Norfolk, Nebraska, 1 Dollar, 1933

During the Great Depression of the 1930s, regular money was withheld from circulation. Spending was curtailed, available cash was hidden, and, by the fall of 1932, runs on banks across the country were leading to "bank holidays" in state after state.
By the beginning of 1933, bank closures were becoming commonplace. Indeed, the new president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, ordered a national bank holiday, during which time an army of examiners fanned out and checked the solvency of banks across the Republic. They certified the sound ones and closed the unsound ones. If people were hoarding money, and banks were locked up, how did buying and selling go on?
The brief answer is that local institutions supplied their own money. Towns and counties, factories and unemployment agencies, a fish processor in Massachusetts, and a college in California all created money for their communities. Emergency issues came from all of the forty-eight states, plus the territories of Hawaii and Alaska and the District of Columbia. The new money was mostly made of paper, but issues in leather, wood, tinfoil, and other materials also appeared.
In the Midwest, an idea first developed in Austria and Germany was tried in a number of places, including Norfolk, Nebraska. This Norfolk note bears simple designs, but the idea behind it was sophisticated. The city fathers reasoned that money would only be useful if it stayed in circulation.
And the best way to ensure that would be to require affixing small stamps to the back of the note, dated by hand. If they weren't added on a regular basis, the bill became irredeemable. The authorities also added pleas for circulation on the top and bottom margins of the note. From the stamps' use, the plan worked.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Date made
Town of Norfolk, Nebraska
King, M. E.
Miller, Rowan
issuing authority
Norfolk Scrip Committee
Physical Description
paper (overall materials)
white, green, black (face color)
white, green, black (back color)
overall: 9.4 cm x 20.7 cm; 3 11/16 in x 8 1/8 in
place of issue
United States: Nebraska, Norfolk
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
catalog number
serial number
Coins, Currency and Medals
Legendary Coins
See more items in
Political History: National Numismatic Collection
Legendary Coins
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Publication title
Glossary of Coins and Currency Terms
Publication URL
Additional Media

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