When they put "Proof" in quotation marks on an obsolete's slab
I purchased this note at auction recently and some of you obsolete experts will notice an issue right off the bat.
Here’s the auction listing:
“Providence, RI- Roger Williams Bank $3 18__ UNL Proof / Proprietary Proof ? PMG Choice About Unc 58 EPQ.
"The bank was incorporated in 1803 and, thanks to the political standing of all of its Board of Directors members, served as the depository for federal funds from 1803 to 1817. The bank remained in business until 1865 when it was succeeded by the Roger Williams National Bank. The design incorporates a nicely framed vignette of a milkmaid that is flanked by end panels each containing vignettes of allegorical figures (Liberty at left and Prosperity at right), eagles, and Native Americans. A very small vignette of the state seal appears at bottom center. The note is apparently printed on India paper mounted on cardstock with no forms of cancellation present in the signature lines. Sixteen years ago this was described as a Special (Proprietary) Proof but PMG has subsequently identified it as an original period proof. To support this claim, one example did, in fact, appear in Lot 1827 of the 1990 ABNCo Archives sale. Because the note is in a holder it is impossible to make a detailed inspection and so we will go with the grading service attribution for now. The design is unlisted in both Haxby and Durand and seems to be decidedly rare in any case.”
So is it a proof or proprietary proof?
I bought it assuming it’s a proprietary because the price wasn’t too bad and it’s rare, maybe unique. I’ve learned so much from the many great discussions of forum members and it was interesting digging into this one.
For instance, I have another Roger Williams obsolete that I assume is a contemporary proof and was able to compare vignettes on the two.
Late 1830s-50s Proof. Durand 1900, Haxby RI-420 G6
On the left is a close-up of the $3, and on the right the $1 using the same scanner with the same settings. Much less sharp and the black of the ink is not nearly as vibrant!
And here’s the back, with its red (and not purple) “Property of American Bank Note Co.” stamp.
So did grading company and auction house get this one wrong? Any other differences you can spot that would make this either proprietary or contemporary?