2 Dollar Bank of DeSoto Note, 1857

The American Bank Note Company printed this two dollar bank note for the Bank of De Soto in Nebraska around 1857. The center of the note features an image of a steamboat on the Missouri River. An inset on the left depicts a train steaming down railroad tracks, while the right inset depicts the allegorical figure of Agriculture sitting on grain and holding a scythe. The note is signed by the bank’s cashier and president.
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 Numismatics Collection.
date made
associated date
associated institution
Bank of De Sota
place made
United States: Nebraska, De Soto
associated place
United States: Nebraska, De Soto
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
overall: 8 cm x 18.2 cm x .01 cm; 3 5/32 in x 7 5/32 in x in
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
serial number
Credit Line
Morton Stack
See more items in
Work and Industry: National Numismatic Collection
American Enterprise
Coins, Currency and Medals
American Enterprise
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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