2 Dollar Bank of Florida Note, 1840s

The Merchants and Planters Bank of Florida produced this two dollar note during the 1840s. The Merchants and Planters Bank of Florida was founded in 1832 in Magnolia, Florida, but rechartered in 1834 with the right to establish branches in St. Joseph and Tallahassee. Rawdon, Wright, Hatch & Edson, a well-known 19th-century printing and engraving firm, printed this note. The note has an allegorical image of Moneta on the left with a cotton bush on the right. The note is made out to James K. Polk; the cashier signature is “H. Clay” and the president’s signature line reads “M. Van Buren.” The signatures are likely a political statement about the 1844 election that saw James K. Polk win the Democratic Party nomination from Martin Van Buren to defeat Whig candidate Henry Clay in the general election.
From 1790 to 1863, states and private banks issued their own currency to supply capital in a young nation without a national currency. This currency was backed by the hard money the banks had on deposit, and was only used locally where the bank and its operators were trusted in the community. However, banks often oversupplied notes, and this overextension caused bankruptcy among private and state banks when financial panic struck, particularly in 1837. Currencies from these failed banks are known as “obsolete bank notes” or “broken bank notes,” and several are held in the National Numismatic Collection.
Currently not on view
date made
place made
United States: Florida
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
ink (overall material)
overall: 8.2 cm x 18.4 cm x .01 cm; 3 7/32 in x 7 1/4 in x in
ID Number
accession number
serial number
collector/donor number
catalog number
Credit Line
The Chase Manhattan Bank, N.A.
See more items in
Work and Industry: National Numismatic Collection
American Enterprise
Coins, Currency and Medals
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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