Last year I was able to acquire a fantastic Iowa note from out of the weeds – The Citizen’s National Bank of Lyons, Iowa Serial #1 $5 Brown Back. I figured that was my 15 minutes and the last “great” note I would be able to buy.
Marshalltown is one of the – if not THE – toughest multi-bank town in Iowa. Marshalltown was home to 4 charters: #411 The First National Bank, #2115 The Farmers National Bank, #2971 The Commercial National Bank, and #4359 The City National Bank. For many years the only “available” bank was the First National as the rest were unreported or in the Higgins Museum. Then some years ago, three $5 Brown Backs from the City National turned up in Kansas. The Commercial is still unreported.
The Higgins had the only example from the Farmers NB in their collection...until about a month ago when this note was brought to my attention. The Farmers NB was one of Iowa’s shortest-lived institutions lasting from June, 1873 to September, 1875. During that time, they issued only 1590 sheets of the $5 denomination only. By 1910 the outstanding had dwindled to $125. It’s amazing one note survived on this bank let alone two. Cashier John Turner and President H. E. J. Boardman sign this note. Surprisingly this bank had two cashiers in it's short life. John Turner was the second and this note is from ca. 1874-1875.The overprint is slightly faded due to time being displayed in a picture frame (which is the reason it survived in the first place). If another note turned up on this bank other than a serial #1 I would be shocked, but stranger things have happened. Including this note, there are only 13 notes known from all Marshalltown charters combined! As a farm boy I am partial to these titles and I’m grateful I was able to make the deal to have this note for my collection.
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