Minnesota Nationals: Number of Unknown Towns Reduced To Eleven

The recent discovery of a first charter ace on The First National Bank of St. Anthony, Minnesota (charter 1830) adds a new town to the list of known locations of national bank notes from Minnesota. Now only eleven locations that issued these notes have yet to be represented. No other banks were chartered in the short history of St. Anthony.

Charter 1830 has a special place in the history of Minnesota national bank notes. It began its life in 1871 in St. Anthony, located on the east side of the Mississippi River across from Minneapolis. In 1872, the community of St. Anthony was officially absorbed into Minneapolis, but it wasn’t until 1874 that the bank changed its title to The Merchant’s National Bank of Minneapolis. The date of the change was monumental in the chronology of national bank notes, because it occurred during a very short window of time when the BEP was experimenting with the use of engraved charter numbers on $5 notes. The Merchant’s National Bank became the only Minnesota bank to issue the famed Black Charter notes.

According to the sixth edition of National Bank Notes by Don Kelly, during the 30 months that the charter issued notes with the St. Anthony title, it issued 1,500 sheets of 1-1-1-2 and 1,875 sheets of 5-5-5-5 notes. The bank began issuing Black Charter fives (numbering 5,500 sheets of original series notes and 4,350 sheets of 1875 series notes) from 1874 until it closed in 1881. Currently only one Black Charter note on this bank is known.

The St. Anthony note surfaced in early 2011 and was purchased from a central Minnesota dealer in antiques and collectibles. It bears serial number 1465 and is from the B plate position. The note suffers from numerous splits, but is nearly whole, relatively bright, and bears good pen signatures of Messrs. Murphy and Carpenter.

The only other title change among Minnesota national banks that resulted in a different town name occurred when the First National Bank of Motordale changed to New Germany. The town was originally called New Germany, but during World War I the town leaders sought to distance themselves from their German heritage and renamed the village Motordale. The bank was chartered in 1919, and issued notes with the first title for 37 months until it changed its title to reflect the original town name.

The other towns that remain unknown from Minnesota are Boyd, Chokio, Clarkfield, Fertile, Hanley Falls, Melrose, New Brighton, New Duluth, New Ulm, Ruthton and Tower. The only town of these that issued notes for a shorter period of time than St. Anthony is New Brighton, which lasted just 13 months. New Ulm is the only one of these remaining towns that issued notes during the first charter period.

The last time a new town was discovered from Minnesota was in 2002, when Lyn Knight sold a $10 Red Seal on The First National Bank of Rushmore.