Collectors are set to descend on the HAAC tomorrow night for the chance to bid on a rare error-free $100 note that was thought to exist only in the dreams of numismatists. The note, issued in 2011 by the Flubug Merchant’s Association and financed in part by the Water Buffalos, is said to be the only legible bill that made it through the printing process. Every known note from this series is riddled with errors. Many were so badly smeared during the printing process the resulting bills came to be known as “smudgebucks.” Those that made it through the printing process were defaced beyond recognition with snide remarks, drug-related messages and utter contempt for our beloved Flublue.
Much of the problem stemmed from the ink. Instead of the traditional quick drying ink used in most mints, Merchant Association employees were given oil paints by the Water Buffalos. The resulting mess left fingerprints and ink smudges on nearly all the bills and doomed the project from the start.
Another problem were the presses themselves which would shift at the slightest touch. This, coupled with the fact that many of the employees were disabled, resulted in double strike errors in nearly all bills. Eventually a system was devised to run the bill through twice, but it was abandoned when it proved to do nothing more than compound the errors.
Over eight hundred bills were printed. Yet few made it into circulation. The reasons are varied, but most point to the fact that they were only printed in a $100 denomination, a product of overly zealous merchants. At the time, as now, $100 was beyond the reach of most Flubuggers. As such, the bills sat in merchant’s cash drawers until 2013 when they were distributed as unredeemable curiosities.
During the period of circulation, the bills were widely defaced. Some were used to wrap drugs. Others were used to making derogatory complaints. Many of the bills dropped out of circulation by 2014. In the winter of 2014 a rumor began suggesting the bills might be collectible. Those that survived were snapped up by hoarders.
The bill up for auction tomorrow night, at the HAAC’s yearly Coins N Currency Show, is expected to draw collectors from all over Down County. Some will come to see what the bill should have looked like. Others will come to bid. One lucky Flubugger will go home with the note, and a unique piece of Flubug history.
Catch ya at the HAAC!