In 1863, at the height of the Civil War, the National Currency Act was signed into law by President Lincoln. One of the results of this legislation were National Bank Notes, which were issued by more than 14,000 banks, large and small, until 1935.

The system was relatively straightforward: For every $90 worth of U.S. Bonds that a bank would buy, the government would give them $100 worth of National Bank Notes to issue, each printed with the name of the bank on its front.

There were three 20-year "charters" in a variety of denominations, each of which had a different design. Among the most popular bills from the first charter, 1863 to 1882, during which 179 regional banks went national, is the Lazy 2, a $2 bill that features a very large, sideways, numeral two on the front of the note. The reverse side of a $20 bill from that period depicts Pocahontas being baptized; a $50 shows Washington crossing the Delaware.

The bills of the second charter, 1882 to 1902, are a little bit smaller than those of the first. Instead of acquiring these bills for their vignettes and engravings, collectors differentiate second-charter notes based on the type of back a bill has. The Brown Backs were, as the name suggests, brown, with the bank’s charter number printed in the center. Other bills had Date Backs (whose dates did not always correspond precisely to the duration of the second charter), while a third type had Value Backs, in which the value of the bill was spelled out in capital letters.

By the time of the third charter, 1902 to 1929, the bills began to look more like the money we were familiar with up until just a few years ago, when the design of U.S currency changed for the first time in decades. For example, five-dollar bills from this period bear an engraving of the Lincoln Memorial, as they do today. But the program of National Bank Notes was discontinued in 1935 due to the failure of many of the nation’s smaller banks during the Great Depression.


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National Bank Notes Book 6th Edition By Don Kelly With Census CdHgr 1902 $10 Pittsburgh, Pa ((2of2 Consecutive#)) Pmg Xf-40epqHgr 1902 $10 Pittsburgh, Pa ((1of2 Consecutive#)) Pmg Xf-40epqMadison, In ~ 1882 $5 Brown Back ~ Ch. 1457Scarce Scranton, Pa 1882 $5 Dateback National Currency, Lackawanna County$5 1882 Date/back National Ch#5105 "san Francisco,ca." Average To Mid Grade**very/scarce** $5 1902 "california, Pennsylvania" Choice Mid/grade Ch#4622New York, Ny ~ 1882 $5 Brown Back ~ Ch. 7331929 $5 Chase Nb New York National Currency Note Pmg Choice Unc 64 Charter #2370$10 1929 "national" Charter.#5763 Pcgs Au55!!!!! Jacksonville Il.$5.00 1929 T-ii The Harrisburg N.b. Harrisburg Pennsylvania Charter .#580 Ch.auParis, Mo ~ 1902 $20 Blue Seal ~ Ch. 57941929 $5 National Currency Cloverdale, Ca Type 1, Ch# 11282, California Bank Note$5.00 1929 Rare -the Continental N.b.&t.co. Of Salt Lake City Utah Chart. # 94031929 $5 Gem Unc Warren Ohio Second National Bank Choice Ch# 2479 Currency Note1914 $1 Dollar Bill National Currency Bank Of BostonDecatur, Il ~ 1882 $5 Brown Back ~ Ch. 4576New York, Ny ~ 1882 $5 Date Back ~ Ch. 2608New York, Ny ~ 1902 $5 Blue Seal ~ Ch. 29Hickory, Nc ~ 1929 $5 National Banknote ~ Ch. 4597Dunmore, Pa ~ 1929 $20 National Banknote ~ Ch. 9868$5.00 1929 T-ii The Colorado National Bank Of Denver Colorado Chart. # 1651Rare 5 Dollars Series 1902 National Bank Of Chester County West Chester, Pa Marion, Nc ~ 1902 $10 Blue Seal ~ Ch. 6095Fr.477 1882 Brown Back Wells Fargo Nevada Nb San Franciso #51051918 $1~large Size~national Currency Note - Chicago~uncirculated~Docs Pcgs Choice 64 $20 Issue 1929 National Exchange Bank Steubenville, Ohio Nr!Wilkinsburg, Pa ~ 1902 $20 Blue Seal ~ Ch. 47281929 $50 Frn National Currency Bank Note Pcgs 15Los Angeles, Ca ~ 1929 $5 National Banknote ~ Ch. 6617Minneapolis, Mn ~ 1902 $5 Blue Seal ~ Ch. 12282Bryan, Tx ~ 1929 $10 National Banknote ~ Ch. 3446Mooresville, Nc ~ 1929 $10 National Banknote ~ Ch. 9531Marietta, Oh ~ 1902 $10 Blue Seal ~ Ch. 5212Pittsburgh, Pa ~ 1902 $20 Blue Seal ~ Ch. 291Scottdale, Pa ~ 1929 $10 National Banknote ~ Ch. 13772Rare Easton Massachusetts National Currency Twenty $20 Dollar Bill S/n D000102aPlainview, Mn ~ 1929 $20 National Banknote ~ Ch. 6293Minneapolis, Mn ~ 1902 $5 Blue Seal ~ Ch. 7101929 $5 National Currency Lewiston Me Type 2, Ch# 330, Maine Bank NoteReynoldsville, Pa ~ 1929 $10 National Banknote ~ Ch. 4908Knoxville, Tn 1902 $5 Date Back National Banknote !!! Free Shipping !!!United States. One Silver Dollar, Silver Certificate (code_70_1). Rare1902 $20.00 National Currency Note - The First National Bank Of Edinboro PaFr.661 1902 Plainback $20 Bank Of Italy San Francisco, Ca #13044Minneapolis, Mn ~ 1902 $20 Blue Seal ~ Ch. 9409Arcade, Ny ~ 1929 $20 National Banknote ~ Ch. 104101929 $10.00 And $20.00 National Bank Notes- East Chicago Indiana- Ch#135311929 $10.00 And $20.00 National Bank Notes- East Chicago Indiana-ch#135321929 $10 Lumbermen's National Bank Of Chippewa Falls, Wi #3778 Low Sn *hucky* Portland, Pa ~ 1929 $20 National Banknote ~ Ch. 66651929 $20.00 National Bank Note- St Francisville Illinois- Ch#88461929 Wayne County Wooster Ohio 828 $10 National Banknote- Small Size1929 $20 Federal Reserve Bank Note New York *no Reserve - Ungraded Brown SealUs $20 National Currency - Series Of 1929 - Bank Of Minneapolis, Mn - Nice$10 Bank Of America National Currency San Francisco Note - 1929 Brown Seal1929 $10 New York Federal Reserve Bank Note National Currency Free Shipping1929 $20.00, National Currency " Serial Number F000001a "Kittanning, Pa ~ 1902 $10 Blue Seal ~ Ch. 6127Pittsburgh, Pa ~ 1902 $5 Blue Seal ~ Ch. 252