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It's money, and nothing but money, that matters at fair in Boston

Shown here is a sheet of  $100,000 gold certificate bills on  display at the World’s Fair of Money in Boston. Introduced in 1934, they are the largest ever issued by the federal government. They were used for  federal bank transfers.

Associated Press

Shown here is a sheet of $100,000 gold certificate bills on display at the World’s Fair of Money in Boston. Introduced in 1934, they are the largest ever issued by the federal government. They were used for federal bank transfers.

In an economic downturn, it might be tough to get your head around this: rare sheets of $100,000 bills; fabulous gold treasures dating back to the California Gold Rush era; rare coins, including those tied to the first stirrings for America's independence; and federal government securities worth more than a billion dollars.

That's the backdrop of the country's premier money show, the World's Fair of Money, which has brought about 1,000 coin dealers and hundreds of collectors to Boston. The fair, which ends Saturday, features seldom-seen gold treasures brought from the Smithsonian Institution's vaults, including America's first $20 gold coin — valued by independent experts at $15 million today — and its last $20 coin.

It also includes sheets of America's largest denomination currency, the $100,000 bill, which is said to be worth about $1.6 million today. The gold certificate note, which bears President Woodrow Wilson's portrait, was used only for official transactions between Federal Reserve Banks. It was not circulated among the public and cannot be legally held by currency note collectors.

"The reaction from kids to grandparents is universally the same: 'Wow, that's a lot of money.' So, they wouldn't mind having it," Kevin Brown, manager in the marketing division of the U.S. Treasury Department's Bureau of Engraving and Printing, said while holding the $100,000 bills. "People like to see money."

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It's money, and nothing but money, that matters at fair in Boston 08/12/10 [Last modified: Friday, October 28, 2011 2:38pm]

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