Encyclopedia of U.S. National Bank Notes

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The Huntoon-Shiva Encyclopedia of U.S. National Bank Notes covers every aspect of national bank notes issued from 1863 to 1935.

Search the Table of Contents, read or download chapters

The encyclopedia treats every aspect of the United States national bank note issues from the origin of the Original Series during the Civil War in 1863 to the termination of the Series of 1929 by the New Deal Treasury in 1935. A primary thread running through the encyclopedia is an explanation of how national bank legislation and policy decisions made by the Treasury officials who administered the national banking system resulted in the different series that were issued by a given bank as well as evolution of every design element on those notes. Consequently, the encyclopedia documents and explains every known numismatic variety found on national bank notes.

Another objective of the encyclopedia is to provide insights on how national bank notes functioned within the nation's economy, their strengths and short comings, and various measures taken to improve their viability or to stimulate their use. These discussions bring the all-important attending historic politics and personalities to the fore.

Assembly of the encyclopedia represents the combined vision of benefactor Andrew Shiva operating through his National Currency Foundation and researcher Peter Huntoon working in collaboration with the leading numismatic experts on nationals to tell the story. The encyclopedia truly is the culmination of a comprehensive and collective endeavor.

Andrew Shiva, a passionate collector of means, has emerged as this generation's Col. Edward H. R. Green and Albert A. Grinnell, joining those historic luminaries as assembler of the foremost national bank note collection of our time. He established the National Currency Foundation in 2011, a non-profit educational foundation with the goal to promote every aspect of national bank note history and collecting. To these ends, the foundation has sponsored the Society of Paper Money Collectors in its research and outreach programs since the founding of the NCF. The most visible of the SPMC outreach programs underwritten by the NCF is the speaker's series at the International Paper Money Shows.

Peter Huntoon has been publishing articles in the SPMC journal Paper Money continuously since 1966. He was a university professor, so he embraced the collaborative research model used in academia that has proven to be the most efficient and effective way to advance knowledge. The idea is that the more eyes on a problem by experts with different insights, perspectives and talents, the better the outcome. The names of the collaborators responsible for this encyclopedia are sprinkled throughout the bylines for the chapters.

It is appropriate that access to the encyclopedia be available through both the National Currency Foundation and SPMC websites owing to the close cooperation between the two in its development and the different audiences each reach. A primary obligation of both the NCF and SPMC is the dissemination of knowledge, not just to collectors, but to everyone. To this end, access to the encyclopedia is not locked behind any type of paywall on the SPMC website.

Researching anything, but especially a topic as broad and complex as national bank notes, is a process akin to peeling an onion. Each new layer represents discovery of new insights and perspectives, often requiring revision of past conclusions. The process is humbling. Findings presented in past works are proved to be incorrect and thus those articles date out. One great advantage of publishing this encyclopedia in digital form is that revisions and corrections easily can be made in real time so the work is not static. We will be updating the material and adding chapters to it as new research progresses. Typographical and factual errors are inevitable. Let us know about those you spot and we'll make repairs. This work is designed to be dynamic. Check back for the latest.


The National Currency Foundation owns the copyright to this encyclopedia.

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