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Reader's Showcase MN Starbuck

by Peter Huntoon

Mark Drengson submitted this spectacular serial 1-A 1902DB from Starbuck, Minnesota. Notes from this small bank are overrepresented thanks to the Ella Overby hoard discovered in 1970 in Glenwood, Minn.

The hoard was loaded with some 140 or more high-grade Starbuck notes from the bank, which was located across Lake Minnewaska from Glenwood, but this number 1 note was not among them. Instead, this jewel came down through the family of George W. Hughes, who signed as cashier.


Hughes wrote a memoir that came with the note that included this fabulous quote: I was very much elated at the thought of signing my name on money that would go all over the U.S. The $5 bill, Serial No. 1, I put in my safety box and have never taken it out except to look at it. Hughes became president of the bank in 1915 upon buying out president Harold Thorson.

Mark Drengson has devoted years to setting up the recently activated Banks & Bankers Database and Bank Note History Wiki websites, which constitute the foundation for the Society of Paper Money Collectors Bank Note History Project. The Banks & Bankers Database lists key historical data for all 14,348 national banks that were chartered between 1863 and 1935, along with all the presidents and cashiers from the Comptroller of the Currency reports from 1867-1935 as well as other possible bank note signers from bank directories and other sources.

Similar data are available for many Obsolete banks from the 1782-1866 era. The Bank Note History Wiki is a crowd-sourced searchable website similar to Wikipedia devoted to bank histories and banker biographies. The project invites submissions, updates, and corrections from our community to flesh out the information that is available. These websites are invaluable resources for all of you, so log on to acquaint yourself with them and start digging. The project home page is

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