June, 2001
Year 8, Issue 8

Award Winning Newsletter
Meeting 7:30pm, Wednesday, August 1
Talk and trading 7:00-7:30pm
VFW, 1601 Weld Road, Elgin, IL
Not a member? Come and join us anyway!

August Program

Jim Davis will be giving a talk on the new Euro coins to be released in January 2002.


June Minutes

ECC Meeting 522 - June 6, 2001
Opened:  7:40     Beginning balance:  $467.10
Closed:  9:00     Income:  $111.00
Members:  ?     Expenses:  $  75.40
YNs:  ?     Ending balance:  $463.10
Guests:  ?        

President Doug Nelson called the meeting to order at 7:40.

Secretary's Report

As printed in June's newsletter and was accepted.

Treasurer's Report

The Treasurer report was accepted.

Old Business

Marty wanted to get his membership card and it was pointed out nobody has received one this year.

Mike reported he had forgotten to bring the secretary's case (containing the membership cards) that he had only recently got back from Jennifer, the previous secretary who moved away last year and quit. (He brought it during the August meeting.)

New Business

The meeting for July falls on the 4th, so the meeting has been cancelled. It was also decided that no newsletter would be sent out for the month.


We broke at 7:45 and had our customary raffle and membership drawings. The winners were:

The meeting closed around 9:00 P.M.

Submitted by Steve H., Secretary

Board Meeting

Don Cerny, Jim Davis, Doug Nelson, and Mike Metras got together on June 20th for our board meeting at Don's house.

The club bought coins for raffle and membership prizes.

I reported that I had found numbered ticket stock at Office Max and that I could use it to print the show raffle tickets. The board concurred and moved that I make the tickets. I'll do that before the August meeting.

Jim Davis reported he is working on his August presentation, The Introduction of the new Euro Coins in 2002. Mike announced the availability of his new book Money Meandering: The Introduction to Numismatics. See a more detailed description of the book at the end of this newsletter.

Submitted by Mike Metras, board member

Show and Tell


News Release

Fractional Currency, The 1964 Peace Dollar, A Horde of Five Thousand Cents, A Pennsylvania Quarter Error, A Time Table of Colonial Coins, The Roman As, The Byzantine Follis, The Nickel Three Cent Piece, The Eritrean Nakfa, Sicilian Coin Collections, The Lincoln Cent, The Tasmanian Devil, The 1998 ANA Summer Seminar, and The Minting Process are just a few of the more than 85 articles appearing in the just released Money Meanderings: An Introduction to Numismatics. Assembled and edited by Michael Metras from Elgin Coin Club Newsletter articles, Money Meanderings holds a wide variety of fascinating knowledge for the beginning and seasoned collector alike.

First published in January, 1994, the Elgin Coin Club Newsletter is written for the Elgin Coin Club of Elgin, Illinois. During the Newsletter's first six years, the American Numismatic Association (ANA) awarded it first place as the Outstanding Local Publication three years and second and third place two other years. Michael Metras, a collector for 47 years, was the writer, editor, and publisher of the Newsletter during those years.

Money Meanderings is an interactive book on CD-ROM in HTML format for viewing on any computer with an internet browser and CD-ROM drive. The book includes the following:

Money Meanderings is available from Mike at Do view a sampling of Money Meanderings, and ordering options, see Mike's web site at www.worksandwords.com.

Banking in Chicago in the 1850s with The City Bank

You are arriving from the country by wagon to buy your provisions in a Chicago only two decades old. It's the early 1850s. Horses clop by pulling squeaky wagons. Carpenters' bang out the tune of a growing city. Kids are yelling at each other as they run down the wooden sidewalk. Dust swirls through the air. The smells of wood smoke, horse urine and sweat, newly cut wood, a passing woman's perfume, and a fresh pot of stew merge into a potpourri of odors. Your hand is gritty with the dirt you picked up from the wagon wheel you grabbed as you stepped into the muddy street.

You walk into the store. After gathering what you need, the clerk asks for $3.58. You give him a ten dollar note. He doesn't even give it a second look, he knows that the George Smith Marine and Fire Insurance Co. of Milwaukee note you gave him, though illegal, is good money. In change, the clerk gives you a Mexican 2 reales coin (25 cents), a dime, a half dime, and two large cents. He also gives you a $3 note and a $1 note, both of The City Bank (of Chicago), and a $2 note of some Georgia bank.

You look at the money closely. You recognize George Smith's signature on the Georgia note and accept it outright. The $3 City Bank note looks good and, though you have heard rumors about it, you are pretty sure it is all right. But the $1 note is another thing. It was issued in Penn Yan, New York and you believe it is a bogus one that you will find hard to pass on to someone else, so you refuse it and demand a different one. Reluctantly, the merchant takes back the note and gives you one of the Phenix Bank of Chicago, which you accept.

This close scrutiny repeats itself again and again, every time you have to exchange money. Until the 1860's, banks, insurance companies, railroads, businesses, and private individuals issued bills that promised in one way or another that you could change them for hard cash (specie). When it came time to get your specie, some notes were redeemable, others were not. Many were only redeemable for a fraction of their face value ("at a discount").

In 1850 at a time when business was expanding rapidly, Illinois had no incorporated banks. All notes were either from private companies or out-of-state banks. Finally in 1851, the Illinois general assembly passed a law establishing a general system for banking.

Under this law, many new banks were chartered. among them, the private bank of Messrs. Bradley and Curtiss was chartered on June 26, 1852 as The City Bank. The bank had an initial capitalization of $200,000 and did business from No. 24 Clark Street.

According to A.T. Andreas' History of Chicago, in November 1852, a deposit of $60,000 par-valued Virginia State bonds secured $59,994 in The City Bank notes in circulation. In 1854 the circulation had diminished to $10,000. In November 1854 the bank had to involuntarily liquidate because of runs on the bank caused by a general banking panic. Its notes were circulating at a 25 per cent discount. In November 1856 the state auditor reported an outstanding circulation of $1,539 secured by $1,537.40 in specie.

Toppan, Carpenter, Casiler and Co. of New York and Philadelphia printed The City Bank's notes.

James Haxby's Obsolete Bank Notes lists The City Bank as IL-140. He lists four genuine notes, all dated July 15,1852:

Haxby states there are no known survivors of the first three notes.

Haxby also lists an altered, spurious, and unattributed, non-genuine $1 note with a blacksmith and girl in the center, a woman holding a child on the left, and a Roman senator on the right.

One Dollar Note of Bradley, Curtiss & Company's The City Bank issued in Penn Yan, New York

Before The City Bank was chartered under the 1851 law, Bradley and Curtiss operated a company, Bradley, Curtiss & Co., and issued private notes. One example, the $1 note reproduced here, was issued in Penn Yan, New York, and titled The City Bank/Chicago, Illinois.Its text promised, "We will pay to bearer One Dollar on demand in current bank bills for Bradley, Curtiss & Co." This bill is dated in Penn Yan on January 1, 1850.

Chicago banks of this era were not always very imaginative in choosing their names. Three have names close enough to confuse if you are not careful: The City Bank (1852-54) of Bradley and Curtiss described here; the Bank of Chicago (1852-53 (5 mo.)), the short-lived spiritualist headquarters ran by the eccentric Seth Paine described in the Chicago Coin Club's 1997 currency reproduction; and The Chicago Bank (1852-58) owned by I.H. Burch.

Researched by Robert Feiler and Mike Metras

Written by Mike Metras


This article with reproductions was originally published by the Chicago Coin Club during their 986th meeting held March 3, 2001, in conjunction with the seventh annual Chicago Paper Money Exposition (CPMX).

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