Flemington man bids $247,000 for $5 bill

November 8, 2012 by  

Jess Lipka, of Flemington, NJ, recently won an incredibly rare $5 bill from Heritage Auctions. Lipka ended up bidding nearly a quarter of a million dollars for the bill.

It was not just any $5 bill, though. It was one of only four notes of its kind. The bill was printed by the First National Bank of Fairbanks, Alaska in 1905 and is part of a series of bills known as Serial No. 1 red seals. Lipka has a collection of the rare bills in his Flemington home, and the Fairbanks $5 bill was one of the few missing from his collection.

The note was presented to then vice president Charles W. Fairbanks in 1905. It has been held by his family ever since. The great-grandson of VP Fairbanks, Charles Fairbanks IV, decided to put the bill up for auction. The starting bid for the note was $120,000. It was expected to go for between $200,000 and $300,000. The high value of the note was despite the fact that it was somewhat discolored due to being stored in a frame for many years.

Flemington stationery printers could help Lipka with his newly acquired bill. Printers could produce a certificate verifying the note’s authenticity. Lipka first heard about the $5 bill 20 years ago and is glad to have it in his possession, though he is not quite sure how he will pull together the funds for the hefty price tag just yet.

Although Lipka is a currency dealer, the Fairbanks bill is intended for his private collection. Proceeds from the auction will go to fixing up the historic Fairbanks home in Massachusetts.