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Topic Title: Different values of American Bank Note Co. reprints? Topic Summary: Created On: 3/12/2010 7:21 PM Status Post and Reply 
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3/12/2010 7:21 PM


I'm wondering if someone here can shed some light on the American Bank Note company and reprints... Some reprints seem to trade for high values, while others sell on eBay for $5 to $20. For instance, take the Liberty Bank of Providence, RI. In the Oct 31, 2007 Schingoethe sale, lot 3486 was a "Liberty Bank Proprietary Modern Proof trio" that sold for $500. Here on eBay there are 1979 ABNC $2 Proof Prints selling for $15.99. Are all these reprints the same? Is there a difference between a "Proprietary Modern Proof" and a reprint? Or is that $500 price just an aberration? I've seen modern reprints with the "Property of ABNCO" stamped on the back. Does the stamp raise the value or is the note ultimately the same as the $15 eBay notes?
A "proprietary modern proof": An intaglio souvenir card from a 1979 SPMC convention (could some eBay examples just be cutouts of these?): The back has this: And here's an original 1860 circulated note:  My website: RICurrency.com 



3/12/2010 10:49 PM


The major difference in cost of Proprietary proofs versus Reprints tends to be due to the difference in the number printed. Reprints, whether souvenir cards or ABNC archive series notes were printed in editions of hundreds to thousands. Thus their prices tend to be in the 10's of dollars, although some dealers of course want to make a killing on these by cutting them out of the cards and even slabbing them. The proprietary proofs were typically (but not always) printed in relatively small numbers  on the order of a handful or so. Many of the proprietary proofs were printed in anticipation for printing larger numbers, e. g. for souvenir cards. Quite a few of the proprietary proofs are the only examples known of some obsoletes. Thus sometimes they realize prices comparable to (or even more than) real proofs.
In order to distinguish real proofs from proprietary proofs and from reprints, one just needs to educate oneself. I am collecting data on these for a potential paper. However, the job is so large and complicated that I might give up. There are ways to tell some proprietary proofs from real ones. However the differences are subtle and not universal. Below are two slides that illustrate my point with respect to a very dangerous pair of real versus proprietary. Note that the presence or absence of the POCâ€™s and the ABNC on the back is not a foolproof and universal indicator of being real or proprietary. In this case the microprinting below one of the vignettes is the best indicator. That is, the original microprinting on the original ABNC plate was removed to print the proprietary proofs. Thus it seems that the ABNC might have done something like this to distinguish the modern proprietary proofs from the real contemporary ones. I am working on it.  Bernie 



3/12/2010 11:08 PM


Oh, by the way, many modern proprietary proofs have overprints or tints in different colors than the originals. Many of these modern tints tend to be bright and garish, e. g. purple, strange green, etc.
 Bernie 



3/13/2010 7:06 AM


This is probably "off topic", but I was wondering if anyone knows when the American Bank Note Company was printing these "Speciman" notes. They are dated 1929, but the security strip gives it away as a more modern note. 



3/13/2010 7:47 AM


I think these were printed back around 1985 as I recollect. I notice alot of sellers advertise these as being printed in 1929 which is incorrect. Very nice high grade specimen you have there Steve!




3/13/2010 1:14 PM


Bernie, thank you very much for the response. I hope you finish the paper. PostSchingoethe, with all the colorful proofs on the market and prices strong, I think us obsolete collectors would really benefit by having this issue clarified. I have a bunch of questions and I realize that you (and others) may not be able to answer them all, but I want to throw them out there:
1) What kind of paper are the colorful modern proprietary proofs printed on? Are they any of them india or are they all card stock? 2) Were all the proofs in the Christie's sale stamped on the back? 3) Is it correct to assume that souvenir cards mostly date from the 1970s to the 1990s? 4) Do you know when the proprietary proofs were printed and why? I emailed Dr. Robert Schwartz of Archives International with a question related to this recently and he told me that there was one lot of reprints from the Christie's sale that included, "probably 500 to 1000 items (sheets counted as a single piece) in the lot. There were earlier proofs included, but most were probably from the 1940's to 1980's." It sold for $21,000. So I wonder if they were printing these in the 40s for sale (meaning there could be many out there) or for company purposes. 5) Have you seen examples of modern proprietary proofs with the ABNCo stamp on the back? I'm curious to know if these might be examples of the "proprietary proofs [that] were printed in anticipation for printing larger numbers" that you mentioned. 6) Is there a way to find out which modern proprietary proofs were printed in large numbers? The seller of the $2 reprint on eBay I mentioned above has this interesting bit of information: "This print is made with the original steel engraved plate from the archives of ABNC. The print is in superb proof condition. While 20,000 of these prints were made, only 5122 were sold in 1979 and the remaining 14,878 were destroyed." 7) Does PCGS distinguish between proofs and proprietary proofs on their slabs like your PMG example above? 8) How much of a difference in value do you think there is between the two notes you have above? 9) Are there original proofs from ABNCo that don't have microprinting? For example, this note is india paper with punch cancels, but I can't find the micro printing and I wonder if it's a modern propriety: Same bank, similar style but printed by Draper, Toppan & Co. (and no micro): and back: This same note has punch cancels, microprinting but no stamp: As you can tell, I have a bit invested in this question!  My website: RICurrency.com 



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