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The International Bank, five dollars 1858

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

Between 1855 and 1859, the Legislature of the Province of Canada recklessly granted bank charters to 24 different applicants. The International Bank of Canada was one of the more dubious of these enterprises - the classic example of a "wildcat bank." It had a valid charter but operated dishonestly by issuing large quantities of notes it had no intention of redeeming. The bank obtained its charter in 1857, taking advantage of a provision in the legislation permitting banks to open in small towns without as much paid-up capital as those opening in cities. A year later it moved its head office from the town of Cayuga to Toronto, gaining the status of a city bank. The promoters immediately released vast quantities of one-, two- and five-dollar notes dated 15 September 1858.

Ironically, the notes were protected against counterfeiting. Their denominations were indicated with five different coloured "protectors." Then, without warning, the bank closed on 27 October 1859, leaving more than $119,000 of its notes outstanding. Illustrated is a one-signature, five-dollar note of 1859 with a blue protector. The central vignette depicts a familiar farm scene of the time. As the decimal system had just been adopted, the value is also given in the former Halifax Currency system - one pound five shillings. This note forms part of the National Currency Collection, Bank of Canada.

The International Bank, five dollars 1858
The International Bank, five dollars 1858

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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