|The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco|
Bank of the United States, $10, 1792
The First Bank of the United States, the country's first central bank, issued notes in 1792 with the goal of creating a national currency.
Kirtland Note, $10, Ohio,1837-1839
Mormon Kirtland notes were signed by Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon religion. Mormons issued their own currency to regulate commerce and industry within their communities.
Issue, Delaware Bridge Company, $1, 1836-1841
Many transportation notes, like this one issued in Lambertville, New Jersey, circulated during the Free Banking Era. Bridge, canal, and railroad companies were commonly given banking privileges when they received charters to operate.
Issue, Peabody Ladies Furnishings, 3 cents 1862-1863
Issued by a women's clothing store in Massachusetts, this privately issued note illustrates the variety and lack of uniformity of most Free Banking Era currency.
Bank Note, Mechanics Bank, $10, 1854
Issued in Memphis, Tennessee, this note is typical of the multitude of private bank notes issued during the Free Banking Era. Private banks commonly targeted clients such as mechanics, blacksmiths, and farmers.
Issue, Louisiana, $5, 1862
One year after this note was issued, President Lincoln signed the National Bank Act. The 1863 law attempted to create a uniform national currency and a strong national banking system.