issues of currency being released. This would make a fantastic display piece and would certainly become the center piece of any currency collection. There is just something captivating about a government produced display of currency.
Size 20 5/8 x 24 5/8