By Steve Carr
This will be my final blog on collecting national bank notes. Something different will appear next week.
8) Collect forbidden titles. At one time in the 1860s, a bank could only have a number as its name. This soon changed and all kinds of titles appeared, By the Act of May 24, 1926, the words “United States,” “Federal,” or “Reserve” were forbidden in national bank titles. Those banks that already had these words in their title were grandfathered, allowing them to retain their title. These notes are popular with collectors
9) Collect by denomination. National bank notes were issued in $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100 (there is one known $500 note). Collect one denomination or collect one of each.
10) Collect by types of bank officer signatures. The early issues were pen signed and are considered quaint to collectors. These signatures were usually by the bank president and cashier. Occasionally, a vice president or an assistant cashier signed. Some of these signatures are in vivid colors or with a large, vanity signature. Signing notes became a burden for bank officers, so around the turn of the twentieth century, many bankers used rubber stamps for their signatures. An amendment to the National Bank Act on March 3, 1919, provided for the bank officer signatures to be printed on the notes. This type is the scarcest of the three.
11) Collect notes from the longest and shortest bank title. The longest is the “Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers Co-operative National Bank of Cleveland, Ohio.” This bank is charter #11862. The shortest is “National Bank of Topeka.” KS, charter #12740. Just two notes will complete this collection.
12) Collect Territorial notes. Many National Banks were chartered in areas that were not states. There were national banks in Alaska, Hawaii, and even Puerto Rico. When national banks were first chartered, Nebraska was still a territory. Territorial notes are very popular.
13 Collect notes from privately named banks. There are several such banks, but the best known is The National Bank of John A. Black, Bourbonville, KY, charter # 7284. The guy named the bank after himself!
14) Collect notes from resort towns. Notes are available from Reno, NV to Atlantic City, NJ. Pick your favorite town and collect!
15) Collect the different fonts on Series of 1929 notes. When this series was produced, different fonts were used for the bank titles. Try to find one of each different font.
16) Collect national gold bank notes. When nationals were first issued, they were unpopular in the west. Westerners preferred gold and silver, not paper that could not be converted directly into either. Nationals were convertible into United States Notes only. At times, a national was only worth about 80 cents in California. In 1870, Congress passed the National Gold Bank Act, which created this type of bank. The notes these banks issued was convertible directly into to gold. Quite a few national gold bank notes have survived, but most are in lower grades. These notes just got used. National Gold Bank notes are very popular with collectors.
The list goes on and on. Collecting nationals is limited only by your imagination. In my mind, the most esoteric way to collect these notes was done by Peter Huntoon, a national expert on nationals. Peter collected notes that had charter numbers that matched the series of note. He had a Series of 1875 note from charter # 1875, a Series of 1882 note from charter # 1882, and a Series of 1929 note from charter # 1929. Missing was the Series of 1902, which would have been issued by the First National Bank of Chetopa, KS, charter #1902. This bank, however, was liquidated in July os 1875, meaning no Series of 1902 notes would have been printed.