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Press Release - December 22, 2010

Bruyer Collection of U.S. Postal Notes offered for the first time in Heritage Tampa FUN Currency Auction

Jan. 6-10 event features outstanding collection of special notes of interest to both numismatic and philatelic collectors

DALLAS, TX – Heritage Auctions, the official auctioneer of the Florida United Numismatists (FUN) Show, will present a substantial number of selections from The Nicholas J. Bruyer Collection of U.S. Postal Notes as part of its Signature® Currency Auction, Jan. 6-10, in Tampa, FL.

“This outstanding collection will certainly be of great interest to specialists within both the numismatic and philatelic communities,” said Allen Mincho, Director of Heritage Currency Auctions. “The collection began when Bruyer inherited a Fourth Issue note from the small town of Oregon, Missouri from his grandmother.”

The family heirloom kindled Bruyer’s interest in postal notes, which, before his groundbreaking research, was a series that was virtually unknown to collectors within the numismatic community. His four part monograph on Postal Notes was published in Paper Money magazine, the official publication of the Society of Paper Money Collectors from 1973 through 1974. At the 1974 American Numismatic Association Convention Nick received the first author’s award presented by the SPMC for his pioneering articles on these long- neglected notes.

The articles were the first to point out the connection between the final printing of Fractional Currency in 1874-1876 and the first printing of Postal Notes in 1883. As the Fractional notes disappeared from circulation, it became apparent that a safe, efficient and inexpensive means of sending small amounts of cash through the mail was needed.

“If the postage stamp has been honored as the forefather of fractional paper,” concluded Nick in his writings, “then so must Fractional Currency be revered as the progenitor of the United States Postal Note… Stamps, Postage and Fractional Currency, and Postal Notes were all transmitted through the mails for the payment of small sums of money. All were for the general use of the people, all payable to bearer. Yet, when the histories of paper money were written, the Postal Note somehow became separated from its compatriots.”

Now, thanks to Bruyer’s research 40 years ago and a new generation of Postal Note collectors, that very conclusion has been undone. Postal Notes are now firmly ensconced with their Fractional compatriots as well established collectibles.

“The Nicholas J. Bruyer Collection of United States Postal Notes contains a plethora of unique items,” said Mincho, “many of which were unknown until this offering. The core of the collection was built by an individual named Gilbert Peakes in the 1950s, with Bruyer acquiring the Peakes holdings intact in 1971.

The Postal Notes in the collection were significant enough, with numerous Territorial and western examples, but Bruyer was particularly enthralled by the many proof, trial, specimen and essay pieces, each of which is almost certainly being offered to the collecting community for the first time in the Heritage FUN Currency Auction.

“It’s not a cliché in this case to say that it is an honor and a privilege to have the opportunity to offer this marvelous collection,” said Mincho, “an offering which is unlikely to ever be repeated.”

The collection will be offered during Session One of Heritage Auctions’ 2011 January Tampa FUN Signature Currency Auction #3512. The session begins at 6 p.m. Eastern, on Thursday, Jan. 6, 2011.

Heritage Auctions, headed by Steve Ivy, Jim Halperin and Greg Rohan, is the world’s third largest auction house, with annual sales more than $600 million, and 500,000+ online bidder members. For more information about Heritage Auctions, and to join and gain access to a complete record of prices realized, along with full-color, enlargeable photos of each lot, please visit

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