Tony Swicer Explains How He Started Collecting Kentucky Bank Notes

October 26th, 2009

Tony Swicer is the president of the Palm Beach Coin Club, the vice president of Florida United Numismatists (FUN), and an avid collector of Kentucky bank notes. In this interview, he discusses the history of the regional banking system of the 19th and 20th centuries, the thrill of collecting his home-state notes, and the advantages of collecting currency over coins. Tony can be reached via FUN.

I started collecting when I was about 10 years old. My father was in the Air Force, so he got me started collecting everything—coins, stamps, military insignias, baseball cards, all kinds of stuff. I settled on coins, maybe because they’re worth the most money. I don’t know why particularly, but I just did. I collected coins from probably 1959 to the late ’70s when I sold my collection. I collected dollar-size metals for 10 years, and I sold that collection in about 1990.

1882 series Louisville, KY  Superb Gem Uncirculated

An 1882 series $5 note from Louisville, Kentucky. Grade: Superb Gem Uncirculated.

Then I floundered around for several years, not knowing what I wanted to collect. But I was still in the coin business, buying and selling, when it hit me: Why not collect my home-state notes? They’re very rare, and in the long run they’d probably appreciate.

The bank notes I collect date from 1863 through 1935. I bought the Don C. Kelly book, and it told me about all the banks, the number of known notes for each bank, and the pricing. Basically, you have to go out and buy them. You can’t find them anymore because the federal government recalled them all in 1935, and most of them have been turned in. There are about 600,000 known notes of all types in the United States, from every state.

When you consider that there were 12,635 chartered banks, 600,000 is not a lot of notes. That’s just fifty per bank on average. That’s how rare they are.

“For a while, California had its own nationals, what they called gold bank notes.”

I started collecting notes from Kentucky because it was my home state. It’s a thrill to get a note with the name of your city on it, too. When I acquired a bank note from my hometown bank that sold me a car, that was really exciting. Right now I’ve got about 15 notes from my hometown. The last note I bought was the only one if its kind known—an 1875 large-size note—and I thought if I don’t buy it now I’ll never see it again in my lifetime, so I bought it for $3,000. It was a bargain.

After I started collecting, I visited most of these towns. A lot of times the banks are long gone, but you can visualize in your mind what the place looked like.

I started buying bank notes at local coin shows, then bigger shows, and then I started buying them at national auctions because they were more plentiful. I bought 15 in one auction out in Beverly Hills a couple years ago.

I’ve been doing this for six years and I have about 215 different bank notes from Kentucky. It’s the thrill of the hunt that excites me. I hope to get over 400 before I’m done, maybe in another 10 years, if I’m lucky, and then maybe I’ll put them all up at auction.

Collectors Weekly: What are some of the shows you attend?

Swicer: I went to the ANA show in Los Angeles in 2009. I go to the FUN Convention every year in Orlando because it’s only two-and-a-half hours away. And I’ve been to the Cincinnati show. I used to do the national circuit in the 1980s, but I’ve cut way back with the recession and everything.

1875 series Newport, KY My hometown note. This is the only $5 note known on this bank.

This 1875 series note from Newport, Kentucky is the only known $5 note from this bank.

These days, I mainly get my notes from national auction companies like Heritage, Stack’s, and Goldberg’s. I just go online and bid.

I bought those 15 Kentucky notes I mentioned at a Goldberg auction in Beverly Hills, online. And that’s how I’ve been acquiring them, just one here, one there. If I get one or two a month, I’m happy. Even locally I’ve picked up a couple of rarities, like a serial number one from Owensboro, Kentucky down at the Fort Lauderdale monthly coin show. It’s just incredible to find a serial number one. I snatched that up right away.

As I said, the average number of notes is fifty per bank, so they’re very rare. They made 5-dollar bills, tens, and twenties. Some of the bigger banks made fifties and hundreds. There are hoards that come out periodically. In Lexington, Kentucky, one bank had about 500 preserved notes, and I got some those in choice uncirculated condition.

Collectors Weekly: Do people collect by state?

Swicer: Yes. Even a lot of dealers collect by state. For example, Littleton Coin Company up in New Hampshire is mainly a mail-order company that’s been around since 1946. Littleton’s owner collects New Hampshire—he’s got about 250 different bank notes from the state. A lot of people also collect by condition. But most people, I believe, collect by state.

1902 series Owensboro $5 note, Serial #1 (Bottom left)

A 1902 series Owensboro $5 note, labeled serial #1 (bottom left).

Condition is not that critical. The Kelly book is for pricing in fine condition, which is mediocre at best. You don’t find a lot of these notes much nicer than that. I do have some uncirculated notes, but they’re few and far between. To find them uncirculated is really tough. So condition’s not that important, but in the Kelly book, for every grade you go up, you add 25 percent to the value. The grading scales are ‘fine’, ‘very fine’, ‘extremely fine’, ‘about uncirculated’, then ‘uncirculated’.

If someone finds a hoard of old bank notes, a lot of times they will uncover a few uncirculated notes, but for many banks there are simply no uncirculated notes available. A lot of times the best known note might be an extremely fine, which means maybe two or three creases and pretty crisp, but not new. So anything fine or better is collectible in national bank notes.

Collectors Weekly: Where was the first note issued in Kentucky?

Swicer: I believe in Louisville, and the last note in the whole country was also issued in Louisville, which is just a coincidence. The first national bank note in the United States was for the First National Bank of Philadelphia, and it got charter number one. That’s on all of its notes. Each bank had its own charter number, and every 20 years the charter was renewable.

Collectors Weekly: When did the first bank in Kentucky open?

Swicer: I believe it was probably First National Bank in Louisville, chartered in 1863. That’s when it all started, and that was charter number 109.

At the time, Kentucky had 111 towns, and a total of 238 banks were issued charters. My hometown, Newport, Kentucky, had three different banks over the years, each with a different charter number.

Collectors Weekly: Where were Kentucky’s biggest banks?

1902 series Newport $10

Swicer: Louisville and Lexington probably had the biggest, most prosperous banks, which means they printed a lot more notes. Those notes are more common today than the notes from the small-city banks. Louisville had 12 to 15 chartered banks, while my hometown, right across the river from Cincinnati, Ohio, had three.

Some banks were named after the person who started the bank, like the Joe Black Bank of Louisville. Others were just the First National Bank of Podunk, or whatever. A lot of the Kentucky notes were from German National Bank. They changed that name after World War I.

Collectors Weekly: Could Kentucky notes be used in a different state?

Swicer: That was the nice thing about it. They were printed by the Federal Reserve, so they could be used anywhere in the United States. National bank notes, even ones printed for chartered banks, were accepted all over the country with no problem. The notes that had been printed before that were regional. If you went far enough away from a given bank, they wouldn’t accept the notes. As a result, a lot of notes were traded at a discount.

Collectors Weekly: How did merchants make change?

Swicer: Well, at first everybody wanted hard coinage, silver and gold. After a period of time, though, they began to accept the notes. California actually wanted its notes to be redeemable in gold, and for a while they had their own nationals, what they called gold bank notes. But after 10 years they used the regular national bank notes like everybody else. Over time, merchants and customers alike began to accept the notes and realized that it was just as good as coinage. They were forced to. Either you took it or you didn’t get paid.

Collectors Weekly: How did a bank get chartered?

Swicer: Each bank came up with a minimum of $25,000, which they’d give to the government. That money would be put in government bonds, drawing interest. In turn, the bank would get currency printed by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, the BEP.

Each bank was issued notes with its name, city, and state on it. In the beginning the notes had to be hand signed by the cashier and the president of the bank, so a lot of times those signatures were forged. The signature authorized the notes and made them legal tender through that bank. Finally, I believe in the early 1900s, the BEP started printing signatures on the notes.

1902 series Hodgenville, KY $20 note, Abraham Lincolns birthplace

A 1902 series $20 note from Hodgenville, Kentucky, Abraham Lincoln’s birthplace.

See, the government would make these sheets of notes, but they wouldn’t print the whole thing. A five-dollar bill would have Lincoln on it, a ten would have Hamilton, etcetera. They would all have the same denomination and vignettes on them. Then they’d put the name of the bank and the charter number and all that on it. So they had a bunch of sheets already made up, half printed, and then when a new bank came online, they’d add in the new bank’s information.

The notes were standardized. Each $5 note had the same vignette, each $10 note had the same vignette, and so on. But they changed the series periodically, and that would give the currency a whole new look. In 1863 the notes looked one way. In 1875, they changed the notes and they all looked different. Notes from 1902 changed again, and then in 1929, of course, they went to the small-sized notes that we use today. Before that, all notes were larger.

The 1929 series, for example, is very plain looking, with no real vignettes on the front, just the printing of the bank and the serial numbers and all that stuff. The older notes had more vignettes on them, featuring people and different figures.

Collectors Weekly: Did the Federal Reserve print its own notes, too?

Swicer: Yes, they started printing paper money in 1861. This whole national bank note system came about because of the Civil War. They needed extra money to pay for the Union war effort. Making paper money was a way for the government to get more money into its coffers. They issued bonds against it so that the banks had something to back up their money.

At the same time, the government was issuing Federal Reserve notes, which were mostly backed by silver and gold until the mid-’20s. Since the 1930s, Federal Reserve notes have not been backed by anything.

Before the national bank note system there were several financial panics, one from 1835 to 1837 and another in the 1850s. Back then, banks just issued their own notes with nothing to back them up, and they all went bankrupt. Those notes are known as broken bank notes or obsoletes. They were outlawed after the Civil War when the government started issuing notes.

Collectors Weekly: The colonists also used paper money, right?

1902 series Louisville, KY $100 note

Swicer: Colonial currency was used to pay for the Revolutionary War. That was the main reason they came up with it. Early in the history of the country we did not have any gold coins, so people had to use paper, or they bartered. The early gold strikes in the United States were in 1829, and the government started coining after that. We used foreign coinage until 1857 because we had such a shortage of coins, especially silver and gold. Copper was easier to get—we bought copper from England for years after the Revolutionary War. But we didn’t have coinage of any consequence until the mid-1850s.

Collectors Weekly: What was the smallest denomination of paper money?

Swicer: From 1863 until 1875 we had fractional currency. They made three-, five-, 10-, 15-, 25-, and 50-cent notes because coins were being hoarded during the Civil War. In terms of the bank notes, the first year they made one-, two- and five-dollar notes was 1863. Around 1900, though, the smallest denomination was a five. The denominations went all the way up to 1,000, but they discontinued those pretty quick. After the turn of the century, a 100-dollar bill was pretty much the highest. The higher the denomination, the fewer they made, so they’re pretty scarce. I do have some three-hundreds in my collection, but they are very rare—they cost a couple thousand dollars each.

Collectors Weekly: What are some of your favorite bank notes in your collection?

Swicer: I’ve got an 1882 note from Louisville that’s in absolutely perfect condition—it has no signs of wear whatsoever. I really like my serial number one from Owensboro, Kentucky, 1902, because they started with number one and numbered them right on out through however many notes they made. And of course I get a kick out of having notes from my hometown banks. Those are my favorites, I guess. But generally, to have an older note in choice, uncirculated condition is amazing. I’ve got one from Hodgenville, Kentucky, where Abraham Lincoln was born, in choice uncirculated condition.

Collectors Weekly: How do you store your notes?

Swicer: They’re all in hard, clear currency holders. There’s no PVC on them, and I keep them in a safety deposit box at the bank. Periodically I look at them. I keep a list on my computer of what I have. That way, I can update it every time I buy a new note.

Once I get a complete collection of my hometown bank notes, I’m going to put them on a disc and send them to the local library so they have a copy of everything I’ve got because I don’t think they have more than one or two notes.

Collectors Weekly: Is there anything else that you want to say about collecting bank notes?

1929 Type 2 series Madisonville $10 note, Gem Uncirculated

Swicer: To me, collecting bank notes is just a general progression. When you’re a coin collector, you go from coins to maybe metals. A lot of us go that way. We start out with coins, and then we go on to other things. Eventually some of us get into paper money—that’s how it happened with me. I just narrowed it down to bank notes. Grading is not as important on bank notes as it is on coins, and the really nice thing about bank notes is they’re lightweight. You can lug your whole collection in a briefcase. In coinage, you can’t do that. They’re just too heavy. Paper money is much easier to store and handle.

(All images in this article courtesy Tony Swicer, vice president of FUN)

98 comments so far

  1. don Says:

    this is exciting…. i have a 5 dollar oversize bill.
    “the national bank of kentucky of louisville”… april 23,1920,,,, series 1902,,,
    value ?any other info ?thanks don

  2. David Haynes Says:

    I have a $5 bill issued from “The First National Bank of Norton” (Virginia) Apr. 15 1902 with a blue seal. The markings listed under Harrison’s image list “1141” with bold notation of “S6235″. Next to the United States of America is another notation “M235613″ series of 1902 “G”. It has been circulated and folder into quarter sections in the past as creasing is apparent.
    ~David Haynes

  3. Rion Rodweller Says:

    I have a 1902 10 dollar national currency bill in fine condition from the first national bank of ludlow kentucky any interest just kinda curious how rare it is the numbers on it are 5323 and 2122 it also has a J on it

  4. Tony Swicer Says:

    Don, your Louisville note is worth $150.

    David your VA note is worth $400-$600

    Rion your Ludlow note is worth $800-$1000

  5. Kelly Says:

    do you ever come across many 1929 nationals from Illinois? thanks, I really enjoyed reading the interview article. it filled in a few gaps of my knowledge of the national banking system. I too, have my collection in a bank vault.

  6. Tony Swicer Says:

    Hi Kelly. I don’t buy Illinois Nationals but I do see them at big shows and in the Heritage Auctions , among others.

  7. Linda Says:

    I have several old pieces of paper currency handed down in my family. Specifically, in this case I am trying to find out something about a fifty dollar bill/note issued by “The President Directors & Co of the (Southwestern) Real Estate Bank of Kentucky”, Feliciana Ky. Nov. 1, 1838. (No. 1493)

    Also, “South Western …(can’t read)…will pay the bearer one dollar in Kentucky or other current bank notes at (can’t read this) when five dollars is presented…” Dated June 28, 1838. This one is printed by Western Bank Note Co., Cincinnati, O. by Woodruff, Tucker & Co. and is filled in by hand and numbered No. 84. Any info?

  8. Chris Says:

    I have a One Dollar Bank of Kentucky (Newport) note, but it is in pretty poor condition. Is there any interest in this and how much do you think it is worth? The issue date looks like 1852.

  9. Tony Swicer Says:

    Hi Chris, your note is from the Newport Safety Fund and can be 1852-54. In low grade it is worth about $20-25. I do have several of them.

  10. thomas Says:

    i have a 1902 over sized twenty dollar bill.
    its from the national bank of chattanooga tennesee charter#7848 with a blue seal,
    signed in 1905. thank you for any kind of help!

  11. Tony Swicer Says:

    Hi Thomas, your Chattanooga, TN note in Fine condition is worth $125. There are 123 large size notes of this bank known.That is a lot. A rare note would have 5-15 known. For every grade higher than fine, add 25% to the value. A VF is worth $155, XF $188.

  12. Debra von Bernuth Says:

    I have a $5.00 National Currency note from the Wallins National Bank of Wallins Creek, Kentucky. It’s a 1929 brown seal with a serial number of A000169A. It looks to be in pretty good condition, though it has been circulated and folded into squares. Do you know if it is rare, and what kind of value it has?

  13. Tony Swicer Says:

    Hi Debra, your Wallins Creek note is rare. I don’t like the fact that you said it was folded into squares. That obviously hurts the condition, but I would probably pay $2000. for the note.

  14. David Shade Says:

    I have a 1902 $10.00 Note from Covington, Kentucky , serial # 59685 bottom date says: Nov. 18,1904. the large letter and number is S 718. What value does this note have?

  15. David Shade Says:

    oh, i also have 3 uncirculated 1914 notes 20 dollar blue seal, bank of Atlanta (6-F) in sequence.. F8323942A
    F8323944A….. All 3 in excellent condition.

  16. Tony Swicer Says:

    Hi David, your Covington, KY note in Fine condition is worth $200. The 3 1918 US notes are worth around $1000.

  17. jennifer smalley Says:

    have some money would like to know if they are fakes or if they are real

  18. Tony Swicer Says:

    Concerning fake paper money, be aware that a lot of reproductions are made with brown or burnt orange color paper. the paper is rough to the touch. They are sold as souviners at histotic sites in packets for $5. Concerning Confederate fakes, a lot of them have the word “Facsimile” on the back in the bottom left.

  19. Michael Newton Says:

    I have a blue seal, 1902 plain back $10 note on the Second National Bank of Griffin (11597), Griffin Georgia…Teehee – Burke, Cashier: James Ivey… I can’t make out the President of the Bank. Note # 11299; in Fine condition but cut close at top.

    I can’t find this bank by internet search… can you help me by telling me how many notes were issued. I haven’t been able to find many Georgia National Currency.


    Michael Newton, USAF, Ret., 100% Disabled

  20. Tony Swicer Says:

    Hi Michael, Your Griffin, GA note is worth $500. 10 notes are known total in $10 & $20 denominations. They printed $721,000 face value in these notes, with $100,000 still out in 1935 when they recalled them.

  21. Michael Newton Says:

    Mr. Seicer,

    Thank you very much. I was pleasantly surprised.
    I can’t find much Georgia Currency except for Atlanta and more populated cities. Even regular commercial documents and letters are hard to find. One last question… What book do you suggest I buy to glean the info that allowed you to give me the facts on my Note? It probably is expensive but worth the price.

    You do a great service and I thank you!

    Michael Newton, USAF, Ret., 100% Disabled

  22. Tony Swicer Says:

    THE Book on National bank Notes is “National Bank Notes” by Don C. Kelly, 6th edition. It retails $99. and wholesale is $55.


  23. susan Says:

    I have a five dollar silver certificate a 1934 is it worth any thing to any one or a collector in excellent shape.

  24. Tony Swicer Says:

    Hi Susan, your $5 siver certificate dated 1934 is very common. It is worth about $12 but there are millions of these notes still in collectors hands. $1 silver certificates, $2 Red Seals, and $5 Blue & Red seals are extremely common.


  25. Lee Ann Fogel Says:

    Thank you for sharing your abundant knowledge with us. I have a National Bank Note 1929 Austin Minnesota. I would appreciation information and value. Thank You

  26. Tony Swicer Says:

    Hi Lee ANN, your Austin, MN 1929 noe if it is Charter #1690, is worth $125 in Fine condition. 100 of this size are known so it is fairly common


  27. Lee Ann Fogel Says:

    Dear Mr. Swicer: Thank you so very much for your reply.

  28. Kevin Siler Says:

    I have a 1864 Confederate 20 dollar bill. I bought it when I was younger. However I have done a lot of research on it, but was unable find if; one it’s real and secondly, what its worth and finally how you can tell if it’s real. I would greatly appreciate your feed back. I was planning on handing it down to my son’s and to be able to teach them on Amercian History. Thanks Kevin

  29. Tony Swicer Says:

    Hi Kevin, I am surprised you can not find the value of your Confederate $20. The Black Book has it, and most other currency books. Anyway, 5’s, 10’s & 20’s are the most common for Feb, 17, 1864. In Fine condition they are worth about $20. In Mint condition they are about $45. Most have brown ink signitures. Make sure on the back in the bottom left it does not say,”Facsimilie” meaning reproduction.

  30. Jim Says:

    I have 1929 bill $5 national bank of Kentucky Louisville has vertical number 5312 fine cond is it worth much

  31. Tony Swicer Says:

    Hi Jim, the #5312 Louisville $5 is fairly common with 70 small size known. It is worth $60.

  32. Suzie Berryman Says:

    I found some Kentucky Bank Notes and thought you might know about them. There are 3 uncut sheets of four from the Farmer’s Bank of Kentucky, Frankfort. The Ten dollar one is dated 3 October 1860. The Five dollar one is not dated but signed by the same person as the Ten, and the Twenty dollar one is dated 3 August 1859. They have been rolled and put in a tube. They are in great condition, no tears, no writing, no folds. The edges show slight use from being put in the tube. I would appreciate any information you may have. Farmers Bank is the official Bank of the State of Kentucky, I think. Thank you. Suzie

  33. Tony Swicer Says:

    There are some uncut sheets out there on this bank. Each note retails about $250 each. They are very colorful with a red color. So your notes are worth $750-$1000 per sheet.

  34. Jeff DeRouse Says:

    I have something that looks like an old bill from the Frankfort Bank of Kentucky. It kind of resembles a check where there is a line for Promise to Pay to … or Beaer on Demand Five Dollars. Then there is a line for a date with the 18 printed for the year. It’s not filled out at all. Any idea what this is? Thanks

  35. Tony Swicer Says:

    Hi Jeff. I think you have a broken bank note from the mid 1850’s. It is called a remainder because it was not used. I think this note has a lot of orange color and is worth about $150-$200.

  36. Leslie Brunson Says:

    I have a 1902 series $5,blue seal note from the national bank of kentucky,louisville.I also have a 1907series,$5 red seal note (woodchopper in fair condition. What is the value of these ?

  37. Tony Swicer Says:

    Hi Leslie, your Louisville note, probably Charter #5312 is worth about $150 in Fine condition. If it is a different charter number, it could be worth more. The 1907 $5 woodchopper is worth about $120 in Fine condition. No tears, no stains or ink writing on them.

  38. John Broach Says:

    I recently bought a $10 note, 1902 series, issued by City National Bank of Paducah, graded VF-XF by Heritage. I paid $400. Did I get skinned?

  39. Tony Swicer Says:

    Hi John, your Paducah, KY note is worth approximately $500-550. 39 notes are known in large size and it is charter #2093.

  40. George Says:

    I have a 1913 “The City National Bank of Griffin” GA Ten Dollar Bill. How rare is it and what is its value in fair condition.

  41. Tony Swicer Says:

    Hi George, your Griffin, GA note #2075 has about 9 known bills worth about $600 in fine condition. No tears, writing on, or stains.

  42. Steve Says:

    Hi Tony! Great Read! I have a 5 dollar bill from Russellville Kentucky No. 4664 . 1851 or 1859, fair condition. Could you help me out with a value? :) Thanks

  43. Bruce Hudson Says:

    Hello Mr.Swicer,I live in Louisville,Kentucky and love collecting bank notes.Ive started but yet to purchase notes from my state.Like you im interested in these but havent searched any links yet to find these notes.My question is…Is there any kind of a check list you know of for the ones in Kentucky.

  44. Tony Swicer Says:

    Hi Steve, your Russellville note $5 catalogs $100-125 in Hugh Shulls price list.

  45. Tony Swicer Says:

    Hi Bruce, for National Bank Notes, 1863-1935, the best book is National Bank Notes, 6th edition by Don C Kelly. It sells for $100 and well worth it. Hugh Shull from South Carolina puts out a price list on pre-Civil War notes. The book on Kentucky Notes prior to the Civil war is Kentucky Notes and Scrip by Earl Hughes, 1998.

  46. Joel Says:

    Its a happy accident that I ran across your interview on state bank notes, since I’ve only seen one and have wondered what it is. It is a 1929 $10 note from The Exchange National Bank of Colorado Springs, Colorado, charter 3913. It is used and has a brown stain/color on the left side. Please advise me on its value. Thank you

  47. Tony Swicer Says:

    Hi Joel, your 1929 $10 Colorado Springs #3913 note is worth about $125.

  48. Linda Markert Says:

    I have a $5.00 National Currency 1902 series Issued 1904 the Eighth National Bank of Philadelphia. can you tell me the value?

    Thank you

  49. Tony Swicer Says:

    Hi Linda, your bank note Charter #522, 1904 Eighth NB, Philadelphia, catalogs $150 in Fine condition.

  50. Joel Says:

    Mr Swicer,

    Thank you for your answer. Since I am a Colorado Springs native, I think I will be keeping it.


  51. Loretha Says:

    Hello, Mr. Swicer,
    I have a 10 bill with a brown stamp series of 1929. Also has First and Farmers National bank of Blue Earth Minnesota with 5393 written on the sides. The condition is fair but does have a crease through the middle. Is this worth anything.
    Thanks in advance!

  52. Tony Swicer Says:

    Hi Loretha, your 1929 bill from Blue Earth MN, charter #5393, is worth about $350. Only 20 pieces are known.

  53. Jim Says:

    Hi Tony – I have a $5 Southern Bank of Kentucky Broken/Obsolete Note issued from Russellville S/N: 2115. The condition is AG-Good but fully intact. Was found inside of an old book from 1864. Is there a catalog or I.D number associated to this note? Value? Please advise. Thank you in advance!

    Best Regards,

  54. Tony Swicer Says:

    Hi Jim, the Southern Bank of KY is listed in Earl Hughes book, “Kentucky Obsolete Notes & Scrip” 1998, as # 744,745,&746 at about $75-$100.

  55. Jacque Says:

    I inherited a 1929 Type #1 Ten Dollar National Bank Note – Brown Seal the bank was in Oregon Wisconsin. I have been told it is rare and that there were only about 6 issued from that bank. Can you tell me the approximate value of the note. Thank you…..

  56. Tony Swicer Says:

    Hi Jacque, yes your note is rare 6 known, and is worth $2500 in Fine condition. Used but no tears or stains. It is charter #10620.

  57. Dana Funk Says:

    Very interesting article! I am VERY new at this, found a bank of Cincinatti five dollar bank note in my grandma’s things. It is in very bad shape, but I can’t seem to find much info about the bank notes from Cincinatti. Can you help Tony?

  58. Tony Swicer Says:

    Hi Dana, there are hundreds of Cincinnati bank notes. What is the date on it? Is it pre-civil war or a national bank note with bold black charter numbers on it?

  59. Dana Funk Says:

    Hello again Tony. I don’t see any bold numbers on the bill, and it has a date of August 22, 1857.

  60. Devan Nicholson Says:

    I have a Union National Bank of Houston $5 bill. the date on it is March 21, 1910. It has a blue seal. Im not sure what else you would need off of it. Can you tell me what its worth and any other facts. It appears to be in good condition but I’m new to this and wouldn’t know what to compare it to. It does have 3 lines where it has been folded. Thanks in advanced

  61. Tony Swicer Says:

    The only Cincinnati note I can find dated 1857 is “City Bank” worth about $50.

  62. Tony Swicer Says:

    Hi Devan, the Union NB of Houston is Charter #9712. There are 92 large size known (A lot). The value is about $150 in Fine condition.

  63. J.D. Harvey Says:

    My brother has a $20. FARMERS BANK of KENTUCKY , FRANFORT, note.
    It is in poor condition,and we cannot see any idintifying numbers . Is there any way to find out its age, and value of course.

  64. Tony Swicer Says:

    Hi JD. Your note was issued between 1850-& 1859. It is probably worth $25-$35. in poor condirion.

  65. Sandra Hood Says:

    Mr Swicer,
    My grandparents left me a 1914 $5 Fed Reserve Note, Bank of Atlanta, 6-F, F24502824A, Burke and Houston, blue seal, can see slightly the crease marks. On eBay it seemed this condition would be considered “fine.” I also have a perfect condition 1976 $2 Fed Reserve Note, Bank of Atlanta, 6, F14955623A, Neff and Fimmer?. Also, a 1934 $20 Fed Reserve Note, Bank of Richmond, 5, E18868500A, Julian and Morganthou Jr. in very good condition. And, a 1944 1 Ein Mark ALLIIERTE MILITARBEHORDE, 042169020, “in Umlauf Gesetzt in Deutschland” (actually, it’s all in caps), green in the front, red in the back with an M in the middle in good condition. I can’t tell how much they are worth on eBay–esp none of the Atlanta bank w/ Burke and Houston. Thanks, if you can tell me about them.

  66. Steve Francis Says:

    Mr Swiver,
    I have a ten dollar national currency from the southern national bank of Richmond Kentucky. It is dated July 6th 1910 with the following markings, S9832 in blue. T892703D and says series of 1902. It also has 11681 under the picture of William McKinley. I would say it is in great condition as it is in a protective sleeve with no creases or marks on it. What do you think it is worth?

  67. Tony Swicer Says:

    Hi Steve, your Richmond note Charter #9832 has 28 notes known. It is worth about $500-600.

  68. Tony Swicer Says:

    Hi Sandra, your 1914 $5 is worth about $75. All 1976 notes are Face Value, $2. 1934 green seal $20 is probably $20-22. The allied currency might be $1.

  69. Sandra Hood Says:

    Mr. Swicer,
    You’re awesome for doing this—spending this time. Thank you so much.

  70. Russell Browning Says:

    Just stumbled on this tonight. Being from Kentucky I always do a search on various sites and find all kinds of stuff. I noticed KY money on ebay in the last month or so and was suprised to see a Paducah note. Just wanted to say hey and wish you luck in your collecting.

  71. Tony Swicer Says:

    Thanks Russell. I usually purchase my notes at a major show or by major auction.



    My great grandma had given me a $5.00 Bank Note issued April 23, 1900 from National Bank of Kentucky of Lousiville upper left is the serial number 138055 and right side number 5312S in good conditon.

    Is this enough information to give me a gauge of its value?


  73. Tony Swicer Says:

    Hi Richard, your Louisville #5312 $5 bill in Fine condition is worth $150. If the bill is somewhat crisp, not limp, then it is worth $185. 289 large size are known. That is a lot.

  74. David Kitchen Says:

    I have a $10.00 note issued by the Bank of Louisa Kentucky. I was wondering what the value might be for such a note

  75. Tony Swicer Says:

    Hi David, your $10 Louisa KY note #7110, 1929 small size is worth $250 in fine condition. If it is a 1902 series large size, it is $500. The charter #7122 small size is $300 and the large size is $600. All in fine condition.

  76. Moe-Tiqua Johnson Says:

    Hello Mr. Swicer, I was kind of curious because my mother has a few bank notes, some are printed on both side and some are not, what’s the difference?, I know one of them is a $100 bill from 1863 and it read Chattanooga, TN. Only a couple is larger than the others, I don’t have all the bills with me, to give you a precise description of the notes, I’m going off of memory and I also have a 1943 penny how can I tell if it’s worth anything considering there a few fakes out there. Thank you.

  77. Tony Swicer Says:

    Hello Moe-Tiqua, your Chattanooga, TN notes has several varities but it is worth sbout $ 100. A 1943 steel cent is worth 15 cents. A 1943 copper cent can be worth $40,000.

  78. Nancy Eads Says:

    I have two bills I know very little about and I’m hoping you can help me…I don’t want to sell them as they been handed down for several generations, but not kept well…I just want to know the history on them…The first one is a $2 bill, at top it has The Agricultural Bank of Tennessee…On the left side there is a oval with a plow, hay, & a tree on the upper half…What looks like might be a water trowl & below it is the word in a ribbon Commercy with a date 1796…Encircled in the outer of this oval is the words CHARTERED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF TENNISSEE MARCH 4TH 1854…On the right side is a woman sitting looking to her left with a big 2 at her right side…In the center cattle and sheep under a couple of trees and what looks like a basket sitting on a big rock…Below that is the words, Will pay TWO DOLLARSon demand to the barrier BROWNSVILLE…then directly under that is a steer…The 2’s on the top are alike, but the 2’s on the bottom are different from the top as well as each other…Can send picture if you like…Pretty old and fragile…would like to know how to preserve it better…The other bill I have is a $50 note or money, not sure…On the top it has what looks like a Harbor, with houses and fishing boats in the water, with a 50 on each side incased in a oval and neither are the same…Left 50 has a No. next to it, right side has a A next to it…Left side it has a decorative column with the word FIFTY spelled out…Right side another column, but different with the word KENTUCKY 50 incased in a shield on the lower and possible a L in the upper shield…Center is writes, The Directors and Company of the SOUTHERN BANK OF KENTUCKY promise to pay_________fifty dollars on demand…Below that it reads, Bowling Green…Then below that it reads CASH, then Murray Draper Fairman & Co. …Then to the far right of that it reads Pres! …Quit a bit huh?Any info would be greatly appreciated…Thank you…

  79. Tony Swicer Says:

    Hi Nancy, your Tennessee note in fine condition, heavy wear but no tears or stains is worth about $75. Your Bowling Green, KY note is 1818. 1-5 known and worth about $350.

  80. heath burden Says:

    i have a $10, 1903 national currency paducah ky note poor cond whats the seal

  81. Tony Swicer Says:

    Hi Heath, your Paducah $10 if it is charter #2093, it is worth about $200 even in poor condition. If it is charter #1500, it could be $750. Charter #12961 is $300.

  82. Bonny Mann Says:

    I have a $10 bill S7848 dated June 29, 1902 from Hamilton National Bank of Chattanooga. . The bill has been folded. Has the blue seal. What is the value of this bill. Thank you.

  83. Phyllis Livingston Says:

    Hi, I have a $5.00 large size bill dated April 23, 1920 drawn on National Bank of Kentucky of Louisville, Series 1902. Excellent condition, has a blue seal on it. Ben Harrison is pictured on the bill. The number on it is 5312. This was given to my family sometime around 1919. Do you have any idea the value of this? Thank You. Phyllis

  84. Luis Mendez Says:

    Señor Swicer : mi consulta es sobre un SILVER CERTIFICATE DE 1923 US 1,000,000 , – dollars o US 100,000,- A58675453D , necesitaria informacion sobbre el certificado y valor , desde ya muchas gracias y exitos con su recolecciòn.

  85. Marcia Falotico Says:

    Have a 20 dollar 1904 Old National Bank of For Wayne, Also 1888o, any idea what they are worth. Both in mint condition. Thank you for your help

  86. domingo otero Says:

    I have an July 2nd 1852 Newport Safety Fund
    Bank of Kentucky one dollar bill.
    It has the three mechanics in the center, And the three seated ladies on the bottom. Is this bill collectable?

  87. Betty Smith Says:

    I have a $5 Confederate bill. Richmond .. April 6th 1863
    No. 2 280

  88. Jane Marcum Says:

    I have a $5 dated 1929 stamped First National Bank Of Lexington Ky. It does not look like it has ever been circulated. Wondered if there was any value.

    Thank You

  89. Jimmy Chew Says:

    I have a $5 The Nationl Bank of Kentucky of Louisville, brown back, brown seal date April 23, 1900, Ser. # H201330H. Looks like fair condition. Any significant value?

  90. Lisa slife Says:

    I have a 1907 20 dollar Johnstown co…8636. #3007 blue

  91. Tony Swicer Says:

    Lisa, your Johnstown, CO note is worth about $6500 in Fine condition with no tears or stains. If you want to sell it, I recommend at auction.

  92. Tony Swicer Says:

    Jimmy Chew- your $5 Louisville note #5312, is worth about $100.

  93. Tony Swicer Says:

    #88, Jane Marcum, your note is #906. In uncirculated condition (No folds), it is worth about $100

  94. Tony Swicer Says:

    #87, Betty Smith, your Confederate note is worth about $30

  95. Tony Swicer Says:

    #86, Domingo- your Newport note is worth about $30.

  96. Tony Swicer Says:

    #85 Marcia, your 1904 note is about$400 and your 1880 is about$2500. Both are Charter 3285. Notes that are serial number 1 are worth a lot more.

  97. Tony Swicer Says:

    #83 Phyllis- your $5 #5312 in fine condition is about $100.

  98. Tony Swicer Says:

    #82, Bonnie, your Chattanooga note is worth about $125, in fine condition, even wear, no tears or stains.

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