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Rare Newnan Banknote To Be Auctioned

One of the oldest and rarest banknotes in Georgia history is up for auction this weekend.

On Saturday at 1 p.m., Manifest Auctions in Greenville, SC, will be auctioning the only known surviving $2 bill issued in Newnan.
“We are now pleased to offer what is unquestionably the greatest Georgia national banknote known to exist,” said Manning Garrett, owner of Manifest Auctions. “I think what is so important about this note is the fact that you can point to this as the absolute best note from the state of Georgia.”

This lazy deuce, as it is termed, is consigned by the son of the former owner. Before he brought in the note for appraisal, there was no knowledge the note even existed.

Between 1863 and 1935, national banks could issue money at their locations. Since 1936, money has been directly circulated by the Federal Reserve.

Only 12,600 $2 national banknotes were issued from Georgia banks. These banks included institutions in Americus, Athens, Atlanta, Griffin, and Newnan. Because many of these notes were to replace the worn out and redeemed notes already on the market, there were never more than a few hundred in public circulation at a time.

These lazy deuces were only issued between 1866 and 1878. This particular note was printed in 1871, making it more than 140 years old. Although the note has a tiny upper and left margin split, Garrett deemed it “in amazingly good condition for a note of its age and origination.”

William B. Berry, the signer of the note, was president of the First National Bank of Newnan from 1871 to 1893. His father, Andrew J. Berry, was one of Coweta County’s earliest settlers – living at Bullsboro, the town that was briefly the county’s first county seat before moving to Newnan.

A home built in the 1840s by Andrew Berry, who owned a large cotton plantation, was moved from its original location on Jefferson Street to Alpine Drive in 1974. David and Rosalyn Boyd, who moved the historic home, still live there.

Because the auction market has not been tested for a one-of-kind deuce like the one issued by the Newnan bank, the starting value is just a moderately conservative estimate of what similarly rare items should be worth if they were ever discovered and offered for sale in a public setting.

“There’s no set value on this piece because it is so rare. Nothing like it has been sold before,” Garrett said.

Bidding on the note will start at $30,000. The note is estimated to go for $60,000-$80,000, but Garrett said it could be over $100,000.

The auction is open to all interested buyers. Expected bidders for this particular note include rare currency dealers, collectors and – possibly – museums.

The entire auction includes more than 300 lots of rare and collectible currency. Bidding is available at the Manifest Auction headquarters at 361 Woodruff Road, Greenville, S.C., over the phone, or internationally via liveauctioneers.com.

“If you focus on the best of the best in national banknotes, Georgia paper money, or just Georgia history,” Garrett said, “then this is likely a once in a lifetime chance to acquire what was until today only a fantasy note."