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Rare $5 Alaska bill sells for $247,000 at auction

Craig MedredAlaska Dispatch

A century-old $5 Alaska bill -- one of only four of its kind -- sold for $247,000 at Dallas-based Heritage Auctions last week, Mercury News reports.

The bill was gifted to Vice President Charles W. Fairbanks in 1905 from the First National Bank of Fairbanks, Alaska. It had stayed in the family as a treasured heirloom ever since, being displayed in the home of grandson Charles Fairbanks IV in Santa Barbara, Calif. But as the note’s value skyrocketed in recent years, Fairbanks became uneasy about keeping it hanging on the wall, the Associated Press reports. Fairbanks moved it to a safety-deposit box, but figured the stress of hanging on to the valuable item wasn’t worth it. So he decided to sell.

Heritage Auction’s director of currency auctions, Dustin Johnston, called the bill a “wonderful, wonderful find.” The bill sports an image of President Benjamin Harrison, and Johnston notes that the condition of the bill is in “the top five of what I’ve handled.”

Officials expected the bill to sell for between $200,000 and $300,000, and their estimates were right on the money. The bill’s new owners have not been named, with Johnston saying only that they live in the continental U.S.

One of the other four notes is kept in storage at the University of Alaska Museum of the North in Fairbanks, and that bill is in pristine condition, Angela Linn told the Associated Press.

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