National Currency

Backed by bonds deposited with the Federal Government, this kind of money says “National Currency” at the top center of the note. These notes were issued by banks who received a Charter from the United States government allowing them to issue money. The Government Printing Office printed these notes with the same design except for the name of the banks, signatures of the bank officers and the Charter number. National Currency notes were made from 1863 to 1929.

These notes were a way of creating confidence in an always shaky banking system. Member banks were required to deposit bonds with the government. The bank could then issue currency equal to 90% of the amount of the bonds. The financial panic of 1929 destroyed many of the National Banks and put an end to this system.

There were more than 14,000 banks that issued National Currency and there are large numbers of avid collectors. The 1929 issue was the only “small size” issue, that is to distinguish from the “horse blanket” size notes of years previous to 1929. The note comes in two types. The Type I note has a brown seal with the charter number only in large black numerals. Type 2 notes have in addition the charter number printed with brown letters near the serial number of the note.

Series of 1929 National Currency – Type 1


Series of 1929 National Currency – Type 2


The most common National Currency notes seen are worth 100% to 400% above face value in average circulated condition. How much depends on the rarity of the Bank that issued the note, the type and the condition of the note. The premium could be as little as a dollar over face to many hundreds of dollars or more depending on the above criteria.