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Obsolete Notes

Obsolete Bank Notes are a genre of paper money that was issued from the late 1700s to about 1865. They are obsolete in the sense that they can no longer be redeemed for face value by the issuing authority.

In addition to bank notes, scrip is also considered part of the genre and can include notes issued by private merchants, banks, and municipalities. These were typically issued during financial emergencies, but not always, and span into the Great Depression.

Obsolete Notes are the most diverse genre of currency and are widely collected.

State Bank Notes were authorized by individual states, each of which had their own banking laws regulating the issue of such notes. The laws varied substantially, and in some cases noteholders suffered large losses. Regularly published periodicals called Bank Note Reporters became a necessity among merchants, which reported discounts of notes of all the circulating banks so that one could know what a dollar bill from a particular bank was really worth.

As banking approached the 1860s, laws provided for better noteholder protection, but economic shocks such as the Civil War lead to wide swings in the value of notes. In 1863, the Federal Government introduced National Bank Notes as a measure to finance the war and bring more stability to the circulating medium. State Bank Notes were phased out after 1865.

If you have obsolete notes to sell, you should be aware that many notes are very common, especially those from southern banks that were overrun during the war. Typically, notes from western states like Minnesota are more difficult to find as fewer were issued in the narrow window between statehood and the end of the state banking period.

I do buy and sell obsolete notes. If you have obsolete notes to sell from Minnesota or the region, you should contact me to get an idea of their worth. You can send a picture in a text to my cell phone number at the top of this page. An email will also work, but a response may take longer. There is a chance that an email will be treated as spam. If I get your message, I will be sure to respond.

For a comprehensive look at early Minnesota money, buy a copy of my book A History & Catalog of Minnesota Obsolete Bank Notes & Scrip.

Below is a gallery sampling of Minnesota Obsolete Notes from my collection. Enjoy!

Obsolete Notes Gallery

We want to buy paper money like you see here. If you have a note to sell, let us know.