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Paper currency collection

Identifier: L393

Scope and Contents

This collection contains fractional currency, interest bearing notes, and other forms of paper currency of various denominations, ranging from 1807 to 1863). The bulk of the collection contains state bank notes, both circulated and uncirculated, from Indiana during the "Free Banking Era" (1837-1863). The collection also includes bank notes from Connecticut, Michigan, Massachusetts, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia (1835-1863); United States issued currency (1830-1863); a certificate of deposit note from Georgia during the Civil War (1862); printed sheets of uncirculated state bank currency; an undated sheet containing facsimiles of Colonial and Continental currency (OB106); government-issued Philippine 10 pesos (circa 1942); and several French franc notes of different denominations (1946-1949). One item of special note is a Vincennes University lottery ticket that was signed by William Henry Harrison and Toussaint Dubois and was distributed to raise money for the university in 1807.


  • 1807-1949, undated

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Legal title, copyright, and literary rights reside with Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library, Indianapolis, IN. All requests to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Historical Note

The use of paper currency as legal tender goes back as far as the Tang Dynasty in China (618-907). The first paper money issued in America was by the Massachusetts Bay colony in 1690. After the Revolutionary War most paper currency in the United States was issued by the First Bank of the United States (1791-1811) and the Second Bank of the United States (1816-1836). After the closing of the Second Bank, the American Free Banking Era (1837-1863) began and it brought about the common usage of state bank notes. There was no federal regulations of banks at this time and counterfeit and depreciated currency was common. The National Bank Act of 1863 created a national currency and included taxation on state bank notes which resulted in their discontinuation.


Boeykens, Coralie. "Paper Money, a Chinese Invention?" National Bank of Belgium Museum. Accessed January 6, 2017.

Sproul, Prof. "A Quick History of Paper Money." California State University Northridge. Accessed January 6, 2017.


0.35 Cubic Feet (1 manuscript box, 1 oversize folder)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged by subject.

Custodial History

This collection was received by Rare Books and Manuscripts as donations from various sources including George Miller in 1916, Mrs. Florence Coffin, W.E. Blacklidge on 1931/11/21, R.D. Fisher, R.E. Banta on 1936/05/13, A.E. Curtis on 1926/03/10, Mrs. Rose Schultheis on 1940/05/01, Oscar L. Watkins on 1934/05/24, Mrs. Henry P. Upham on 1942/05/24, Kate Heron on 1926/09/03, L.J. Bailey on 1926/10/19, and Allan Hendricks on 1937/05/19.


No further additions are expected.

Processing Information

Collection processing completed 2017/01/12 by Laura Eliason. EAD finding aid created 2017/01/12 by Laura Eliason.
Paper currency collection
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Repository

140 North Senate Avenue
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204 U.S.A.