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Bank of London, five dollars, 1883

By Library and Archives Canada | Monday, March 29, 2004

The five-dollar note illustrated was issued by the Bank of London in Canada, which operated from 1883 to 1887. The bank's demise in 1887 marked the end of the long and frenzied financial career of its president, Henry Taylor. Up until 1887, the bank had conducted an uneventful but prosperous business, establishing branches throughout southwestern Ontario. So sound were its operations that in July 1887, the Bank of Toronto began negotiations to buy it out. However, in August the Bank of London failed to open. The final agreement between the two banks could not be signed in the absence of Taylor, who was vacationing in Alexandria Bay, New York. Subsequent investigation revealed that Taylor had been bilking the bank and owed it thousands.

Although promised legal immunity if he returned to London, Taylor was later arrested on a civil charge, breach of contract, and was held in a debtor's cell. In November 1887, the Bank of Toronto completed its purchase of the Bank of London's assets. The Bank of London printed notes of 5-, 10-, 20-, 50- and 100-dollar denominations, but only the fives and tens were placed in circulation. Since they were redeemed for 100 cents on the dollar, they are among the scarcest of Canadian bank notes. The note is typical of 1880 issues. The left vignette depicts agricultural motifs; the central vignette portrays Henry Taylor. On the right is "the dog on safe," a familiar vignette on North American bank notes. This note forms part of the National Currency Collection, Bank of Canada.

The Bank of London in Canada Five Dollars, 1883
The Bank of London in Canada Five Dollars, 1883

This article represents a portion of the the article titled Currency Museum of the Bank of Canada

Source : Library and Archives Canada

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