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Texas Notes That Won't Be Found
By Peter Huntoon, Bank Note Reporter
December 26, 2012

This article was originally printed in Bank Note Reporter.
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The great state of Texas lays claim to having the largest number of banks for which plates were made, but no notes were issued. Of 34 of these situations identified across the country, eight are in Texas.

I suspect that some of the towns you are looking at here have the potential to raise some blood pressures in Texas. Surprisingly, though, seven of these eight towns had other banks that issued notes. Consequently, the fact that the banks treated here didn’t issue doesn’t deprive you of the possibility of finding a note from the location.

Godley didn’t have an issuing bank, so the proof from The Citizens National Bank is all that more special. Godley lies 25 mile southwest of the center of Fort Worth, or some 11 or 12 miles up state highway 171 northwest of Cleburne. It is a rural town laid out on the northeast side of the highway.

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Being so close to Fort Worth means that some of the surroundings are starting to be converted into ranchettes with starter castles filling with yuppies, at least one of whom may be a Texas National Bank Note collector who would give his first born for a note from this bank. That just wasn’t to be. They didn’t print any notes from the plate prepared for the bank.

The two tables that accompany this article contain all the key statistics pertaining to these banks and the plates made for them. [See pps. 36 and 77.] Notice that notes were actually printed for three quarters of them.

Tom Conklin, Kathy Kimball and I looked at every National Bank Note proof in the Smithsonian holdings during 2004 and 2005 in order to record the exact bank titles that occurred on them. That task took a total of five or six weeks.

The no-issue proofs revealed themselves very quickly through this processes because we were comparing the titles on the proofs against the issuance data compiled by Louis Van Belkum. A proof with no listing obviously meant a no-issue situation.

Although it is great fun to find these, they were a bit of a nuisance because each time we stumbled upon one, we had to break our routine, record the data from the proof, and one of us had to scan one of the subjects from the proof.

We then went to the National Archives in College Park, Md., to determine from the National Currency and Bond Ledgers if notes had been printed. The ledgers also provided verification that, in fact, no notes had been issued.

The bank that caused me all sorts of trouble was The First National Bank of McCune, charter 12191. That town name conjured up a mental image of a wind-swept god-forsaken town of clapboard buildings out in west Texas, occupied in the 1920s mostly by rustlers. I figured the place was a ghost town now.

Something in the data we had from the proof didn’t add up. Once I got home, I ran a search for the charter number in my data file, and came up with a bank by that name in Kansas.

McCune turns out to be a small town of about 400 off U.S. 160, 15 miles east of Parsons, in southeast Kansas. Okla., the place is probably a god-forsaken berg along the rustlers route from Texas to Kansas City, but why the Texas proof?

I dug out the scan we made, and darned if it didn’t say Kansas. We hadn’t caught a no-issue bank, we had scanned a misfiled Kansas proof among the Texas proofs. Cleaning up the misfilings was another of our objectives as we looked at all the proofs. However, it is obviously that after looking at thousands of Texas proofs I was getting punchy, so when we found the McCune, I didn’t even take note of the state.

I sheepishly found the McCune proof on our next trip to D.C., and filed it in the right Kansas box. That bank did issue small numbers of large- and small-size notes.


Support for the search that resulted in locating these proofs came from The Currency Club of Long Island, The Professional Currency Dealers Association, and the Society of Paper Money Collectors. James Hughes, collections Manager, National Numismatic Collection, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, provided access to the proofs.

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