Honea Path, SC - Ch. 12381 - 1902 $20 Plain Back
Honea Path is a small town in rural upstate South Carolina. It had a single national bank that was not chartered until 1922. The bank was founded by Benjamin D. Riegel, the same man who owned many of the textile mills in Honea Path and the surrounding areas. George Carroll Swetenburg was the cashier and only in his 20s when he started to manage the bank. The bank itself was basically just an extension of Riegel's textile operation The bank likely issued such a small amount of currency because its main interests were likely not in traditional day-to-day banking activities. Large size notes from Honea Path were unknown until the 1990s when a lone survivor showed up. In 2000 Sotheby's auctioned a small cache of notes from the Riegel estate that had never previously been known by collectors. About a dozen blue seals were discovered and most sold for around $4,000 a piece, which was a huge amount of money for what was essentially now a relatively common note. The highlight of the trove was this serial #1 $20 blue seal. It sold for $8,250, which was a great bargain compared to what non-number notes were bringing. In fact, that 2000 auction marks the last time that a #1 blue seal from South Carolina was available. And it doesn't seem likely that any more #1 notes from Honea Path will be found. This $20, while completely problem free, appears to have entered circulation and been saved later. It is safe to assume that if the prominent Riegel family sold this, that they sold everything. The cashier, GC Swetenburg committed suicide in October or 1929, and the bank closed six months later in April of 1930. The estimate here is in line with what great South Carolina notes have been trading for privately over the past decade. So few palmetto state trophy notes make it to auction. This is a chance to add a significant piece.
Date Sold: Sat, Feb 28, 2015
Realized Price: $14040