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NOVEMBER 26, 2001


A Unique $5 National note from the 1880s Wild West days of pre-statehood
Wyoming has come to light.  It is the only known surviving Territory of Wyoming bank note from the First National Bank of Douglas, Charter #3556, and only the second known "brown back" Wyoming territorial note.

Dated September 13, 1886, the same year early railroad town Douglas, Wyoming
was founded, the note bears serial number "1."  One of the two handwritten
authorization signatures is the bank's first president, DeForest Richards, who later served as the state's governor (1899 -1903).  The other signature is the bank's first cashier, J.W. Forster.

The bank note was handed down through four generations of an early Hollywood
actor's family.  Well-known coin collector and sports agent Dwight Manley,
managing partner of the California Gold Marketing Group of Newport Beach,
California ( said he purchased it "for ten thousand
times its $5 face value - $50,000."  

Manley acquired it from the great-granddaughter of the note's first known
owner, George Montgomery "Monte" Blue (1890 - 1963), a veteran actor who
appeared in nearly 250 films and Westerns beginning in 1915 with the silent
screen classic, "Birth of a Nation."  It is not known when Blue obtained the
"I've always been intrigued by the Gold Rush era and the Old West.  This $5 bill has so much Old West history to tell us.  It is serial number one, it was previously unknown, and it has a fascinating pedigree," said Manley.

The note is described as "XF" condition.  It will be displayed in public for the first time at the Collectors Universe booth during the Florida United Numismatists Convention in Orlando, Florida, January 10 - 13, 2002.

Federal banking records indicate the First National Bank of Douglas issued 3,820 pieces of paper money in denominations of $5, $10 and $20 prior to Wyoming becoming a state in 1890; however, this is the only known surviving example.

The portrait on the unique 1896 note is U.S. President James A. Garfield who
was assassinated five years earlier.  The bank's charter number, 3556, is printed in brown ink on the front, and prominently displayed on the back with a predominantly brown ink background.

"It's a major discovery.  Before this, only 13 other Wyoming territory notes were known to exist, and they came from Laramie, Cheyenne and Rawlins.  And, this is only the second known Wyoming territorial brown back," said paper money researcher Lyn Knight of Lyn Knight Currency Auctions, a division of publicly-held Collectors Universe (NASDAQ: CLCT).

"Including the 3,820 notes issued by the First National Bank of Douglas prior to statehood, various Territory of Wyoming banks issued a combined total of 97,848 pieces of paper money.  Today, only 14 of those bank notes are known to exist.  That's a tiny survival rate of roughly one out of every 7,000 that went into circulation," Knight emphasized.

According to Noni Crain of the Wyoming Pioneer Memorial Museum, Douglas was
an Old West era "tent town" founded in 1886 when tracks were laid there for the Fremont, Elkhorn and Missouri Valley Railroad.  The town was named after Illinois Senator and presidential candidate Stephen A. Douglas (1813-1861).

Douglas also is home of the "Jackalope," a fictional creature with antelope antlers protruding from a jackrabbit's head.  A local taxidermist created it in 1934.

The First National Bank of Douglas opened in 1886 and closed in 1923.

This is not the first major numismatic purchase by Manley.  The California Gold Marketing Group paid nearly $2 million in March for a 1913 Liberty Head nickel, one of only five known.  Two years ago, they acquired more than $100 million worth of California Gold Rush era sunken treasure recovered from the S.S. Central America, the fabled "Ship of Gold" that sank in 1857.

A coin collector since the age of six, Manley is president of United Sports Agency and the agent for Karl Malone and a half dozen other NBA players.

For additional information, contact the California Gold Marketing Group at
(949) 719-1970 or by e-mail at

Media contacts:
Dwight Manley, California Gold Marketing Group, (949) 719-1970
Lyn F. Knight, Collectors Universe, (913) 338-3779
Noni Crain, Wyoming Pioneer Memorial Museum,  (307) 358-9288


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