Skip to main content

None can top First National Bank of Rico

By Peter Huntoon

The First National Bank of Rico, Colo., was a minimally capitalized bank with a circulation of $11,250 that consumed 471 sheets of 10-10-10-20 brown backs between the short time it was organized in 1890 and liquidated in 1895 to become the Bank of Rico.

Certified Proof. Bureau of Engraving and Printing. NU*297219.

Certified Proof. Bureau of Engraving and Printing. NU*297219.

Rico is a remote boom-bust silver-mining town founded in 1879 along the east fork of the Dolores River in southwestern Colorado. It is located on State Highway 145 between Telluride and Cortez on the west slope of the Rocky Mountains. West slope means that the area drains to the Colorado River.

The population peaked at 5,000 in 1892, which supported 23 saloons and a three-block red light district. Rico was served by a railroad during the boom, but it is long gone. About 260 people live there now.

Of the early short-lived banks organized on the west slope, I am of the opinion that none can top this one for desirability. One high-grade $10 is known to have survived from it, which is amazing.

This article was originally printed in Bank Note Reporter. >> Subscribe today.

More Collecting Resources

• The Standard Catalog of United States Paper Money is the only annual guide that provides complete coverage of U.S. currency with today’s market prices.

• When it comes to specialized world paper money issues, nothing can top the Standard Catalog of World Paper Money, Specialized Issues .