December 27, 2012

First bill issued by The First National Bank
Creede, Colorado March 29, 1892
Auctioned off for $101,790.
(courtesy of Bonhams auction firm)
(Click image to enlarge)

 thought I had lost that, may I have it back please?
                                                                - Soapy Smith

Ok, Soapy really didn't say the above quote but I bet he would if he were alive today! Perhaps some of these same bills, if not this very one, passed through his fingers?  I would not mind having a few of these stashed somewhere, especially considering the price ($101,790.) it fetched at auction just two weeks ago! 

Follow is part of the description from Bonhams auction firm.

New York – Bonhams is pleased to announce a stellar result for its December 13 auction of Coins, Medals and Banknotes in New York. During the winter sale, the auction house was privileged to offer several rarities including "Property of a Gentleman: An Important Collection of English Coins," an exquisite collection of 45 lots English coinage struck between the 14th and 19th centuries and a newly discovered $5 Series 1882 "Brown Back" National Banknote from Creede, Colorado that sold for $101,790.

The previously unreported note was the first bill issued on March 29, 1892 by The First National Bank of Creede, Colorado on its first day of charter, the date of issue on this note. The institution only existed until December 31, 1895 when it was liquidated. In addition to the fact this is the only known example from Creede, it presents with bank serial number 1 and is accompanied with a paper envelope stating: "FIRST BILL ISSUED AT THE FIRST NATIONAL BANK OF CREEDE. SIGNED BY JOHN MCDONOUGH PR J.W. MERRITT CASHIER." All currency from this bank, Charter 4716, was issued as $5 notes in vertical sheets containing four subjects. As of 1910, only $255 face appraise (total) was still outstanding making this issue virtually unobtainable, even then.

Creede is a small town in Colorado with a population of only 290 people in 2010, located in Mineral County in Southwestern region of the state. It became a "boom town" in 1889 when large amounts of silver were discovered in nearby Willow Creek. Creede's boom lasted until 1893 when the Silver Panic overtook mining towns in Colorado. The price of silver plummeted and many of the silver mines were closed. Colorado is a popular Western state for National Banknote collectors; many of the charters are considered scarce or rare. There are a number of unreported (unknown) issues, Creede previously being one. Collectors and connoisseurs alike will pay close attention as this note becomes available at Bonhams in December.

Paul Song, Director of the Rare Coins and Medals Department at Bonhams, said of the banknote: "We were pleased to offer such a rare example in our winter auction. The previously unreported $5 banknote is 120 years old and holds a storied place in American history."

"Soapy Smith, bunco steerer, thief, gambler, desperado, holdup, marshal of the town of Creede in its early days, a big man in Skaguay, and who has played numerous other roles during his eventful life, has at last handed in his checks and passed over the snowy range with a cigar in his mouth, a curse on his lips still wet with the firey liquor, and his thick-soled boots tightly on his feet."
Denver Times, July 17, 1898.


1845: Dr. Crawford W. Long uses anesthesia for childbirth for the first time. The child being delivered is his own wife’s. Dr. Long is also the physician who three years prior, in 1842, first used ether for surgical anesthesia.
1881: Charles Earl Bowles alias “Black Bart” robs the North San Juan-Smartville stage.
1892: Soapy Smith gives $50 to Parson Tom Uzzell at the rear door of the Tabernacle church, and tells him to put the money to use where it will do the most good.
1894: Newspapers report that Soapy Smith and his gang are heading to Japan. It turns out to be a ruse.
1894: Deputy Sheriff Pike Landusky is shot and killed in Central Montana by outlaw Harvey Logan alias "Kid Curry." Three days previous Landusky had Logan arrested and beaten, believing Logan to be involved with his daughter. Logan procured a bond and was released. Landusky was drinking in Jew Jake's Saloon when Logan found him there and struck him with his fist. Landusky pulled a pistol and threatened Logan, who was unarmed. Jim Thornhill gave Logan his pistol and as Landusky tried to fire, his gun jammed. Logan fired killing Landusky. Logan was arrested, but released when the inquest showed he acted in self-defense. However, the judge, a close friend with Landusky, requested and obtained a date for a formal trial. Fearing he would not get a fair trial, Logan fled.
1900: Carrie Nation stages her first public smashing of a bar at the Carey Hotel in Wichita, Kansas. She breaks every liquor bottles she sees. Nation did her damage with a hatchet, calling her destruction, “hatchetation.”

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