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National Bank Notes | A Guide With Prices

National Bank Notes

If you have reached our site that means that you are a collector, dealer, or someone looking to learn more about your currency. We have designed our site to pack as much information as possible about national bank notes into an easy to use website.  In our opinion, national bank notes are the single greatest collectible item in the entire field of numismatics.  National bank notes are our passion and we frequently spend more than $10,000 for the rarest examples.

Services We Provide:

-Purchases – We purchase single notes or entire collections
-Appraisals – We appraise all national bank notes (for free)
-Sales – We keep a diverse inventory of national bank notes

Quick National Bank Note Facts:
National bank notes were printed between 1863 and 1935. A total of 12,635 banks issued national bank notes. Today there are more than 363,000 national bank notes known to exist. Despite that relatively high number, some notes can be extremely rare and valuable. There are four main factors that determine the value of a bill.

  1. Which bank issued the note: Some banks printed two million notes; other banks only printed two thousand. The most basic level of rarity and value is based on the bank of issue. We have a database of every bank and every note known to exist. See our list of national bank note issuers.
  2. Type of note: There were nine basic design types used during the 73 year period that national bank notes were issued. Some of the types are very rare and some are very common.
  3. Condition of the note: As you probably already know, condition is very important when dealing with any collectible item. All things equal, one note in heavily circulated condition might only be worth $100. However, in perfect condition it could be worth $1,000.
  4. Serial number on the note: The serial number in the lower left area (on most issues) can be very important. If the number is 1, then you can expect a nice premium. Number one notes were usually saved by bankers as souvenirs. Today, they are especially collectible.

There are other factors like denomination, signature quality, and provenance that help add to the value of a national bank note.

History: A bank had to meet certain capitalization and town population requirements (set by the government) in order to nationalize. National banks had lending and structure restrictions. They were also subject to federal audits. Many banks and towns were not large enough to nationalize. The banks that did nationalize had the option to issue their own money. The money was printed in Washington, D.C. by The Bureau of Engraving and Printing and then mailed back to each bank. The money was good anywhere in the country; and the money stayed good even after the bank went out of business. In fact, you could still spend any national bank note at its face value today. However, we certainly don’t recommend doing so!

National Bank Note Price Guide

How much is a national bank note worth?  We hear that question more than any other.  Most people are also curious about the history and background of each note; however, as with most things in life, it is still always about the money.

The bad news is that there is no 100% accurate published price guide for national bank notes.  Most collectors and dealers rely on their personal experience, the current market, book values, and auction results.  More than anything though, there are two things that matter the most.  Those are rarity and condition.  Something that is rare but ugly might not be especially valuable.  Something that is common but pretty might not be especially valuable.  But if you can find the right mix of rarity and condition, then the sky is the limit.

So that leads to another question, is my note rare?  You can spend hours or days online trying to research the value of your exact national bank note.  You may not be able to find another example or you may be able to find 50 examples all with different prices.  Simply put, each note is valued independently.  It is almost impossible to find an “apples to apples” comparison.  There are just too many variables.  You need to contact us to get the exact value of your national bank note.

There are some details to be aware of that can help determine if the value of your national bank note could be high.  The first thing to consider is the age.  Notes from 1929 will almost always be more common than notes from 1863.  This is fairly self-explanatory.  Anything made in 1929 will be more available than something made in 1863.  So if the supply is greater for national bank notes from 1929, then the demand will be less.

The size of the issuing town can also be very important.  Notes issued by small town banks will be worth more than the same type of note issued by a large town.  Obviously New York City and Boston are big towns.  However, let’s specifically look at Georgia.  I think we can all agree that Atlanta is a large town.  I think it is also easy to agree that Savannah is fairly large as well.  However, while towns like Augusta, Macon, and Athens may be small compared to Atlanta, they are nowhere near small enough to command a small town premium.  When referencing a small town, the population should really be less than 2,000 today.  It should be small enough that people living in the same state might not have heard of it.  Small town national bank notes are generally worth more because banks in those towns were small and did not issue a lot of money.