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Everybody wins with National Bank Notes

One important reason the North won the American Civil War was it could borrow money on a gigantic scale.

One important reason the South lost was it could not do the same.

The creation of National Bank Notes in 1863 helped standardize the Northern borrowing machine, and it gave collectors something new and interesting to collect.

All a bank had to do was apply for a national banking charter. Then it would buy $25,000 in federal bonds.

It could then issue National Bank Notes in its own name. These notes were backed by the federal bonds.

Presto chango, the North had $25,000 and the bank could issue new notes in its own name, collecting interest both from the federal bonds and the loans of these notes to borrowers.

The system survived until 1935.

Thousands of banks issued notes.

Hobbyists now collect them by their home towns or home states.

Want to find out more?

The Higgins Museum National Bank Note Seminar has been scheduled for July 26 in Okoboji, Iowa.

Registration fee is $75 for the one-day event.

It is just $60 if you are a member of the sponsoring organizations, the Central States Numismatic Society, the Society of Paper Money Collectors, and the Professional Currency Dealers Association.

Send payment to Higgins Museum, 1507 Sanborn Avenue, P. O. Box 258, Okoboji, IA 51355.

The day will be organized into four presentations by national hobby figures. These will be announced at a later time.

Starting the day at 8 a.m. will be a continental breakfast. The first seminar commences at 8:45.

Those with extra time and a social nature are invited to come the day before to enjoy a welcome reception from 5 o’clock. to 6:30 July 25.

Okoboji is in the heart of Iowa’s summer recreational lake area, and there are numerous places to stay.

The Higgins Museum holds an impressive collection of Iowa National Bank Notes for attendees to look at, study and be inspired by.

For additional information, contact museum curator Larry Adams at 515-432-1931, or e-mail

Find out just how rewarding National Bank Notes can be. Make your plans to go now.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog for the third time in 2017 . He is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."

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