Private Bank Notes

Home
Up

A History & Catalog of Minnesota Obsolete Bank Notes & Scrip has detailed articles about this and other major categories of obsolete bank notes.  Order your copy here.

Private Bank Notes were the earliest form of paper money from Minnesota.  The first issue was a fraudulent yet beautifully engraved certificate, from the Bank of Saint Croix.  There was an attempt to pass them at St. Louis, which met with limited success.

Click on the image for a detailed view.

One of the first legitimate bankers to issue notes was the firm of Borup & Oakes of St. Paul.  While the notes were sound, competing bankers objected to the issue, leading to legislation that prohibited the issue of currency by any firm.

Click on the image for a detailed view.

The lack of a local currency for a growing economy meant that out-of-state bank notes were imported for circulation.  Many of these were spurious issues and had no real backing.  But ingenious local bankers filled a void for currency while circumventing prohibitions on issuing currency by endorsing the notes of certain out-of-state banks.  They were used to some extent in the 1856 to early 1858 time period.  The banking firm of Mackubin & Edgerton endorsed the notes of the Central Bank of Gray, Maine, which itself was an non-existent institution.  Note the red stamp "M. & E." below the serial number on the following note.  It also has an endorsement on the back that is signed by the firm.

Click on the image for a detailed view.

The advent of statehood brought about new laws for the establishment of banking system.  This gave bankers the means to put forth a legitimate circulation, and attempted to satisfy the needs of commerce.  With a rough start, bankers used official channels to issue currency, until the total lack of gold and silver in circulation induced hoarding during the Civil War caused them to act again.  Bankers, and others, issued notes in fractional denominations as a substitute for coin.  William H. Dike & Co. was one banker to issue scrip on his own account.

Click on the image for a detailed view.

Other bankers permitted local merchants to issue small-change notes.  D. B. Dorman of St. Anthony was one of several bankers who took on deposit funds from their merchant customers, and gave them small-change notes, which they could issue when making change for customer purchases.  The height of small-change notes occurred in late 1862, when the need was alleviated by Postage Currency that was issued by the federal government.  By 1863, the need for privately issued small-change notes was extinguished.

Click on the image for a detailed view.

The firm of Pierce, Simmons & Co. of Red Wing made one last attempt at circulating a private bank note, in 1868.  It is unknown whether any of these notes actually was released for circulation.

Click on the image for a detailed view.

 

Home | Obsoletes | Nationals | Book | Inventory | Dealers | Contact

 Copyright 2010 R. Shawn Hewitt.  Images may not be reproduced without permission.
For problems or questions regarding this web contact Shawn Hewitt.
Last updated: 02/22/10.